Market Snapshot: Value of Canada’s net energy exports declined by over one-third in 2015

Release date: 2016-06-01

Net energy exportsFootnote 1 contributed significantly less to the Canadian economy in 2015 compared to 2014, falling by 37.9 per cent or $32.4 billion. This decline is $8.3 billion more than the last significant decline in the value of net energy exports, which occurred during the 2009 financial crisis.

The sharp decline in 2015 was amplified by record high net exports of $85.5 billion in 2014, which subsequently fell to $53.1 billion. Gross energy exports actually declined 34.9 per cent, or $44.9 billion, in 2015, but this was partially offset by a decline in imports of 29 per cent, or $12.4 billion.

Figure Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 228-0059

Description: This stacked bar chart illustrates the value of Canada’s energy exports and imports from 2006 to 2015, broken down by energy commodity. In 2015, total net energy exports were $53.1 billion. Crude oil and bitumen account for the majority of Canada’s net exports in 2015 at $41.1 billion. Natural gas net exports were $7.2 billion, followed by electricity net exports at $2.83 billion and refined petroleum products net exports at $0.8 billion. Net natural gas liquids exports were - $0.4 billion, and other energy exports were $1.6 billion. The chart also has a line graph that shows the net export value. Net energy exports have been increasing steadily from 2009 to 2014 before declining 38 per cent in 2015.

The 2015 drop in export values is largely the result of lower oil prices. Canada exported record volumes of crude oil in 2015, but the value of oil declined. For example, Western Canadian Select crude oil, one of the oil streams exported, fell from an average of US$73.60 per barrel in 2014 to an average of US$35.28 per barrel in 2015.

Net natural gas exports were affected by lower volumes and lower prices. In 2015, the price of natural gas at Henry Hub in the U.S. declined 31 per cent, from an average of US$4.57 per MMBtu in 2014 to US$3.14 per MMBtu. Robust natural gas supply in the United States has resulted in lower demand for Canadian exports.

The value of net exports for both electricity and refined petroleum products actually grew in 2015. Net electricity exports increased $507 million, while net refined petroleum products exports increased $1.23 billion.

Finally, when looking back over the last decade, the graph illustrates crude oil’s growing contribution, and natural gas’ declining contribution, to Canada’s net energy exports. In 2015, the value of crude oil net exports was $41.1 billion, approximately six times the value of natural gas net exports ($7.2 billion). In 2006, the value of crude oil net exports was $16.3 billion, approximately only 65 per cent of the value of natural gas net exports ($25.4 billion).

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