Good News for Canadian Refiners

CALGARY -- High prices at the gas pump signal good times in the oil patch, as illustrated by Shell Canada Ltd.'s record quarterly profit of $526 million (Canadian), almost equal to the $539 million earned by bigger rival Imperial Oil, reported Calgary's CBC News.

In upbeat second-quarter earnings reports, both companies showed the benefits of what Imperial called "higher production volumes in the current favorable price environment." Both announced dividend increases for stockholders.

Shell Canada reported an unprecedented profit of $526 million or 64 cents per share on revenue of $3.2 billion, up dramatically from a year-earlier profit of $285 million or 35 cents per share on revenue of $2.6 billion.

The company raised its dividend to 9 cents a share, up two-thirds of a cent after adjustment for a three-for-one stock split last month.

Imperial reported a 7 percent profit increase: $539 million or $1.56 a share on revenue of $6.8 billion, up from $504 million or $1.40 a share on revenue of $5.5 billion a year earlier. It raised its dividend to 24 cents a share, up 2 cents, according to the report.

Imperial attributed its gains to "higher realizations for crude oil and natural gas" and "stronger refining margins," as well as increased production from oil sands and natural gas operations. It said these improvements overcame the effects of such things as a higher Canadian dollar and increased maintenance spending.
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