The National Energy Board (NEB) is predicting that Canadian crude oil production will decrease this year for the first time since 2009.

The NEB published an update to its Estimated Production of Canadian Crude Oil and Equivalent data on Tuesday, including initial numbers for the full year 2018 and expectations for 2019.

The data shows that total Canadian oil production averaged 4.58 million bbls/d in 2018, up from 4.21 million bbls/d in 2017. The country’s volumes have been increasing every year since 2010, when production averaged 2.83 million bbls/d.

In a small but meaningful adjustment, the NEB estimates that growth will not continue in 2019, estimating production will decrease to average 4.51 million bbls/d.

The last year-over-year decrease in the data is 2008-2009. Likely as a result of tanking commodity prices during the Global Recession, production dropped approximately 62,000 bbls/d to 2.698 million bbls/d.

While no additional information was published along with the new NEB data, it is likely the diminished outlook for 2019 is impacted by Alberta’s oil curtailment, the dramatically reduced backlog of new oilsands projects working toward start-up, and ongoing investment uncertainty.

Image: Cenovus Energy