* Expects production at oil sands mine in weeks
* Cold weather affecting start-up operations
* Shares slip 1 pct
CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 22 Imperial Oil Ltd
said on Tuesday that start-up of its new
110,000-barrel-per-day Kearl oil sands mine has been delayed by
cold temperatures in northern Alberta but that it still expects
production to begin early this year.
Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for the company, said Imperial
is still working to begin production at the C$10.9 billion ($11
billion) project, but believes it still has weeks of work ahead
"We still anticipate first production in early 2013," he
said. "Exactly when that will be will depend on how well we do
in the coming weeks."
Traders have said that expectations of production from the
development have been a factor in the recent deepening of
discounts on Canadian heavy oil, as export pipeline capacity
Temperatures in the Fort McMurray region in northeastern
Alberta, where Kearl is located, have been dipping below -30
Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) in recent days.
"Whenever you get weather like that it affects both people
and equipment," Rolheiser said. "We are focused on completing
start-up flawlessly and safely."
The company had originally expected production from the oil
sands mine to begin in December.
Shares in Imperial, which is 69.6 percent owned by Exxon
Mobil Corp, were down 45 Canadian cents at C$44.00 at
midday on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.