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Energy statistics, July 2021

Released: 2021-10-08

Primary energy production rose 11.1% year over year in July, up from a 7.0% gain in June and the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Lower levels of energy production in July 2020 were behind the large year-over-year increase this July. Crude oil (+15.3%) and natural gas (+8.3%) were the main contributors to the year-over-year increase in July. Secondary energy production was up 11.1% year over year due to higher refinery production.

Following a 13.4% increase in June, total energy exports rose 9.4% year over year in July. Crude oil (+7.8%) and natural gas (+9.5%) represented the majority of energy products exported in July. Meanwhile, total energy imports rose 6.6%, driven by higher demand for crude oil and refined petroleum products. Despite the year-over-year increase, overall energy production and trade in July continued to remain below pre-pandemic levels.

For more information on energy in Canada, including production, consumption, international trade and much more, please visit the Canadian Centre for Energy Information website and follow #energynews on social media.

Oil sands continue to drive the increase in crude oil production

Production of crude oil and equivalent products continued to increase in July, up 15.2% year over year to 23.7 million cubic metres, the highest production volume since January 2021. The ongoing recovery of global demand and rising prices for crude oil and petroleum products were among the primary contributing factors.

Oil sands extraction rose by one-fifth (+20.0%) to 15.6 million cubic metres in July. Synthetic crude oil production was up 27.5% year over year to 6.2 million cubic metres, the highest level of production in six months, as all upgrading facilities were near full capacity in July following completion of maintenance in the second quarter. Crude bitumen production also rose, up 15.6% to 9.4 million cubic metres. Overall, from January to July, the average monthly oil sands production increased by 1.2 million cubic metres, compared with the same period in 2020.

Oil extraction rose 7.3% to 5.9 million cubic metres, driven by heavy crude oil (+17.2%) production, while light and medium crude oil (+3.1%) also increased. Despite the year-over-year gains, overall production of these types of crude oil remained 3.5% below pre-pandemic levels of July 2019.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Production of crude oil and equivalent products in July 2019, 2020 and 2021, by type of product
Production of crude oil and equivalent products in July 2019, 2020 and 2021, by type of product

The crude oil and bitumen price index continued to rise for the third consecutive month, up 4.6% from June to July. The gain came as crude oil production by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Plus (OPEC+) countries remained below pre-pandemic levels while global demand and market optimism remained strong. In July, the crude oil and bitumen price index was over two-thirds (+68.9%) higher compared with July 2020, when prices were still recovering from records lows in April and May 2020.

Exports of crude oil and equivalent products increased 7.7% to 18.9 million cubic metres in July. This was the highest level since January, mostly due to pipeline exports to the United States, up 5.7% to 16.6 million cubic metres. Meanwhile, 1.8 million cubic metres (+40.7%) were exported to the United States by other means, including rail, marine and truck. Crude by rail increased for the third consecutive month in July, according to railway carloadings statistics. Sustained volumes of exports and higher crude oil prices were major contributors to Canada's second consecutive merchandise trade balance surplus in July.

Imports of crude oil and equivalent products rose 14.5% to 3.7 million cubic metres. Increased demand from both refineries (+9.8%) and other entities (+25.6%) contributed to the year-over-year gain.

Refined petroleum production and consumption increase in July but remain below pre-pandemic levels

Refinery activity continued to rise in July, stimulated by an increase in demand for petroleum products. Input of crude oil to Canadian refineries was up 14.1% year over year to 8.8 million cubic metres, while refinery capacity utilization increased for the second consecutive month in July. Net production of finished petroleum products rose 8.5% year over year to 9.5 million cubic metres in July, the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Distillate fuel oils (+13.8%) and jet fuel (+33.5%) were the main contributors to the monthly increase, while renewable fuel (+1.0%) production rose for the fourth consecutive month. Despite these year-over-year increases, refinery production was 10.9% below July 2019 levels.

Domestic consumption of refined petroleum products was up 7.9% year over year to 8.6 million cubic metres in July. The gain was primarily due to rising demand for transportation fuels. Consumption of motor gasoline rose 9.7% to 3.9 million cubic metres, the highest level since October 2019, before the pandemic, while jet fuel was up 47.3% year over year. According to aviation statistics, the number of passengers carried by major Canadian airlines more than doubled this July compared with the same month a year earlier. Nevertheless, overall consumption of finished petroleum products this July was 9.3% below July 2019 levels.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Net production and domestic consumption of finished petroleum products
Net production and domestic consumption of finished petroleum products

Increased demand for transportation fuels contributed to put upward pressure on prices in July. Following a 0.4% increase in June, prices of refined petroleum products were up 2.9% month over month in July, driven primarily by higher prices for jet fuel (+4.4%) and motor gasoline (+3.9%). Overall, on a year-over-year basis, prices of refined petroleum products were up 49.9% in July.

Exports of finished petroleum products were up over one-quarter (+25.2%) year over year to 1.4 million cubic metres in July. Distillate fuel oils (+43.9%) and other petroleum products (+16.1%) were the main products exported in July. Imports of finished petroleum products rose 8.1% year over year, primarily due to increased demand in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

Natural gas production and consumption continue to increase

Production of marketable natural gas rose 8.3% to 597.8 million gigajoules in July, the largest year-over-year increase since November 2017 (+9.2%). Meanwhile, total deliveries of natural gas to Canadian consumers rose 8.9% year over year in July to 309.3 million gigajoules.

Robust demand by the Canadian industrial sector (+10.6%) contributed to the largest year-over-year increase in deliveries since October 2018. Overall, the industrial sector in Alberta received almost two-thirds (65.1%) of all natural gas delivered in Canada in July.

In contrast, deliveries of natural gas to the residential sector fell for the fifth consecutive month, down 5.2% year over year in July, while deliveries to the commercial and institutional sectors declined 3.3%.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Marketable production of natural gas, deliveries to Canadian industrial consumers and exports, year-over-year change
Marketable production of natural gas, deliveries to Canadian industrial consumers and exports, year-over-year change

Demand for Canadian natural gas in the United States continued to rise. Following a 14.2% increase in June, exports of natural gas to the United States increased again in July, up 9.5% to 246.6 million gigajoules, the highest exports level in four months. Although the natural gas price index edged down 0.5% month over month in July, on a year-over-year basis, natural gas prices were up 22.9%.

Imports of natural gas declined 4.6% to 86.5 million gigajoules, as increased domestic production limited the demand for imports.

Electricity generation and consumption fall year over year on lower demand

Following year-over-year increases in May (+2.7%) and June (+3.5%), electricity generation fell 5.4% to 49.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in July. Hydro (-6.3%) and nuclear (-9.3%) generation were the main contributors to the overall decline in July, while electricity generated from combustible fuels (-0.4%) and solar (-18.1%) also declined.

In contrast, electricity production from biomass (+11.9%) and wind power (+3.8%) were up in July. By generation type, hydro remained the single largest contributor to Canada's electricity mix, accounting for 58.7% of electricity production in July. Overall, renewable generation accounted for almost two-thirds (64.8%) of total electricity produced in July.

Following three consecutive monthly increases, electricity consumption in Canada declined 3.1% in July to 44.9 million MWh, primarily due to a 13.5% decrease in demand for electricity in Ontario. The overall decline in consumption was partially offset by higher demand in British Columbia (+5.7%) and Quebec (+1.5%).

Lower demand for electricity put downward pressure on prices in July. After increasing 2.8% in June, the electric power selling price index for industrial and commercial users fell 1.8% month over month in July.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Electricity generation and consumption, year-over-year change
Electricity generation and consumption, year-over-year change

Electricity exports to the United States fell 15.6% year over year to 6.0 million MWh in July, primarily due to lower exports originating from Manitoba. In contrast, imports of electricity from the United States were up 39.0% to 1.0 million MWh, the highest level in five months. The increase was mostly attributable to higher demand for imported electricity in Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario, which reported significant decreases in domestic production in July.

Coal production and exports decline year over year

Coal production edged down 0.2% to 3.0 million tonnes in July, the first year-over-year decline in 2021, while exports fell 15.1% to 1.4 million tonnes. Coke production declined 5.9% to 168 350 tonnes.

  Note to readers

The consolidated energy statistics table (25-10-0079-01) presents monthly data on primary and secondary energy by fuel type in terajoules (crude oil, natural gas, electricity, coal, etc.) and supply and demand characteristics (production, exports, imports, etc.) for Canada. The table uses data from a variety of survey and administrative sources. Estimates are available starting with the January 2020 reference month. For more information, please consult the Consolidated Energy Statistics Table User Guide.

The survey programs that support the Energy Statistics release include the following:

  • Crude oil and natural gas (survey number 2198, tables 25-10-0036-01, 25-10-0055-01 and 25-10-0063-01). Data for June 2021 have been revised.
  • Energy transportation and storage (survey number 5300, tables 25-10-0075-01 and 25-10-0077-01).
  • 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). Data from January 2016 to June 2021 have been revised.
  • Refined petroleum products (survey number 2150, table 25-10-0081-01).
  • Renewable fuel plant statistics (survey number 5294, table 25-10-0082-01). National estimates presented on renewable plant statistics by supply and disposition characteristics (production, shipments, inventories, etc.)
  • Electric power statistics (survey number 2151, tables 25-10-0015-01 and 25-10-0016-01). Data for June 2021 have been revised.
  • Coal and coke statistics (survey numbers 2147 and 2003, tables 25-10-0045-01 and 25-10-0046-01).

Data are subject to revisions. Energy data are revised on an ongoing basis for each month of the current year to reflect new information provided by respondents and updates to administrative data. Historical revisions are also performed periodically.

Definitions, data sources and methods for each survey program are available under their respective survey number.

The Energy Statistics Program uses respondent and administrative data.

Data in this release are not seasonally adjusted.

Contact information

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