Imperial’s strong results in the first quarter underscore the competitiveness of our business model, which includes full value chain integration from upstream to refining to fuels marketing and chemicals. We focused on base business fundamentals, including safety, operational integrity, reliability and profitability. Execution continued on our upstream growth strategy, concentrated on Kearl production ramp up and expansion and the Cold Lake Nabiye project.
Earnings in the first quarter were $946 million, or $1.11 per share, up 19 percent from the same period in 2013.
Gross production averaged 330,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day, up 46,000 barrels versus 2013, primarily due to production from Kearl. Kearl production averaged 70,000 barrels per day (50,000 barrels Imperial’s share) in the quarter, as progress continued towards stabilizing production at the targeted rate of 110,000 barrels per day (78,000 barrels Imperial’s share). Refinery throughput averaged 378,000 barrels per day, up from 357,000 barrels in 2013, adjusted for the Dartmouth refinery shutdown. Our focus on reliability resulted in refinery capacity utilization of 90 percent, up five percent compared to the first quarter of 2013. In addition, petroleum product sales of 476,000 barrels per day were achieved, up 12 percent versus a year ago.
First quarter capital and exploration expenditures totalled $1,234 million. Investments were primarily associated with upstream growth projects, most notably the Kearl expansion and Cold Lake Nabiye projects, which were 81 and 76 percent complete, respectively, at the end of the quarter. First quarter capital and exploration expenditures were fully funded from available cash and cash flow from operations.
Consistent with the company’s long-standing practice of reviewing its asset portfolio, a sale agreement for several western Canadian conventional oil and gas assets was signed. The $855 million transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.
Imperial unveiled a refreshed corporate brand and identity, which reflect the company’s heritage, ongoing growth and future potential. A continued commitment to innovation, our history of operational excellence and the highest standards are embodied in the new identity. Our high standards will continue to drive decisions across all areas of our business.
Read our interim report news release.
After more than a century, Imperial continues to be an industry leader in applying technology and innovation to responsibly develop Canada’s energy resources. As Canada’s largest petroleum refiner, a major producer of crude oil and natural gas, a key petrochemical producer and a leading fuels marketer from coast to coast, our company remains committed to the highest standards across all areas of our business.