Imperial’s competitively advantaged assets, integrated business model and focus on the fundamentals contributed to our ability to deliver strong financial and operating results and industry-leading shareholder return in 2014. Most notable among our achievements was continued strong performance at our flagship Cold Lake operation, continued ramp-up at our Kearl next generation oil sands mine, record refinery capacity utilization and significant growth in petroleum product sales.
Earnings in the fourth quarter were $671 million, or $0.79 per share, a decrease of 36 percent compared with the corresponding 2013 period. Earnings for the full year 2014 were $3,785 million, second highest in company history. Upstream earnings of $2,059 million and Downstream earnings of $1,594 million highlighted the strength of our value chain integration.
Fourth quarter production averaged 315,000 gross oil-equivalent barrels per day, down 14,000 barrels from 2013. Excluding the impact of conventional assets divested earlier in 2014, total production was up 4,000 barrels per day. Production for the full year averaged 310,000 gross oil-equivalent barrels per day, up 12 percent from 2013, excluding divestments.
Quarterly refinery throughput averaged 373,000 barrels per day, down 14,000 barrels from the same period in 2013. In the quarter, refinery capacity utilization averaged 96 percent, excluding planned maintenance at the Sarnia and Nanticoke refineries. Annual refinery capacity utilization reached a record high of 94 percent. Chemical achieved record annual earnings of $229 million on the strength of high polyethylene margins.
Fourth quarter capital and exploration expenditures totalled $1,588 million. Full year capital and exploration expenditures totalled $5,654 million, driven primarily by upstream growth projects Kearl and Nabiye.
The business environment of the past several months, with the dramatic decline in global crude prices, illustrates the cyclical nature of the oil and gas business. Imperial plans and operates its businesses with a long-term perspective that results in resiliency across a wide range of market conditions. Our resiliency is achieved in large part due to our long-life, high-quality assets, integrated business model and ongoing focus on business fundamentals. Consequently, our near-term investment plans remain largely unchanged. However, we will continue to closely monitor and respond to market conditions, rigorously examining operating costs and capital investments to maximize value in whatever business environment we operate in.
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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 high standards across all areas of our business.