Energy production in Canada declined in several sectors in August compared with the same month in 2018, according to Statistics Canada.
The federal agency reported on Monday that production of crude oil and equivalent products (-2.4 per cent), natural gas (-4.8 per cent) and coal (-5.2 per cent), as well as electricity generation (-3.6 per cent) declined in August from last year.
But over the same period, exports of crude oil and equivalent products (+6.7 per cent) and electricity (+10.4) rose. Exports of natural gas (-8.3 per cent) were down.
Production of crude oil and equivalent products declined to 23.2 million cubic metres (146.1 million barrels), the first year-over-year decrease since August 2016.
“Major factors in the decline were reduced levels of in-situ oil sands production in Alberta, combined with operational and maintenance issues affecting Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore production facilities. During the month, non-upgraded production of crude bitumen was down 8.1 per cent to 9.0 million cubic metres, while production of light and medium crude oil (-4.2 per cent) and heavy crude oil (-3.4 per cent) also decreased,” said StatsCan.
“The decline in production of crude oil and equivalent products was partially offset by increases in synthetic crude oil (+7.1 per cent to 6.0 million cubic metres) and equivalent products (+3.9 per cent to 2.2 million cubic metres).”
The federal agency said Alberta produced 19.1 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products in August, down 2.2 per cent from a record high of 19.5 million cubic metres in August 2018. The province accounted for 82.1 per cent of total Canadian production.
“Despite the year-over-year decline, average daily production of crude oil and equivalent products in August was up 1.2 per cent from the previous month to 615.3 thousand cubic metres per day. This increase was attributable to the continued easing of production limits imposed by the Alberta government at the beginning of 2019,” said the federal agency.
“In August, Saskatchewan produced 2.4 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products, down 3.1 per cent compared with the same month one year earlier. Over the same period, Newfoundland and Labrador production decreased 10.7 per cent to 1.0 million cubic metres, the lowest level since November 2018.”
StatsCan said crude oil delivered by pipelines to Canadian refineries and upgraders was up 9.1 per cent year over year to 8.6 million cubic metres. Of this total, 64.9 per cent was delivered to refineries and upgraders in the Western provinces, while the remainder was destined for refineries in Ontario (19.5 per cent) and Quebec (15.6 per cent).
It also said exports of crude oil and equivalent products rose 6.7 per cent year over year to 19.1 million cubic metres. The increase was driven largely by exports to the United States via pipelines, which were up 8.2 per cent to 16.6 million cubic metres. Pipelines were the primary mode of transport (86.6 per cent of total exports).
Meanwhile, exports to the United States by other means (rail, truck and marine) were up 10.6 per cent to 2.1 million cubic metres. Exports to other countries decreased in August.
Imports of crude oil and equivalent products were up 1.8 per cent year over year to 4.5 million cubic metres.
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.