​Crude by rail shipments from Western Canada rise by 34,000 bbls/d in May

Crude by rail traffic through Calgary in May 2019. Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

CALGARY — Genscape says crude-by-rail shipments from Western Canada continued to rise in May after falling in February to a nine-month low.

The U.S. company, which monitors western Canadian rail terminals handling about 80 per cent of typical volumes, reports average rail loadings in May were 231,000 barrels per day, up 34,000 bbls/d from April.

In February, Genscape reported 144,000 bbls/d moved by rail, about half of the 281,000 bbls/d it recorded in January.

The February slide was attributed to stronger prices in Alberta for Western Canadian Select bitumen blend crude due to Alberta government production curtailments — the rise made crude-by-rail exports comparatively less attractive.

The recovery comes as the difference between WCS and New York-traded West Texas Intermediate averaged US$12.95 per barrel in May, according to oil brokerage Net Energy Exchange. The differential was at US$13.40 on Wednesday afternoon.

Genscape says Western Canadian oil storage levels decreased by 2.6 million barrels between May 3 and May 31 after rising in both April and March. Storage was at 33.6 million barrels at the end of May compared with 37.1 million on Jan. 4.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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