Market Snapshot: Value of Canada’s net energy exports declined again in 2016

Release date: 2017-04-05

Net energy exports declined for two consecutive years from a 10-year high of $85 billion in 2014. In 2016, net exports decreased by $8.8 billion, following a $32.2 billion decline in 2015. In both cases, the decrease was largely driven by lower commodity prices, as export volumes increased for all energy commodities except natural gas liquids (NGLs).

Crude oil and refined petroleum products (RPPs) are the primary drivers behind the net export decline. In 2016, net exports of crude oil and refined petroleum products declined by $8.0 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively.

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada: CANSIM Table 228-0059

Description: This stacked column chart shows the value of Canadian imports and exports in billions of dollars, broken down by commodity type, from 2007 to 2016. An overlaid line series shows the value of net energy exports (exports minus imports). In 2016, Canada exported $71.7 billion of energy products and imported $27.5 billion, for a net export value of $44.2 billion. This was an $8.8 billion decrease from the 2015 net export value of $53.0 billion. Decreases in crude oil and RPP net exports were the primary drivers of this decrease, while net exports of natural gas, NGLs, electricity, and other energy products were all relatively stable.

Canada exported record volumes of crude oil towards the end of 2016, but low oil prices resulted in a total decrease in net export value. In 2016, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the North American benchmark price for crude, averaged US$42.69 per barrel – approximately US$6 less than the annual average price in 2015. Similarly, RPP prices, which closely track crude oil prices, were lower in 2016 than in 2015, and led to a decrease in net RPP exports.

Net natural gas export revenue was relatively stable between 2015 and 2016, decreasing $0.5 billion despite significant price swings and record storage levels. For electricity, 2016 net export revenue was relatively unchanged compared to 2015, decreasing $0.1 billion due to lower prices counter-balancing higher volumes.

The value of net NGL exports declined slightly in 2016, led primarily by a decline in net butane exports. At the same time, net propane exports grew in response to ongoing development of liquids-rich gas in the Montney and Alberta Deep Basin formations of western Canada.

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