During the quarter, Imperial maintained its focus on safety and operational performance while continuing to advance major upstream growth projects. Specifically, the Downstream and Chemical businesses continued to deliver strong results, Kearl production increased and the Kearl expansion and Cold Lake Nabiye projects progressed as planned.
Earnings in the third quarter were $936 million, or $1.10 per share, up 45 percent from the same period in 2013.
Gross production averaged 307,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day, up 19,000 barrels versus 2013, due to increased Kearl production. Excluding the impact of divested assets, total production was up 12 percent in the quarter. Kearl averaged 78,000 barrels per day (55,000 barrels Imperial’s share) in the quarter. Excluding the impact of major planned maintenance, which was executed over a two-week period in September, Kearl production averaged 92,000 barrels per day (65,000 barrels Imperial’s share).
Refinery throughput totalled 409,000 barrels per day, up 17,000 barrels versus 2013, supported by 97 percent capacity utilization. Petroleum product sales were a record 502,000 barrels per day, up 35,000 barrels or seven percent versus the same period last year. Chemical earnings were also a record at $66 million, up nearly 70 percent versus the same period last year.
Third quarter capital and exploration expenditures totalled $1,434 million. Investments were primarily associated with upstream growth; most notably the Kearl expansion and Cold Lake Nabiye projects, which were 97 and 96 percent complete, respectively, at the end of the quarter. In addition, a decision was made to expand the initial capacity of the Edmonton Rail Terminal from 100,000 barrels per day to 210,000 barrels. The project, which continues to progress toward a first quarter 2015 start-up, will ensure access to highest value markets for equity production.
Contributions to the communities in which we live and work continued. In August, Esso became the Official Fuel and Convenience Store Supplier of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Donations totalling more than $120,000 were made in honour of the Sarnia Centennial. Funds will support local arts, community events, academic awards and support for Sarnia area schools.
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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 the high standards across all areas of our business.