Oilsands achieved 3 million bbl/d milestone in 2018: AER

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

New data from the Alberta Energy Regulator shows that the oilsands industry reached a major milestone last year.

Raw bitumen production averaged 3 million bbls/d for the first time, the regulator said recently in its annual outlook.

The growth is driven primarily by the tail of production ramp-up at new major projects that were sanctioned in better market conditions, such as Suncor Energy’s Fort Hills project and Canadian Natural Resources’ Horizon Phase 3.

Alberta oilsands production first reached 1 million bbls/d in 2004 and 2 million bbls/d in 2013.

The AER forecasts that the industry will exceed 4 million bbls/d in 2027.

Oilsands capital expenditures are projected to increase after 2019, but remain relatively low when compared with the last decade, the regulator said.

“Spending in the mining sector is projected to increase after 2019, mainly because of expansion and debottlenecking projects. However, with only one new potential mining project included over the forecast period and in situ spending focused on expansions, capital expenditures are projected to decrease from 2022 to 2028.”