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Crude oil and natural gas: Supply and disposition, December 2017

Released: 2018-03-09

Canada produced 22.4 million cubic metres (141.2 million barrels) of crude oil and equivalent products in December, surpassing the record high of 21.6 million cubic metres (135.6 million barrels) reported in August 2017.

Crude oil production

Production of crude oil and equivalent products in December was up 9.4% from the same month a year earlier. With the exception of heavy crude oil (-2.6%), all types of crude oil production were up in December: non-upgraded production of crude bitumen (+9.2%), synthetic crude oil (+10.1%) and light and medium crude oil (+9.1%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Production of crude oil and equivalent products
Production of crude oil and equivalent products

Production of conventional and non-conventional crude oil

In December, crude oil production (excluding equivalent products) totalled 20.7 million cubic metres. Non-conventional crude oil production, which consists of non-upgraded crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil, increased 9.6% from the same month a year earlier to 14.5 million cubic metres.

Conventional production of light, medium and heavy crude oils rose 5.1% to 6.2 million cubic metres in December.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Production of conventional and non-conventional crude oil
Production of conventional and non-conventional crude oil

Provincial production

Alberta produced 18.3 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in December, up 11.3% from the same month a year earlier, and accounting for 81.7% of total Canadian production. Saskatchewan (10.9%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5.0%) were also key producing provinces.

Refinery use of crude oil

Input of crude oil to Canadian refineries totalled 8.8 million cubic metres in December, up 8.4% from the same month a year earlier. Conventional crude oil accounted for 64.3% of the total, while non-conventional crude oil represented the remaining 35.7%.

Exports and imports

Year-over-year exports of crude oil and equivalent products were down for the second consecutive month, falling 3.3% from December 2016 to 16.2 million cubic metres. Despite the year-over-year decrease, exports in December were slightly above the average export volume (16.0 million cubic metres) reported for the previous 11 months of 2017. Repairs to a United States pipeline leak in November contributed to the return to more normal export volumes in December.

The vast majority of exports (89.2%) were transported via pipelines to the United States, while exports by other means (including rail, truck, and marine) to the United States accounted for the remaining 10.8%. There were no exports to countries other than the United States.

Imports to Canadian refineries were up 18.9% from December 2016, to 2.9 million cubic metres.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Exports and imports of crude oil and equivalent products
Exports and imports of crude oil and equivalent products

Closing inventories

Closing inventories of crude oil and equivalent products were up 1.9% from the same month a year earlier to 19.4 million cubic metres in December.

Natural gas production

Marketable natural gas production in Canada totalled 15.0 billion cubic metres in December, up 5.9% from the same month a year earlier. Canadian production of natural gas was concentrated in Alberta (70.0%) and British Columbia (27.9%).

Additional information on natural gas is available in "Natural gas transmission, storage and distribution," published in The Daily on February 23, 2018.

2017 annual review

In 2017, production of crude oil and equivalent products increased 8.2% from 2016 to 243.7 million cubic metres. This was the largest recorded year-over-year increase since the series began in 1985. Upgrades of production facilities and the recovery from the Fort McMurray wildfire in May and June 2016, contributed to the year-over-year rise.

The overall increase in production was driven by non-upgraded crude bitumen (+10.4%), synthetic crude (+10.3%) and equivalents (+17.0%).

Non-conventional production of crude oil, consisting of non-upgraded crude bitumen plus synthetic crude, increased 10.3% to 155.1 million cubic metres. This accounted for 68.8% of total crude (excluding equivalents) in 2017, compared with 67.1% in 2016.

Despite an increase in conventional production of light, medium, and heavy crude oils (up 1.8% to 70.3 million cubic metres) in 2017, conventional production continued to decline in terms of its share of total production (excluding equivalents), falling from 32.9% in 2016 to 31.2% in 2017.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Production of conventional and non-conventional crude oil (excluding equivalents)
Production of conventional and non-conventional crude oil (excluding equivalents)

Over the last five years, production of crude oil and equivalent products has risen by 20.4%, with the main contributor being crude bitumen, up 62.8%. Meanwhile, conventional production of light, medium, and heavy crude oils decreased 12.4%.

Both exports and imports of crude oil and equivalent products rose from 2016. Exports were up 6.5% to 192.5 million cubic metres, while imports by Canadian refineries rose 5.2% to 35.5 million cubic metres. Of the total 243.7 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalents products production, 79.0% was exported in 2017, compared with 80.3% in 2016.

Canadian natural gas utilities received 166.3 billion cubic metres of total marketable gas in 2017. During the same period, exports of natural gas from Canada to the United States totalled 84.7 billion cubic metres, while imports reached 24.3 billion cubic metres.

  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 document 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 for October and November 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 respondents' data.

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.

Contact information

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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