Imperial’s second quarter results reflect continued strong operating performance across all business lines in a challenging business environment. Highlights for the quarter include the early start-up of the Kearl expansion project, continued ramp-up of Cold Lake Nabiye production, start-up of the Edmonton Rail Terminal, successful execution of major turnarounds at the Sarnia refinery and Syncrude, and best-ever quarterly earnings in the Chemical business.
Earnings in the second quarter were $120 million, or $0.14 per share, and reflected a net charge, largely non-cash, of $320 million ($0.38 per share) associated with the recently enacted Alberta corporate income tax rate increase. Earnings in the second quarter of 2014 included a gain of $478 million associated with the divestments of conventional upstream producing assets.
Gross production averaged 344,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day, up 57,000 barrels from 2014 due to increased Kearl and Cold Lake production. This result was the company’s highest quarterly production level in nearly eight years. At Kearl, production averaged 130,000 barrels per day (92,000 barrels Imperial’s share) in the quarter, driven by the expansion project start-up five months ahead of schedule and improved reliability in the initial development.
Refinery throughput averaged 373,000 barrels per day, compared to 418,000 barrels per day in the same period of 2014, reflecting planned turnaround activity at the Sarnia refinery. Capacity utilization excluding the turnaround continued to remain high at 97 percent.
Second quarter capital and exploration expenditures totalled $819 million, down $579 million versus 2014, as the Cold Lake Nabiye and Kearl expansion projects progressed toward completion.
Imperial continues to deliver results in the current business environment by focusing on what we can control. Specifically, we are relentlessly pursuing cost efficiencies, critically evaluating our investment decisions and increasing productivity in all areas of our business. This results-oriented approach is strengthening our resiliency, ensuring the company remains well-positioned throughout the commodity price cycle. Above all, our focus remains on delivering superior, long-term shareholder 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.