Crude oil and natural gas: Supply and disposition, March 2017
Canada produced 20.4 million cubic metres (128.0 million barrels) of crude oil and equivalent products in March, up 4.3% compared with the same month in 2016.
Non-upgraded crude bitumen production increases
Year over year, the production of crude oil and equivalent products continued to rise. The increase was primarily attributable to non-upgraded crude bitumen production (up 9.8% to 8.1 million cubic metres) and, to a lesser extent, heavy crude oil (up 3.1% to 2.0 million cubic metres) and light and medium crude production (up 0.5% to 4.1 million cubic metres).
Synthetic crude oil production declined 2.3% to 4.8 million cubic metres, the first-year-over year decline since August 2016.
The increase of non-upgraded crude bitumen in March was driven by in situ production, up 13.9% from the same month in 2016 to 7.7 million cubic metres. Mined crude bitumen decreased 5.4% to 5.8 million cubic metres, while crude bitumen sent for further processing was down 2.1% to 5.5 million cubic metres.
Production of non-conventional crude oil continues to rise
In March, crude oil production (excluding equivalent products) totalled 18.9 million cubic metres. Non-conventional crude oil production, which consists of non-upgraded crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil, increased 5.0% to 12.8 million cubic metres.
Meanwhile, conventional crude production of light, medium and heavy crude oils rose 1.3% in March compared with the same month in 2016 to 6.1 million cubic metres.
Alberta production of crude oil and equivalent products rose 4.2% from March 2016 to 16.2 million cubic metres in March, accounting for 79.7% of Canada's total production. Saskatchewan produced 2.5 million cubic metres (or 12.1% of total Canadian production) while Newfoundland and Labrador produced 1.2 million cubic metres (or 5.7% of the total).
Refinery use of crude oil
Input of crude oil to Canadian refineries totalled 8.7 million cubic metres in March, up 5.2% compared with the same month in 2016. Conventional crude oil represented 65.2% of the total, while non-conventional crude oil accounted for the remaining 34.8%. Light and medium crude oil (4.8 million cubic metres) and synthetic crude oil (2.6 million cubic metres) were the main types of crude oil used by Canadian refineries.
Exports and imports
Exports of crude oil and equivalent products rose 6.8% in March compared with the same month a year earlier to 16.6 million cubic metres. The vast majority of production (89.2%) was exported via pipelines, while other means of transportation such as rail, truck and marine, accounted for the remaining 10.8%. Over the same period, imports to Canadian refineries declined 4.8% to 3.1 million cubic metres.
Closing inventories of crude oil and equivalent products were up 3.4% to 19.3 million cubic metres in March compared with the same month in 2016. The total was split between transporters (up 1.7% to 12.4 million cubic metres), refineries (up 1.3% to 4.1 million cubic metres) and fields and plants (up 15.6% to 2.8 million cubic metres).
Quarterly changes in crude oil
For the quarter ending March 31, 2017, production of crude oil and equivalent products increased 2.9% from the same quarter a year earlier to 60.9 million cubic metres. This was the second consecutive quarter where production exceeded 60 million cubic metres.
During the first quarter, exports rose 2.4% to 48.6 million cubic metres, while imports to Canadian refineries increased 10.8% to 9.0 million cubic metres.
Marketable natural gas increases
Canada produced 14.5 billion cubic metres of marketable natural gas in March, up 5.2% compared with the same month in 2016. Alberta (71.2%) and British Columbia (26.2%) accounted for most of Canadian production.
Over the same period, total consumption by residential, industrial and commercial users rose 15.4% to 9.8 billion cubic metres.
Exports of natural gas by pipeline to the United States increased 19.0% to 7.8 billion cubic metres and imports were up 17.6% to 2.4 billion cubic metres.
Quarterly changes in natural gas
Canada produced 41.6 billion cubic metres of marketable natural gas in the first quarter, up 2.4% from the same quarter a year earlier. During the same period, exports rose 8.6% to 22.5 billion cubic metres, while imports were up 42.2% to 7.8 billion cubic metres.
Additional information on natural gas is available in "Natural gas transmission, storage and distribution," published in The Daily on May 23, 2017.
In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada is presenting snapshots from our rich statistical history.
Crude oil and natural gas have been a part of Canada's energy system for over 150 years. The first crude oil production was established in 1857 at Oil Springs, Ontario. Two years later natural gas was discovered in New Brunswick. The next century marked the discovery of crude oil and natural gas reserves throughout the country as well as offshore.
Over the years, production continued to increase. During our centennial year in 1967, Canada produced over 55 million cubic metres of crude oil (and equivalent products), mostly through conventional methods. By 2016, the production quadrupled to over 225 million cubic metres, with more than 60% coming from non-conventional sources (oil sands). Over the same period, annual marketable natural gas production increased from 37 billion to 160 billion cubic metres.
Currently, these two commodities meet almost 80% of Canada's total energy needs. Crude oil is refined into a variety of products such as motor gasoline, diesel, aviation, heating fuels and other products. Meanwhile, natural gas has become a principal fuel for many residential, commercial and industrial consumers across the country.
Canada has the third–largest proven oil reserves in the world, most of which are in Alberta's oil sands. The majority of natural gas reserves are also concentrated in Western Canada (Alberta and British Columbia). In 2015, the International Energy Agency recognized Canada as the fourth largest natural gas and the seventh largest crude oil producing nation.
Note to readers
As of the March 2016 reference month, content and methodology changes were made to the Monthly Oil and Other Liquid Petroleum Products Pipeline Survey. For more information, consult the Monthly Oil and Other Liquid Petroleum Products Pipeline Survey.
Data on crude oil and equivalent products, previously found in CANSIM table 126-0001, are now published in CANSIM table 126-0003. While CANSIM table 126-0001 will remain available for reference, users should exercise caution when comparing data with those of the new CANSIM table.
Information on the disposition of crude oil and equivalent products to refineries by province and on exports to the United States by district were discontinued. New data on imports, exports, input to Canadian refineries and inventories were added to CANSIM table 126-0003.
Data from January to February 2017 have been revised.
Crude oil and equivalent products include heavy, light and medium crude oil, synthetic crude oil, crude bitumen, condensate, and pentanes plus.
Export data are a combination of National Energy Board data and survey data reported by respondents.
Import data include imports of crude oil by refineries and by others.
Total marketable gas includes receipts from fields, gas gathering systems and/or gas plants.
The crude oil and natural gas supply and disposition program uses respondent data as well as administrative data provided by federal, provincial and territorial authorities with regulatory responsibilities within their respective jurisdictions.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).
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