Canada’s oldest oil company posted its highest oil output in 30 years thanks to record production from its Kearl oil sands mine near Fort McMurray.The Calgary-based producer said it pumped 452,000 barrels per day (bpd) of black gold in the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2023, including 308,000 bpd from the Kearl mine — the highest quarterly total since it opened in 2013.That helped propel the company to a $1.4 billion profit in the quarter, down from $1.73 billion in the same period of 2022. Full year earnings fared little better, at $4.9 billion compared to $7.3 billion the prior year..“Our strong 2023 financial results were underpinned by solid operational performance across all of our businesses, highlighted by record production and substantial unit cost reductions at Kearl,”Brad Corson, Imperial CEO.Imperial’s results kick off earnings season in the oil patch where producers are generally expected to show lower financial numbers despite surging production.In a news release, Imperial said strong operating performance in both its upstream and downstream refining divisions offset the impact of lower overall commodity prices.“Our strong 2023 financial results were underpinned by solid operational performance across all of our businesses, highlighted by record production and substantial unit cost reductions at Kearl,” said Brad Corson, chairman, president and chief executive officer. Throughout the year, the company said it also made significant progress on strategic investments that will help lower emissions and increase output, including the Grand Rapids expansion at Cold Lake and the renewable diesel facility at its Strathcona refinery near Edmonton.Higher bitumen realizations were primarily driven by the narrowing of the West Texas-Western Canadian Select, partially offset by lower market prices. Synthetic crude oil realizations decreased by $9.85 per barrel, generally in line with WTI, to $105.37 per barrel..Imperial’s results come on the heels of parent company ExxonMobil — the world’s largest oil company — which posted a USD$36 billion windfall in 2023. That was down about a third from the prior year after oil prices stabilized from the war in Ukraine but still surpassed analyst expectations.Exxon owns about 70% of Imperial, which it maintains through share buybacks and dividends that flow south to Irving, Texas. Those rose about 20% in the quarter to CAD$2.7 billion or 60 cents per share.Investors were pleased with the results. Despite a 2% drop in oil prices, Imperial’s shares were up almost 1.5% in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange — they’re not listed in New York or London — to $77.62.