Imperial Oil Ltd. is raising its quarterly dividend as it reported it earned $1.25 billion in its first quarter, up from $1.17 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company says it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share, up from 44 cents per share.

The increased payment to shareholders comes as the company says its profit amounted to $2.13 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, up from $1.75 per diluted share a year earlier.

Total revenue and other income amounted to $12.12 billion, down from $12.69 billion in the first three months of 2022.

Production averaged 413,000 gross oil-equivalent barrels per day, up from 380,000 in the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, refinery throughput averaged 417,000 barrels per day, up from 399,000 a year ago, as refinery capacity utilization rose to 96 per cent compared with 93 per cent a year earlier.

"Imperial’s strong financial results in the first quarter were underpinned by sustained high utilization rates across our refining network, as well as record first quarter production at Kearl that was supported by enhanced winter operating procedures," said Brad Corson, Imperial's chairman, president and chief executive. 

"Our strong operating performance ensured Imperial was well positioned to maximize value capture from the current business environment."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2023.