Crude-by-rail shipments set new record in December despite lower price discounts

The National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports from Canada reached a record high in December.

Canada exported nearly 354,000 bbls/d, up seven per cent from November’s total of 330,400 bbls/d and the 152,000 bbls/d moved in December 2017.

On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the province will invest $3.7 billion to move up to 120,000 bbls/d by rail by 2020 under deals with Canada’s two major railways.

Initial daily shipments of 20,000 bbls are expected to begin as early as July.

Full export pipelines have been blamed for a glut of oil in Western Canada last fall that led to large discounts for bitumen-blend Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude compared with New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil.

Those differentials narrowed in early December when Alberta announced it would impose crude oil production curtailments starting Jan. 1.

Some producers have complained that the lower differentials make crude-by-rail shipments less profitable.

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