This article was published by the Canada Energy Regulator on Oct. 14, 2020.
In recent years, despite increased crude oil production in the United States, Canada’s crude oil exports to the US have grown significantly.
Between 2010 and 2019, US crude oil production increased 123 per cent to 12.2 million barrels per day (MMb/d).(1) The boom in U.S. unconventional extraction methods led to a significant increase in domestic crude oil production from shale plays.
Over the same time period, Canada’s US crude oil exports increased from 1.9 MMb/d (21 per cent of total US crude oil imports) to 3.7 MMb/d (54 per cent of total US crude oil imports). This is partly because most of Canada’s crude oil exports are heavy oil, and refiners in the US have substantial heavy crude oil refining capacity. Venezuela and Mexico, two other producers that supply the US, experienced declining heavy oil production, leading to increased US demand for Canadian heavy oil.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant reductions in petroleum products consumption in the US As a result, Canada’s crude oil exports to the US dropped 11 per cent in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019. In comparison, crude oil exports to the US from the rest of the world dropped 20 per cent during the same time period. The decline in US crude oil imports was partly offset by a reduction crude oil production in the US during that time period.(2)