UPDATE 2-Imperial Oil profit falls on weak refining results

* Q4 EPS C$0.62 vs estimate C$0.72

* Revs C$5.9 bln vs C$5.9 bln

* Refining income falls 80 percent
(Adds financial, production details, background)

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Imperial Oil Ltd’s
(IMO.TO: ) fourth-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) fell a worse-than-expected 19
percent as weak refining margins weighed on the bottom line,
Canada’s No. 2 oil producer and refiner said on Tuesday.

Imperial, majority-owned by U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp
(XOM.N: ), earned C$534 million ($504 million), or 62 Canadian
cents a share, down from year-earlier C$660 million, or 76
Canadian cents a share.

Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 72
Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue was C$5.9 billion, about flat with the fourth
quarter of 2009.

Imperial, known for extensive heavy oil and oil sands
operations as well as its national chain of Esso service
stations, said results were hampered most by its refining unit,
where net income tumbled 80 percent to C$52 million.

Imperial and its North American refining rivals have all
been hit by shrinking profit margins due to slack demand for
gasoline and diesel as well as rising crude oil prices.

But earnings from its exploration and production rose 46
percent to C$491 million, as oil prices recovered.

Oil production slipped by 20,000 barrels a day to 204,000
bpd and natural gas output rose 10 percent to 264 million cubic
feet a day.

U.S. oil prices averaged $76.13 a barrel in the period, up
29 percent from the year before, and gas prices fell 23 percent
to $4.93 per million British thermal units.

Meanwhile, prices for heavy oil have improved as declining
supplies from Venezuela and Mexico and rising processing
capacity among U.S. refiners have helped narrow the discount
that gooey crude receives compared with lighter grades.

Imperial’s shares rose 43 Canadian cents to C$39.45 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange, although it reported its results after
the market closed. The stock is about flat with the level of a
year ago.

The company lost its spot as biggest Canadian oil producer
and refiner last year, when Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: ) bulked up
with its C$22.7 billion takeover of Petro-Canada. Suncor also
reported worse-than-forecast results on Tuesday.

($1=$1.06 Canadian)

Stock Market Analysis

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Gary Hill and
Marguerita Choy)

UPDATE 2-Imperial Oil profit falls on weak refining results