Crude Oil Annual Export Summary – 2020

The COVID 19 pandemic and a brief OPEC+ price war significantly affected crude oil prices around the world in 2020, including in Canada’s export markets. However, the volume of crude oil exported from Canada changed only slightly. In 2020, total crude oil exports from Canada were 3.7 MMb/d (582.0 thousand m³/d), a 2% decrease from 2019. Canada exported 2.8 MMb/d (446.3 thousand m³/d) of heavy crude oil and 0.9 MMb/d (135.7 thousand m³/d) of light crude oil. Though export volumes were relatively flat year over year in 2020, the average price received for exported Canadian crude oil decreased 32%. This resulted in a $29.6 billion dollar decrease in the value of crude oil exports. The crude oil export summary is presented below.

Table 1: Oil Export Summary
  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total Volume ( 10³m³/d) 492.71 528.37 575.57 597.88 581.99
Heavy 363.67 405.08 449.03 456.74 446.28
Light 129.05 123.29 126.54 141.14 135.71
Total Volume (Mb/d) 3 100.58 3 324.96 3 621.99 3 762.35 3 662.38
Heavy 2 288.51 2 549.09 2 825.69 2 874.18 2 808.40
Light 812.07 775.87 796.30 888.17 853.99
Total Average Price (C$/m³) 276.80 347.09 388.99 403.32 274.22
Heavy 252.14 326.57 362.26 385.05 263.93
Light 346.30 414.52 483.83 462.45 308.08
Total Average Price (US$/bbl) 33.26 42.52 47.76 48.29 32.77
Heavy 30.31 40.03 44.47 46.10 31.57
Light 41.56 50.72 59.45 55.37 36.71
Total Value (C$ Billions) 49.92 66.94 81.72 88.01 58.41
Heavy 33.56 48.28 59.37 64.19 43.10
Light 16.36 18.65 22.35 23.82 15.30

Notes:
m³= cubic metres
 10³m³/d = thousand cubic metres per day
106m³/d = million cubic metres per day
MMb/d = million barrels per day
Mb/d = thousand barrels per day
Bbl = barrels

Numbers may not add due to rounding

The data in this page are provided in Excel format (.XLSX) and are updated annually. Export data is filed with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) 30 days after the end of each month. For the latest export and import volume data, including updates and revisions, please see the Commodity Statistics reports and Crude Exports by Rail Statistics.

Contact cts-ssp@cer-rec.gc.ca for further information.

Export Volumes

The CER regulates the export of crude oil and petroleum products. Export orders or licences are required to export these commodities from Canada and holders of these authorizations report monthly volumes to the CER. The data that is reported to the CER is presented here.

Total crude oil exports in 2020 were 3.7 MMb/d (582.0 10³m³/d), 2% lower than 2019.

Heavy

In 2020, heavy crude oilFootnote 1 accounted for 77% of all crude oil exported from Canada. Since 2019, heavy crude oil exports decreased 2% from 2.9 MMb/d to 2.8 MMb/d (456.7 10³m³/d to 446.3 10³m³/d). Over the past five years, heavy crude oil exports increased 23%.

Light

In 2020, 23% of exported crude oil was lightFootnote 2. In 2020, light crude oil exports decreased 4% from 0.89 MMb/d to 0.85 MMb/d (141.1 10³m³/d to 135.7 10³m³/d). Over the past five years, light crude oil exports increased 5%.

Figure 1: Annual Heavy and Light Crude Oil Exports

Source and Description

Source: CER’s Commodity Tracking System as of 1 March 2021 Crude Oil – Total Exports (monthly report) and Crude Oil – Total Exports per Day (yearly report)

Figure Description: This data description is in imperial units (for metric units, please visit the source linked above).
In 2020, Canada exported 3.7 MMb/d of crude oil: 2.8 MMb/d of heavy crude oil and 0.9 MMb/d of light crude oil.
In 2019, Canada exported 3.8 MMb/d of crude oil: 2.9 MMb/d of heavy crude oil and 0.9 MMb/d of light crude oil.
In 2018, Canada exported 3.6 MMb/d of crude oil: 2.8 MMb/d of heavy crude oil and 0.8 MMb/d of light crude oil.
In 2017, Canada exported 3.3 MMb/d of crude oil: 2.5 MMb/d of heavy crude oil and 0.8 MMb/d of light crude oil.
In 2016, Canada exported 3.1 MMb/d of crude oil: 2.3 MMb/d of heavy crude oil and 0.8 MMb/d of light crude oil.

Regional Export Volumes

The North American crude oil market has undergone significant change in recent years with the emergence of light crude oil production from shale plays in the U.S. However, the increase in U.S. shale production has not stopped the growth of Canadian crude oil exports. The U.S. remains Canada’s main crude oil export market with exports showing relatively steady growth over the past five years. U.S. refineries have made significant investments in technology that processes heavy crude, and with the availability of heavy crude oil from other sources globally declining these refineries require larger volumes from Canada.

Figure 2 shows flows of crude oil exports from major exporting provincesFootnote 3 to U.S. Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADDs). The PADDs include the U.S. East Coast (PADD 1), U.S. Midwest (PADD 2), U.S. Gulf Coast (PADD 3), U.S. Rockies (PADD 4), and U.S. West Coast (PADD 5). The left side shows the exported crude oil by the province where the crude oil entered a main export pipeline or marine vessel. The right side shows the U.S. region where the crude oil is processed.

In 2020, the following U.S. regions received Canada’s crude oil:

  • U.S. Midwest (PADD 2) received 58%
  • U.S. Gulf Coast (PADD 3) received 20%
  • U.S. East Coast (PADD 1) received 4%
  • U.S. Rockies (PADD 4) received 7%
  • U.S. West Coast (PADD 5) received 7%

Additionally, crude oil exported to other categoriesFootnote 4 was 4%.

Figure 2: Yearly Crude Oil Export Flows to the U.S.

Source and Description

Source: CER’s Commodity Tracking System as of 1 March 2021: Crude Oil Exports – Summary by Destination (yearly report) and internal data

Figure Description: This data description is in imperial units (for metric units, please visit the source linked above).
PADD 1: 4% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 1 (U.S. East Coast) in 2020. The crude oil was exported from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
PADD 2: 58% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 2 (U.S. Midwest) in 2020. The crude oil was exported from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
PADD 3: 20% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 3 (U.S. Gulf Coast) in 2020. The crude oil was exported from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador.
PADD 4: 7% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 4 (U.S. Rockies) in 2020. The crude oil was exported from Alberta and Saskatchewan.
PADD 5: 7% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 5 (U.S. West Coast) in 2019. The crude oil was exported from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Figure 3: Annual Historical Crude Oil Exports by Type and Province

Source and Description

Source: CER internal data as of 1 March 2021

Figure Description: This data description is in imperial units (for metric units, please visit the source linked above).
This graph shows crude oil export volumes by province over the past five years. In 2020, Alberta exported 2.5 MMb/d of heavy crude oil and 0.6 MMb/d of light crude oil. In 2020, Saskatchewan exported 0.1 MMb/d of heavy crude and 0.0 MMb/d of light crude oil. In 2020, Manitoba exported 0.0 MMb/d of heavy and 0.1 MMb/d of light crude oil. In 2020, Newfoundland and Labrador exported 0.1 MMb/d of heavy and 0.1 MMb/d of light crude oil.
Small volumes from British Columbia and Nova Scotia are not shown.

 

Figure 4: Historical Crude Oil Exported to U.S. Regions

This map shows the U.S. PADD regions and the bar chart underneath shows monthly export volumes to each PADD for each year. PADD 2 continues to be the largest market for Canadian crude oil exports in 2019, while PADD 1 is the smallest market.

Source and Description

Source: CER’s Commodity Tracking System as of 1 March 2021: Crude Oil Exports – Summary by Destination (monthly report)

Figure Description: This data description is in imperial units (for metric units, please visit the source linked above).
Over the past 5 years, the majority of the crude oil exported from Canada was exported to PADD 2 (U.S. Midwest). 58% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 2 (U.S. Midwest) in 2020.
In 2016, PADD 5 (U.S. West) was the smallest U.S. market for Canadian crude oil. From 2017 to 2020, PADD 1 (U.S. East) was the smallest U.S. market for Canadian crude oil. 4% of Canada’s crude oil exports to the U.S. went to PADD 1 (U.S. East Coast) in 2020.

Figure 5: Yearly Crude Oil Average Export Prices and Values

In 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic and a brief OPEC+ price war significantly affected crude oil export prices. The average crude oil export price decreased 32%, from $403.3/m³ in 2019 to $274.2/m³ in 2020. However, exported crude oil volumes did not decrease to the same extent. Due mainly to decreased export prices, and only slightly decreased volumes, the total value of crude oil exports decreased 34%, from $88.0 billion in 2019 to $58.4 billion in 2020. Note that the prices shown here represent the values of many individual transactions at the various markets of sale.

Source and Description

Source: CER internal data as of 1 March 2021

Figure Description: This data description is in imperial units ($US/bbl). For metric units ($CA/m³), download the Figure Data Excel file at the beginning of this summary.
The average crude oil export price was highest in 2011 when it reached $US 88.5/bbl and export values were $US 69.1 billion. Export values hit a peak in 2014, reaching $US 83.0 billion. In 2015, export prices decreased to $US 39.4/bbl, resulting in a total exports valued at $US 43.8 billion. In 2019, the average export price was $US 48.3/bbl with a value of $US 66.3 billion. In 2020, export prices decreased to $US 32.8/bbl, resulting in total exports valued at $US 43.9 billion.

Crude Oil Exports by Transportation Mode

In 2020, approximately 88% of crude oil exports moved by pipeline and the remaining crude oil moved by rail, marine, and truck.Footnote 5 In 2020, approximately 5% was exported by rail be, and 8% was exported by marine vessel to the U.S. or to various destinations throughout the world. Canadian crude oil exports via pipeline decreased 0.3%, from 3.2 MMb/d (0.51 106m³/d) in 2019 to 3.2 MMb/d (0.51 106m³/d) in 2020.

Crude oil exported by rail decreased 40% in 2020. In prior years, crude exports by rail had grown, because export-pipeline capacity grew slower than oil available for export. However, in 2020, very low oil prices in March through May caused Canadian producers to shut in some oil production, which freed up space in pipelines so almost all oil available for export could be shipped by pipeline. Monthly data on crude oil exports by rail is on the CER website.

Figure 6: Crude Oil Exports by Transport Mode

Source and Description

Source: CER’s Crude Exports by Rail Statistics and internal data as of 1 March 2021

Figure Description: This data description is in imperial units (for metric units, please visit the source linked above).
This figure shows export volumes from 2016 to 2020 by pipeline, marine and rail. Marine exports were 0.20 MMb/d in 2016; 0.21 MMb/d in 2017; 0.28 MMb/d in 2018; 0.26 MMb/d in 2019; and 0.28 MMb/d in 2020. Pipeline exports were 2.81 MMb/d in 2016; 2.99 MMb/d in 2017; 3.10 MMb/d in 2018; 3.22 MMb/d in 2019; and 3.21 MMb/d in 2020. Rail exports were 0.09 MMb/d in 2016; 0.13 MMb/d in 2017; 0.24 MMb/d in 2018; 0.28 MMb/d in 2019; and 0.17 MMb/d in 2020.

Complete data for all figures can be downloaded in Excel format from the file at the top of this page. For more information about crude oil markets in 2020, refer to the crude oil Market Snapshots.

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