The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) says that production of crude oil in Canada will continue to increase, more than doubling by 2030. The increase in both oil sands and conventional oil production strengthens Canada’s position as a preferred supplier to North American and global energy markets.
CAPP’s 2013 Crude Oil Forecast, Markets and Transportation report forecasts that crude oil production in Canada will reach 6.7 million barrels per day by 2030 from 3.2 million barrels per day in 2012. Most of this increase will be in oil sands production, which will rise to 5.2 million barrels per day by 2030, from 1.8 million barrels per day in 2012. A greater percentage of oil production from oil sands will be from drilling (in situ) operations, the CAPP report says. By 2030, in situ production will account for more than twice the output as mining production, with 3.5 million barrels per day compared to 1.7 million bpd respectively.
Of the remaining established reserves in Alberta, 33 billion barrels or 20 per cent is considered recoverable by mining and 135 billion barrels or 80 per cent can be recovered using in situ techniques.
Conventional “tight” oil production is also increasing as new technology makes it possible to extract oil from previously uneconomic resources. Horizontal multistage hydraulic fracturing has doubled and tripled the recoverable percentage of oil in reservoirs. However, the increase in this type of production will be modest: CAPP forecasts that tight oil production will increase from its present level of 1.2 million bpd to 1.4 million bpd by 2015, and remain at that level for the next fifteen years.
As for Atlantic Canada, supply from this region will remain at about 200,000 bpd throughout the forecast period, CAPP says.
“Stronger performance for conventional tight oil in Canada and the United States, coupled with oil sands growth from Canada, enables greater North American energy security,” said Greg Stringham, CAPP vice-president, markets and oil sands. “It creates further opportunities to replace foreign crude oil imports in both Canada and the United States, and to increase exports to new markets beyond North America.”
A “top priority” for oil producers in Canada is now to reach new markets. The report says that a “fundamental shift” is occurring, with strong growth in light crude production making it necessary for Canada’s heavy oil suppliers to find new markets. At present, the main market for Canada’s heavy crude is the US, particularly the Midwest and Gulf Coast. However, the demand for heavy crude in the US Gulf Coast refineries, which reached 8 million bpd in 2012, has been largely met by Mexican and Venezuelan suppliers. Canadian suppliers to that market have provided just 100,000 bpd. CAPP says that Canadian suppliers could “displace” some of those imported volumes and increase their share to at least 1.1 million bpd by 2020.
Asia, the report says, is an area of strong growth in energy demand to which Canada has “limited” access. China and India will require imports of 15.7 million bpd by 2030, according to CAPP,
On the subject of oil transportation, the CAPP report states that it is currently “tight,” with no reports to date of production being “shut in” as a result. Currently, four pipelines provide about 3.5 million bpd capacity out of Western Canada. The CAPP outlook assumes that transportation capacity can grow to accommodate projected increases in supply. To that end, a “broad range” of new transportation projects—pipeline and rail—are proposed and under consideration by governments. The report states that “timely regulatory decisions” on these new infrastructure projects will enhance Canada’s international competitiveness.