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Energy statistics, March 2019

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Released: 2019-06-05

In March, production in all primary energy sectors rose compared with March 2018. Over the same period, exports of crude oil and equivalent products increased, while exports of natural gas and electricity decreased.

This release is a new product that combines a broad range of energy topics previously published individually in The Daily. Additionally, as of reference month January 2019, the questionnaire for the Monthly Refined Petroleum Products Survey program has been redesigned. For more information, see the note to readers.

Crude oil and equivalent products

In March, production of crude oil and equivalent products rose 0.4% compared with the same month a year earlier, to 22.6 million cubic metres (142.4 million barrels). The temporary production cuts imposed by the Alberta government at the beginning of 2019 remained in place in March, although the limits on production were moderately relaxed for the second consecutive month. Higher crude production in Newfoundland and Labrador partly offset lower production in Alberta. Overall, Canadian crude oil production (excluding equivalent products) increased 0.1% year over year.

Production of crude bitumen declined for the third consecutive month, down 4.7% to 8.5 million cubic metres compared with March 2018, while heavy crude oil production was also down. The decreases were partially offset by growth in synthetic crude oil (+5.8%), light and medium crude oil (+3.8%) and equivalent products (+3.4%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Production, exports and imports of crude oil and equivalent products
Production, exports and imports of crude oil and equivalent products

Alberta produced 18.3 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in March, edging down 0.2% from the same month a year earlier, and accounted for 80.7% of total Canadian production. Average daily production of crude oil and equivalents continued to increase in March (589.3 thousand cubic metres), compared with February (583.1 thousand cubic metres) and January (580.5 thousand cubic metres). This increase was directly related to the easing of production cuts.

Saskatchewan (10.9% of total production) and Newfoundland and Labrador (5.7%) were also key producing provinces in March.

Pipelines in Canada received 19.9 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products from fields and plants in March, down 9.8% compared with the same month in 2018. The vast majority of these receipts (84.9%) originated in Alberta.

Over the same period, pipelines delivered 7.9 million cubic metres of crude oil to Canadian refineries and upgraders (+3.5%), representing the highest level since January 2018. Almost two-thirds (65.6%) of the total volume were delivered to refineries and upgraders in the Western provinces.

In March, total exports of crude oil and equivalent products rose 3.6% to 18.6 million cubic metres, the 15th consecutive monthly year-over-year increase. Exports to the United States via pipelines increased 3.0% year over year to 16.0 million cubic metres. March marked the second highest level of exports via pipelines, after 16.1 million cubic metres exported in January 2019. Overall, pipelines were the main mode of transport, accounting for 86.4% of total exports in March. Exports to the United States by other means (rail, truck and marine) increased 33.2% to 1.9 million cubic metres, while exports to other countries were down.

Over the same period, imports of crude oil and equivalent products decreased 2.1% to 3.9 million cubic metres.

Refined petroleum products

In March, net production of motor gasoline (which consists of motor gasoline and blending components) totalled 3.7 million cubic metres, while net production of diesel fuel oil was 3.3 million cubic metres. Meanwhile, closing inventories held at refineries, terminals and upgraders were 2.3 million cubic metres of motor gasoline and 1.9 million cubic metres of diesel fuel oil.

Natural gas

Canadian marketable natural gas production totalled 617.7 million gigajoules in March, up 3.6% from the same month a year earlier. Production of natural gas was concentrated in Alberta (70.0%) and British Columbia (28.3%).

Over the same period, natural gas transmission and distribution systems delivered 410.5 million gigajoules to Canadian consumers. The majority (57.0%, or 234.0 million gigajoules) were delivered to industrial consumers, while the remainder went to residential consumers (95.8 million gigajoules) and commercial and institutional consumers (80.7 million gigajoules).

Chart 2  Chart 2: Canadian monthly natural gas deliveries
Canadian monthly natural gas deliveries

Deliveries of natural gas in Alberta totalled 198.1 million gigajoules in March. The majority (75.4%) was sent to the industrial sector, which accounted for 36.4% of all natural gas delivered in Canada.

Meanwhile, natural gas transmission and distribution systems delivered 120.2 million gigajoules in Ontario. Of this total, 48.1 million gigajoules were delivered to the residential sector, which accounted for 50.2% of deliveries to residential consumers in Canada.

Opening inventories of natural gas held in Canadian storage facilities totalled 608.3 million gigajoules in March. During the month, inventory decreased 12.2% to 533.8 million gigajoules. This was the fifth consecutive monthly decline in inventory as demand for natural gas remained high in March due to cold weather.

Canadian exports of natural gas by pipeline to the United States declined 6.5% year over year to 275.3 million gigajoules in March.

Over the same period, Canada imported 113.4 million gigajoules from the United States by pipelines (+56.8%), with most of the imports going to Ontario (105.6 million gigajoules).


In March, electricity generation in Canada increased 1.3% to 57.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh), the third consecutive year-over-year increase. Renewable generation (including hydro, wind, solar, tidal and others) edged up 0.5% to 38.2 million MWh, while electricity generated from combustible fuels amounted to 12.8 million MWh (+14.1%) and nuclear generation totalled 7.0 million MWh (-12.7%).

By generation type, hydro was the single largest contributor to Canada's electricity mix, producing 34.5 million MWh of electricity, down 1.6% from the previous year. Quebec was the largest provincial generator of hydro-electricity in March (19.0 million MWh), followed by Newfoundland and Labrador (4.5 million MWh) and British Columbia (4.1 million MWh).

In March, Alberta was the largest provincial generator of electricity from combustible fuels (6.9 million MWh), followed by Saskatchewan (1.8 million MWh). Meanwhile, the vast majority of nuclear electricity (93.1%) was generated in Ontario, with the remainder produced in New Brunswick.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Electricity generation
Electricity generation

Exports of electricity to the United States totalled 4.4 million MWh in March, down 17.9% from the same month a year earlier. Quebec was the main exporting province (2.4 million MWh), followed by Ontario (1.3 million MWh). Over the same period, Canada imported 1.6 million MWh of electricity from the United States, with most of the imports going to British Columbia (1.5 million MWh).

Coal and coke

Production of coal totalled 5.0 million tonnes in March, up 2.3% compared with the same month a year earlier, and represented the highest monthly production since January 2018. Over the same period, coke production edged down 0.2% to 205.7 thousand tonnes.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Coal production
Coal production

  Note to readers

As of reference month January 2019, Statistics Canada presents a new consolidated monthly release: Energy statistics. The survey programs which support the new release include:

  • Crude oil and natural gas, supply and disposition (survey number 2198, tables 25-10-0036-01, 25-10-0055-01 and 25-10-0063-01). Data from January and February 2019 have been revised.
  • Pipeline transportation of oil and other liquid petroleum products (survey number 2148, table 25-10-0056-01)
  • Supply and disposition of refined petroleum products (survey number 2150, table 25-10-0076-01). Data from January and February 2019 have been revised.
  • Natural gas transmission, storage and distribution (survey numbers 2149, 5210 and 5215, tables 25-10-0057-01, 25-10-0058-01 and 25-10-0059-01)
  • Electric power statistics (survey number 2151, tables 25-10-0015-01 and 25-10-0016-01). Data from February 2019 have been revised.
  • Coal and coke statistics (survey numbers 2147 and 2003, tables 25-10-0045-01 and 25-10-0046-01).

The tables associated with the above survey programs remain unchanged, although release dates for most tables have changed. Data in these tables are subject to revisions. Definitions, data sources and methods for each survey program remain available by accessing each survey's respective number.

As of reference month January 2019, the Monthly Refined Petroleum Products Survey has been redesigned. The questionnaire content has changed to reflect the evolving refined petroleum industry. Upgraders and petroleum terminals are now included in the survey frame. New variables have been added, while other variables have been discontinued. Due to the change in methodology, the current estimates may not be comparable with the estimates available prior to January 2019. Net production of refined petroleum products is calculated by subtracting inputs from production.

Data are subject to revisions.

The energy statistics program uses respondent and administrative data.

Data in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

It takes approximately 100 gigajoules or 2,700 cubic metres of natural gas to heat a new average-sized single detached home in Canada for one year.

A megawatt-hour (or 1,000 kilowatt hours) is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by about 330 homes during one hour.

Contact information

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