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Energy supply and demand, 2020

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Released: 2021-12-13

The overall decline in energy supply and demand in 2020 reflected how the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives.

Primary energy production decreases

Primary energy production in Canada decreased 3.8% in 2020 to 20,706 petajoules. This followed a 0.2% decrease in 2019.

Crude oil accounted for the largest proportion of primary energy production in Canada in 2020 at 49.5%, followed by natural gas (32.2%), primary electricity (8.9%), total coal (5.0%) and gas plant natural gas liquids (4.3%).

It was the 11th consecutive year in which crude oil accounted for the largest share of primary energy production.

Exports and imports decline

Exports of Canadian energy and energy products decreased 6.0% in 2020 to 13,134 petajoules.

In 2020, Canada exported 81.3% of its crude oil production and 40.5% of its marketable natural gas.

Imports of energy decreased 15.9% in 2020 to 3,516 petajoules. Crude oil accounted for the largest proportion of imports (46.2%), followed by natural gas (32.0%).

Energy consumption falls

Canada's energy consumption decreased 8.9% to 8,129 petajoules in 2020, following a 0.4% increase in 2019.

Energy use decreased in all six sectors: transportation (-17.2%) saw the greatest decline, followed by industrial (-6.5%), public administration (-6.3%), commercial and other institutional (-4.3%), agriculture (-3.7%) and residential (-2.7%).

Within the industrial sector, energy consumption decreased in forestry and logging and support activities (-14.9%), construction (-11.7%), manufacturing (-7.0%) and mining and oil and gas extraction (-5.3%).

Retail pump sales (65.3%) continued to represent the largest proportion of energy consumption in the transportation sector, followed by road transport and urban transit (14.3%), pipelines (7.3%), airlines (6.0%), railways (3.9%) and marine (3.2%).

With travel restrictions, the rise of remote work, and business and school closures, refined petroleum products used for transportation fell sharply in 2020: aviation turbo fuel use decreased 51.9% year over year, while motor gasoline use fell 15.1%.

Natural gas use (37.1%) surpassed refined petroleum products (35.5%) as the main source of energy consumed in Canada for the first time in 2020, followed by electricity (23.9%).

Energy consumption trends across the country

Ontario, Alberta and Quebec continued to account for the majority of energy consumed in Canada. In 2020, their combined share of total energy consumption was 73.9%.

All regions recorded decreases in energy consumption in 2020 compared with 2019. The territories (-12.7%) saw the greatest decline, followed by Quebec (-11.4%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-11.3%), Nova Scotia (-10.3%), Ontario (-10.2%), British Columbia (-7.7%), New Brunswick (-7.4%), Alberta (-7.2%), Manitoba (-6.2%), Saskatchewan (-5.8%) and Prince Edward Island (-1.7%).

  Note to readers

Data for 2019 have been revised.

Revisions to series prior to 2019 are detailed in the footnotes of the associated tables.

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