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Crude oil and natural gas: Supply and disposition, March 2018

Released: 2018-06-12

Canada produced a record 22.5 million cubic metres (141.8 million barrels) of crude oil and equivalent products in March, surpassing the previous high of 22.4 million cubic metres (141.1 million barrels) in December 2017.

Crude oil production

In March, production of crude oil and equivalent products was up 10.7% from the same month a year earlier, as most facilities were operating near full capacity.

Production of non-upgraded crude bitumen (+10.7%), synthetic crude (+14.3%), light and medium crude (+8.7%) and equivalent products (+24.4%) was up compared with 12-months earlier. Meanwhile, heavy crude oil production was down 3.3%.

The increase of non-upgraded crude bitumen was primarily driven by higher mined production, up 26.7% to 7.4 million cubic metres. In-situ production edged up 0.4% to 7.7 million cubic metres, while crude bitumen sent for further processing increased 13.2% to 6.2 million cubic metres.

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

Crude oil extraction and oil sands extraction

Crude oil production (excluding equivalent products) totalled 20.7 million cubic metres in March, up 9.7% from the same month a year earlier. Oil sands extraction (formerly non-conventional oil extraction), which consists of non-upgraded crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil, increased 12.1% year over year to 14.3 million cubic metres. Oil extraction (formerly conventional oil extraction) of light, medium and heavy crude oils rose 4.7% to 6.4 million cubic metres.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Crude oil and oil sands extraction
Crude oil and oil sands extraction

Provincial production

Alberta produced 18.3 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in March, up 12.8% from the same month a year earlier. Alberta (81.2%), Saskatchewan (10.9%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5.4%) accounted for the vast majority of Canadian production of crude oil and equivalent products.

Exports and imports

Exports of crude oil and equivalent products were up 7.8% to a record 17.9 million cubic metres in March. The increase was largely attributable to exports leaving Manitoba by pipeline (+5.2% to 12.8 million cubic metres), while exports from Newfoundland and Labrador (via marine tanker) surpassed 1.0 million cubic metres for the third consecutive month.

In March, exports transported via pipelines to the United States were up 4.9% from the same month a year earlier and accounted for 86.9% of total exports. Meanwhile, exports by other means (including rail, truck, and marine) to the United States, which accounted for 8.1% of total exports, were down 13.3%. This was only the second year-over-year decline in 12 months. The remaining 5.1% of exports went to countries other than the United States.

Imports of crude oil to refineries, which tend to be volatile, were down 15.6% to 2.6 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 totalled 19.1 million cubic metres in March, down 1.2% from the same month a year earlier. A drop in inventories held at refineries (-18.0% to 3.4 million cubic metres) offset higher inventory levels held by transporters (+3.2% to 12.8 million cubic metres) and fields and plants (+4.1% to 2.9 million cubic metres).

Crude oil production rises in the first quarter

For the quarter ending March 31, 2018, production of crude oil and equivalents totalled 64.4 million cubic metres, up 5.8% compared with the same quarter of 2017. The increase was largely due to higher production of non-upgraded crude bitumen and equivalent products.

During the quarter, exports of crude oil and equivalents increased 5.3% to a record 51.2 million cubic metres. First quarter exports averaged 80.0% of total production from 2016 to 2018, up from 75.3% in the first quarters from 2011 to 2015.

Natural gas increases in March

Canadian marketable natural gas production continued its upward trend, rising 4.3% from the same month a year earlier to 15.1 billion cubic metres in March. Production of natural gas was concentrated in Alberta (69.1%) and British Columbia (28.9%).

Closing inventories of natural gas decreased 13.2% from the previous March, primarily due to a 16.4% increase in industrial consumption. A 4.3% decline in exports partially offset the overall increase in distributed natural gas.

Additional information on natural gas is available in "Natural gas transmission, storage and distribution," published in The Daily on May 29, 2018.

Natural gas reaches record high in the first quarter

Marketable production of natural gas rose 5.6% year over year to a record high 43.9 billion cubic metres in the first quarter.

  Note to readers

As of the January 2018 reference month, in accordance to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) update (2017 NAICS), Conventional crude oil will be referred to as oil extraction, while non-conventional crude oil will be referred to as oil sands extraction.

Data on crude oil and equivalent products, previously found in table 25-10-0014, are now published in table 25-10-0063. While table 25-10-0014 will remain available for reference, users should exercise caution when comparing data with those of the new 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 table 25-10-0063.

Data from January and February 2018 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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