Calgary energy giant Imperial Oil reported on Friday impressive fourth-quarter and full-year earnings for 2018, as well as record annual gross production at the Kearl oil sands project of 206,000 barrels per day.
In a news release, Imperial said its net income for the year of $2.134 billion was up $1.824 billion from 2017. Its fourth quarter net income of $853 million was an increase of $990 million compared to a net loss of $137 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
It said the company’s net income came “despite a volatile business environment.”
It said the year was characterized by strong downstream financial and operating performance, delivering on upstream production commitments and demonstrating the resiliency of Imperial’s integrated business model.
The company’s downstream business earned more than $2.3 billion in 2018, a best-ever result excluding 2016, which reflected significant gains from asset sales. During the year, multiple actions were taken to strengthen the business, including capturing margin benefits associated with Western Canadian crude price discounts. Petroleum product sales were 504,000 barrels per day, the highest in nearly 30 years, added Imperial.
“Imperial has taken a strategic approach to increase downstream earnings with continued efforts to process more price-advantaged crudes and to increase process unit utilization and overall reliability. Additionally, we have achieved petroleum product sales levels not seen in decades, and now lead the industry in retail volumes,” said Rich Kruger, chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
“The strong financial and operating results achieved in 2018 enabled the company to return more than $2.5 billion to shareholders through an increased share purchase program and our 24th consecutive year of dividend growth.
“The business environment of the past several months, including the volatility in light and heavy crude prices, illustrates the dynamic nature of the oil and gas business. Recent actions by the government of Alberta to intervene in the oil market have added further uncertainty and unpredictability into the business and investment climate.
“Looking ahead, Imperial’s high-quality assets, balanced portfolio and integrated business model uniquely position the company to compete and deliver long-term value to shareholders.”
– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business