indicatorThe Owl

Alberta oil production resilient amid wildfire disruptions

Relative to May 2022, oil production was down by only 1.0%

By Siddhartha Bhattacharya, ATB Economics 10 July 2023 1 min read

Crude oil production in Alberta is wont to slow in the second quarter of the year with planned maintenance typically taking place around that time. This May’s wildfires exacerbated the seasonal pullback experienced during the month.

Alberta’s crude oil output averaged 3.4 million bpd in May, 2.8% lower than in April.

Despite the additional impact of the wildfires, output was little changed from last year’s level as production capacity in the provincial oil patch has increased over time.

Relative to May 2022, oil production was down by only 1.0%, primarily due to a 3.5% reduction in conventional (including condensates) production. Oil sands output, on the other hand, was largely unchanged during this timeframe.

In May, we estimated that this year’s wildfires would create far less drag on oil production than back in 2016. This was indeed the case with May 2016 production falling by a staggering 18.5% from the same period in 2015 to the lowest average production in May in five years.

It is, however, important to remember that the 2016 wildfires primarily impacted bitumen output whereas the disruptions this year mostly impacted conventional oil and gas and natural gas liquids.

Over the first five months of the year, oil production continued to be at an all-time high. Alberta’s year-to-date production was up 1.5% from 2022 levels and 6.5% higher than the pre-pandemic peak of 2019.

Answer to the previous trivia question: The Calgary Stampede posted its highest total attendance ever in 2012 (its 100th anniversary) at 1,409,371 visitors.

Today’s trivia question: The name Edmonton’s annual 10-day exhibition was renamed Capital Ex in 2006 and again in 2012 when it was dubbed K-Days. What was it called before the name change in 2006?

Alberta produced 3.43 million barrels per day of oil in May 2023

Alberta produced 3.43 million barrels per day of oil in May 2023

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