Market Snapshot: Offshore Newfoundland and Labrador heavy oil production helps increase total crude production to levels last seen in 2009

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Release date: 2020-03-11

Newfoundland and Labrador is the dominant producer of crude oil outside of western Canada, producing approximately 6% of Canada’s total production in 2019. All five of Newfoundland and Labrador’s currently producing projects and recent discoveries are offshore [PDF]. Newfoundland and Labrador is also the only Atlantic Canada province currently producing oil.

Until recently, all production in Atlantic Canada has been light oil, with similar characteristics to Brent crude oil which is produced offshore in the North Sea between the United Kingdom and Norway. That changed with Newfoundland and Labrador’s Hebron oil platform, which is Newfoundland and Labrador’s first new major offshore project since Husky Energy’s White Rose project began producing in 2005.

Hebron produces heavy oil. Conventional production of heavy oil occurs in two other provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan.Footnote 1 Increasing production from Hebron has helped offset falling production from other offshore projects (Hibernia, Terra-Nova, and White Rose and North Amethyst), helping total Newfoundland and Labrador production reach 340 824 b/d in November 2019, a level not seen since 2009. Heavy oil production from this project accounted for 43% of Newfoundland and Labrador’s production in 2019, up from 27% in 2018.

Figure 1. Crude oil production trend for offshore Newfoundland and
Labrador from 2010 to the end of 2019

Source and Description

Source: CER

Description: The stacked area chart shows the crude oil production trend for offshore Newfoundland and Labrador from 2010 to the end of 2019. Overall production decreased from 282 001 b/d in January 2010 to 94 867 b/d in October 2015. Production has steadily increased since then, reaching 309 112 b/d in December 2019, of which 188 128 b/d was light oil, and 120 984 was heavy oil.

Several project expansions, and large discoveries of crude oil have been recently announced in various areas offshore on Newfoundland and Labrador.

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