Canadian oil production on the upswing

Alberta (80.9%), Saskatchewan (10.7%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5.9%) accounted for the vast majority of Canadian production of crude oil and equivalent products

Mario Toneguzzi: Canadian crude oil production on the upswingCanada produced 21.8 million cubic metres (137.3 million barrels) of crude oil and equivalent products in May, up 13.5 per cent from the same month a year earlier, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency said on Monday that non-upgraded production of crude bitumen (+22.8 per cent) was the main driver for the increase of total production in May, surpassing 9.0 million cubic metres for the first time.

“Non-upgraded crude bitumen production consisted of in-situ crude bitumen (+15.9 per cent), plus mined crude bitumen (+17.4 per cent), minus crude bitumen sent for further processing (+7.5 per cent),” said StatsCan.

“Growth in synthetic crude oil (+7.0 per cent), equivalent products (+13.2 per cent) and light and medium crude production (+12.2 per cent) also contributed to the overall rise. Meanwhile, May marked the ninth month in a row in which heavy crude oil production (-4.4 per cent) declined year over year.”

It said oil sands extraction, which consists of non-upgraded crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil, increased 16.9 per cent year over year to 13.8 million cubic metres. Most of Alberta’s oil sands extraction facilities returned to near-capacity production following intensive maintenance in April. Over the same period, extraction of light, medium and heavy crude oils rose 6.7 per cent to 6.3 million cubic metres.

“Alberta produced 17.7 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in May, up 15.9 per cent from the same month a year earlier. For the first five months in 2018, Alberta averaged a 10.0 per cent year-over-year growth. Alberta (80.9 per cent), Saskatchewan (10.7 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5.9 per cent) accounted for the vast majority of Canadian production of crude oil and equivalent products. Newfoundland and Labrador production exceeded 1.2 million cubic metres for the third consecutive month, with May recording the highest level since October 2011,” said the federal agency.

It said exports of crude oil and equivalent products were up 9.3 per cent to 18.4 million cubic metres in May, surpassing the recent record of 17.9 million cubic metres set in March 2018. Total exports averaged 17.5 million cubic metres per month in the first five months of 2018, compared with 16.3 million cubic metres in the first five months of 2017.

“Exports to the United States by pipelines rose 8.2 per cent, while exports to other countries also increased. Exports to the United States by other means of transportation, including marine, rail and truck, were down 17.3 per cent from May 2017,” said Statistics Canada.

The federal agency said Canadian marketable natural gas production totalled 14.2 billion cubic metres in May, up 3.1 per cent from the same month a year earlier. Production of natural gas was concentrated in Alberta (68.7 per cent) and British Columbia (29.0 per cent).

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


Canadian crude oil production on the upswing

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