Imperial reports third quarter profit as Kearl oil sands mine rebounds from outage


The ramp-up of production at Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Kearl tar sands mine trimester.The Calgary-based company reported net profit of $ 3 million on $ 5.96 billion in revenue on Friday, down from $ 424 million in the same quarter last year on revenue of 8 , 74 billion dollars.

“While $ 3 million doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s a positive number and it speaks volumes in this business environment,” CEO Brad Corson said on a conference call with financial analysts on Friday.

Analysts had expected a loss of $ 79 million on revenue of $ 5.7 billion, according to data firm Refinitiv. Imperial lost $ 526 million on revenue of $ 3.7 billion in the second quarter.

Rival Oil Sands Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc., Husky Energy Inc. and MEG Energy Corp. all reported third-quarter losses earlier this week due to lower oil prices – all but Cenovus also reported lower production.

Like the others, Imperial has focused on reducing costs.

“At the end of March, we pledged to achieve spending cuts totaling $ 1 billion, which included a $ 500 million reduction in capital spending as well as $ 500 million less spending.” , Corson said.

“At the end of the quarter, our production and manufacturing expenses are down $ 813 million from the first nine months of 2019 … and our capital spending is down more than 50%, a savings of 700 millions of dollars.

Capital expenditure revised downwards

Imperial revised its capital spending for 2020 to $ 900 million, down about $ 250 million from the middle of its last forecast update, although Corson said they would likely increase. in next year’s budget.

Production averaged 365,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the third quarter, up from 407,000 bpd in the same period of 2019, but down from 347,000 bpd in the second quarter, the company said.

Its Kearl oil sands mine was forced to close for two weeks in September after the Polaris diluent pipeline was taken offline to fix a leak. This has prevented Kearl from receiving the light oil he needs to dilute the heavy bitumen to flow through a pipeline.

Corson said mine production hit a record 313,000 barrels of bitumen per day in the four weeks following the restart and averaged 300,000 bpd in October, well above capacity of 280,000 bpd expected after the addition of additional ore crushers last year.

Potential job cuts in Canada

Alberta’s announcement last week to suspend oil production quotas in December was welcomed by Corson, but he said the province’s retention of the right to roll back quotas in 2021 creates an “overhang of ‘uncertainty’.

Imperial Oil shares are 70% owned by U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil, which said Thursday 1,900 U.S. employees will lose their jobs as part of its plan to reduce its workforce. worldwide work of about 15%.

It is also assessing possible job cuts in Canada, but a spokeswoman said Thursday it was “premature” to talk about it, adding that she intended to contact ExxonMobil Canada employees. in the next weeks.

Corson said in the call that Imperial had reduced the number of subcontractors it employed without saying how much or whether full-time staff had been affected by the cost reduction.

Earlier this week, Cenovus and Husky said they would cut up to one in four jobs, potentially more than 2,000 workers, if their merger announced last Sunday is completed as scheduled early next year.

Suncor announced in early October that it will cut up to 1,930 jobs in 18 months to reduce the total workforce by 10 to 15 percent.

Job cuts are also expected at the Canadian operations of Royal Dutch Shell, which announced in September that it would cut between 7,000 and 9,000 jobs globally by the end of 2022 and, to a lesser extent, at BP. , which announced in June that it would cut around 10,000 jobs from its global workforce.


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