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In Spite Of Oil Price Slump, Canadian Oil Output To Increase

In Spite Of Oil Price Slump, Canadian Oil Output To Increase

It was yet another depressing headline congruent with the rest of the bad news bombarding the battered Canadian oilpatch for 15 months. On February 22 Postmedia (National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal) carried the headline, “Canadian oil production growth could come to ‘complete standstill,’ IEA warns.”

It was based on the Medium-Term Oil Market report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on February 21 looking at global crude supply and demand for the next five years through the end of 2021. Based in Paris, the IEA is made up of 29 member countries which fund its research and reports into global energy markets.

The problem is that the headline is not true. At least not for the next three years, which is an eternity for the many exploration and production (E&P) and oilfield services (OFS) companies trying to figure out how to finish 2016 on the right side of the grass. Thanks to oilsands and east coast offshore projects still under construction, Canadian oil output is going to rise by 100,000 barrels per day (b/d) this year, 285,000 b/d in 2017 and 200,000 b/d in 2018, a total of 585,000 b/d. This is more oil than OPEC members Ecuador and Libya averaged in the fourth quarter of 2015.The two big projects which will move the needle on Canadian output the most are Suncor Fort Hills and Hebron, along with several others.

What the IEA actually wrote – which the headline writers apparently missed – was, “We are likely to see continued capacity increases (in Canada in) the near term, with growth slowing considerably, if not coming to a complete standstill, after the projects under construction are completed.” Which is 2019, unless the developers of these projects pull the plug.

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