The Esso brand of more than 2,000 service stations across Canada and a trio of jumbo refineries in Ontario and Alberta helped put a tiger in Imperial Oil Ltd.’s financial tank during the first six months of this year.

The ExxonMobil subsidiary’s downstream side reported first-half 2021 revenue of C$11.1 billion ($8.9 billion) from refined product sales of 429,000 b/d, up from C$8.1 billion ($6.5 billion) for 409,000 b/d in the same period last year.

“Through 2021, demand for petroleum and petrochemical products has continued to improve leading to stronger prices and margins across all segments” as hardships inflicted on Canadian consumers by the Covid-19 virus pandemic fade, Imperial reported.

“Imperial has significant momentum entering the second half of the year,” said Imperial President Brad Corson.

[Want to know how global LNG demand impacts North American fundamentals? To find out, subscribe to LNG Insight.]

Imperial’s refineries ran at 81% of capacity to process 348,000 bopd in first-half 2021, up despite a temporary maintenance closure of its Alberta plant from operating at 78% capacity, handling 330,000 b/d in first-half 2020.

A C$120-million ($96-million) foreign exchange loss eroded profits but Imperial kept downstream earnings of C$352 million ($281.6 million) in first-half 2021 compared to C$370 million ($296 million) for the same period of 2020.

Oilsands production, the firm’s upstream mainstay, grew to 384,000 barrels per day in first-half 2021 from 339,000 b/d during the same period of 2020. Natural gas output dipped to 123 MMcfd from 167 MMcf/d.

Average prices improved across the upstream board.

Imperial oilsands bitumen fetched C$52.45/bbl ($41.96/bbl) in first-half 2021, more than triple its C$15.54/bbl ($12.43/bbl) in first-half 2020.

Upgraded synthetic crude oil climbed to C$72.42/bbl ($57.94/bbl) from C$48.10/bbl ($38.48/bbl). Gas rose to C$3.34/Mcf ($2.67/Mcf) from C$1.69/Mcf ($1.35/Mcf).

Imperial reported overall earnings of C$758 million ($606.4 million) or C$1.04/share (83 cents/share) for first-half 2021. That reversed losses of C$714 million ($571.2 million) or minus 97 Canadian cents/share (minus 78 cents/share) a year earlier.