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Imperial Oil misses profit estimates as cold weather hits output

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·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: View of refinery near Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline, in Ontario
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(Reuters) -Canada's Imperial Oil Ltd on Tuesday posted a quarterly profit that narrowly missed estimates, as extreme cold weather hit the company's production.

Oil sands mining, which accounts for the bulk of Canada's crude output, was hit by icy temperatures in December and January that slowed production.

The company, majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, said fourth-quarter production fell 3.3% to 445,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

However, the fall in production was offset by higher commodity prices and increased demand for motor fuels.

Brent crude prices nearly doubled to an average of $80 per barrel in the last three months of the year, as fuel demand remained strong with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus being milder than expected and as energy supplies remained tight around the world.

Imperial said prices for bitumen rose by C$31.34 per barrel in the fourth quarter, while synthetic oil prices rose by C$41.26 per barrel from a year earlier.

Throughput at its refineries averaged 416,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 359,000 bpd a year earlier.

Imperial also hiked its first-quarter dividend by 26% to 34 Canadian cents per share.

Net income, excluding items, rose to C$813 million ($640.46 million) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from C$25 million a year earlier.

On a per share basis, the company earned C$1.35, excluding items, below the average estimate of C$1.37 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

($1 = 1.2694 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)