Oilsands production surges to record 2.79 million bbls/d in November 2016

Image: Cenovus Energy

Alberta oilsands production is surging closer to its 3.0 million bbl/d growth forecast, reaching a record 2.79 million bbls/d in November 2016, according to data from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

Production is expected to reach 3.0 million bbls/d by 2020 as major projects that were underway before the downturn are completed.

The November high was driven by growth in both mining and in situ production.

Bitumen rates increased at in situ sites including ConocoPhillips Canada Surmont, Cenovus Energy Christina Lake and Foster Creek, Devon Canada Jackfish, as well as Husky Energy Sunrise and Tucker.

Total in situ production was about 181,000 bbls/d higher in November 2016 compared to November 2015, with ramp-up at the second phase of Surmont alone accounting for about 65,000 bbls/d of that growth.

Mining production grew by a similar amount—about 186,000 bbls/d—in the same period, with increases at all sites other than Imperial Oil’s Kearl project, where volumes stayed flat year-over-year.

The increase in oilsands production pushed total Canadian volumes to new highs, surpassing five million bbls/d for the first time, the International Energy Agency noted this week.

Bitumen production crossed the 1 million bbl/d threshold in 2004, AER data shows, followed by the 2 million bbl/d mark in 2013.

The regulator predicts that bitumen production will be 2.8 million bbls/d in 2017.