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Alberta oil production 86.2% higher than it was in 2010

Oil production in Alberta in the first half of this year has surged higher than it was in 2019 before the disruption of the pandemic and the collapse of energy prices, analysts say.

Oilsands extraction accounts for most of the output

Oil production in Alberta over the first half of 2021 was the highest on record, averaging 3.53 million barrels per day between January and June, says ATB Economics. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Oil production in Alberta in the first half of this year has surged higher than it was in 2019 before the disruption of the pandemic and the collapse of energy prices, analysts say.

Production averaged 3.53 million barrels per day between January and June — 5.7 per cent higher than during the same period in 2020 and 1.8 per cent above the same period in 2019, said a release from ATB Economics on Wednesday.

The vast majority of that production — 86 per cent — is accounted for by oilsands extraction.

"On the oilsands side, we're seeing facilities that have been potentially underutilized over the last two, two and a half years run up on the production capacity. That's really what's driving the numbers," said Kevin Birn, vice president of Canadian crude oil markets for the research and analysis firm IHS Markit.

The upswing is the continuation of a long-term trend, with production now 86.2 per cent higher than it was in 2010, ATB Economics said.

Alberta oil production over the first six months of 2021 was 5.7 per cent higher than during the same period in 2020, says ATB Economics. (ATB Economics)

The amount of oil being exported from Alberta to other provinces, and other countries, is also on the rise — up by four per cent over the first half of 2021 compared with the same period the year before, and 1.7 per cent higher than in 2019.

With both production and prices higher than they were in 2020, the dollar value of international crude oil exports from Alberta was up $9.7 billion — 36.8 per cent higher over the first six months of 2021, ATB Economics said. 

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