Mar 18, 2023
Canada Falls Short on Oil Promise It Made After Russia Started War in Ukraine
(Bloomberg) -- Canada increased oil production in the second half of last year, but came short of its pledge to boost output by 200,000 barrels a day to help nations trying to shift away from Russian supplies after the Ukraine invasion.
Production rose by about 168,000 barrels a day between December 2021 and December 2022, data from the Canada Energy Regulator show.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of natural resources, promised last March to help “our European friends” by adding to global crude supply after Russia attacked its neighbor and prices surged above $100 a barrel. He said Canada would raise oil production by 200,000 barrels a day and natural gas by the equivalent of 100,000 barrels a day by year-end by accelerating planned projects.
But the country’s energy companies remained disciplined in spending cash after years of depressed commodity prices. In addition, a major oil platform that was scheduled to start operating off the Newfoundland coast was delayed.
December output was also hampered by cold weather, which reduced oil sands output in Alberta, the province with most of the country’s oil reserves. In British Columbia, production of condensate, a light oil that comes out of gas wells, fell by almost 40,000 barrels a day versus a year earlier.
The Canadian regulator hasn’t yet published complete data on natural gas production for 2022. But the country did reach its overall 300,000 barrel-a-day target once gas is included, Ian Cameron, a spokesperson for Wilkinson, said by email.
“Canada met this commitment in terms of production, producing approximately 300,000 additional barrels per day in 2022,” Cameron said by email. “Canada exported as much of this additional oil and gas as possible — roughly 200,000 barrels per day — but export capacity was constrained by unforeseen events such as refinery outages in the US.”
Canada produced 4.9 million barrels a day of crude oil and equivalent in December, with the largest portion of that coming from heavy crude in Alberta’s oil sands.
The regulator’s data excluded oil production from the Northwest Territories, which averaged more than 5,000 barrels a day during the first 11 months of the year, as well as Ontario, normally about 500 barrels a day.
(Adds comment from minister’s spokesperson and additional information on natural gas.)
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