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

Released: 2019-03-11

Canada produced a record 23.7 million cubic metres (148.9 million barrels) of crude oil and equivalent products in December, up 5.5% from the same month a year earlier.

Crude bitumen main contributor to overall increase

Non-upgraded production of crude bitumen increased 11.7% to 9.4 million cubic metres in December. This growth was attributable to a 17.4% increase in mined production, while in-situ production (-7.0%) and amounts sent for further processing (-4.7%) declined.

Production of synthetic crude oil totalled 5.8 million cubic metres in December, 4.4% lower than the same month in 2017. Production of synthetic crude averaged 5.0 million cubic metres in the 11 months prior to December 2018.

Light and medium crude oil production was up 7.1% from the same month a year earlier, while equivalent products rose 12.7% over the same period. Heavy crude oil remained essentially unchanged from the previous December at 2.0 million cubic metres.

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

Oil sands extraction and oil extraction

Crude oil production (excluding equivalent products) totalled 21.7 million cubic metres in December, up 4.9% from the same month a year earlier. Oil sands extraction, which includes non-upgraded crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil rose 5.0% to 15.2 million cubic metres, while extraction of heavy, light and medium crude oil was up 4.8% to 6.5 million cubic metres over the same period.

Provincial production

Alberta produced 19.4 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in December, up 5.6% from the same month in 2017. Alberta (81.8%), Saskatchewan (10.3%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5.1%) accounted for the majority of Canadian production of crude oil and equivalent products.

Exports and imports

Exports of crude oil and equivalent products totalled a record 18.6 million cubic metres in December, up 14.4% from the same month a year earlier. The previous record of 18.4 million cubic metres was set in May 2018.

Exports to the United States via pipelines increased 7.2% from the previous December to 15.5 million cubic metres. Exports to the US by other means (rail, marine and truck) rose 37.9% to 2.4 million cubic metres, as exports to other countries also increased.

Imports of crude oil to Canadian refineries decreased 10.6%, marking the fourth consecutive monthly year-over-year decline.

Crude oil inventories at lowest point in over a year

Closing inventories of crude oil and equivalent products declined 4.7% from the previous December to 18.1 million cubic metres, the lowest level since October 2017.

The decline in transporter inventories (-8.0%) was the main contributor to the overall decrease, while inventories held at fields and plants were also down (-4.5%). Over the same period, inventories held at refineries were up 8.4%.

Natural gas production

Canadian marketable natural gas production increased 1.9% from the same month a year earlier to 15.3 billion cubic metres in December. Production was concentrated in Alberta (67.7%) and British Columbia (30.2%).

Additional information on natural gas is available in "Natural gas transmission, storage and distribution," published in The Daily on March 4, 2019.

2018 annual review

Canadian production of crude oil and equivalent products totalled 264.6 million cubic metres in 2018, up 8.5% from the previous year. Non-upgraded production of crude bitumen (+12.7%) was the main contributor to the overall rise. Since January 2016, the average annual growth rate in mined production (+13.2%) outpaced that of in-situ production (+6.6%).

Chart 2  Chart 2: In-situ and mined production of crude bitumen
In-situ and mined production of crude bitumen

Among the other types of crude oil production, synthetic (+2.9%), light and medium (+8.6%), and equivalent products (+17.7%) were up from 2017. Meanwhile, production of heavy crude oil decreased 1.6%.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Production of crude oil and equivalents
Production of crude oil and equivalents

Canada exported 211.9 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in 2018 (+10.0% from 2017), which represented 80.1% of total production. Exports via pipelines to the United States (+5.3%), was the primary contributor to the overall increase.

Exports to the US by other means totalled 22.0 million cubic metres, up 24.5% from 2017. Higher growth in the second half of 2018 was the pivotal contributor to the overall annual increase.

Exports to other countries more than tripled the 2017 volume to 7.6 million cubic metres, primarily due to increased exports departing from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Exports of crude oil and equivalent products
Exports of crude oil and equivalent products

Canadian marketable natural gas production totalled 172.7 billion cubic metres in 2018, 3.9% higher than in 2017. Over the same period, exports of natural gas from Canada to the United States decreased 5.2% to 80.3 billion cubic metres, while imports declined 11.0% to 21.6 billion cubic metres.

  Note to readers

In early 2019, this Daily article will be part of a new consolidated monthly energy release where data from multiple monthly energy surveys will be released on the same day.

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 these data with those in 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.

As of the January 2018 reference month, in accordance with the North American Industry Classification System 2017 update, conventional crude oil production will be referred to as crude oil extraction, while non-conventional crude oil production will be referred to as oil sands extraction.

Data from November 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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