* Refinery decision to come "in next few weeks"
* Company said in October buyer interested
* Shares rise 1.6 pct
CALGARY, Alberta, June 13 Imperial Oil Ltd , Canada's largest oil refiner, said on Thursday a final decision on the future of its 82,000 barrel per day Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, refinery could come by month's end.
Speaking to reporters, Imperial Chief Executive Rich Kruger said the company is in the final stages of deciding on the future of its least-profitable refinery, which needs to import high-priced sea-borne crude oil instead of processing the discounted Canadian oil used by the company's three other refineries.
"For the last year we've been looking at alternatives," he told reporters. "Continued operation, sale, conversion to a terminal. We're right at the final stages of wrapping that assessment up ... In the next few weeks I anticipate that we'll be able to share what our conclusion is."
Imperial, 69.6 percent owned by Exxon Mobil Corp said in October that a buyer was interested in the refinery, which was put on the block more than a year ago.
The facility, Nova Scotia's only refinery, is among several on both sides of the Atlantic that operators have put up for sale, shut down, or threatened to close due to poor economics.
Imperial shares were up 61 Canadian cents to C$39.50 by mid afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.