Fort McMurray wildfire blamed for lowest level of domestic crude arriving at Canadian refineries since 1973

Canadian refineries received less domestic crude in May than any month in the previous 43 years, according to Statistics Canada, which attributes the dramatic drop to the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Refineries in Alberta and Ontario report biggest declines, while national crude imports grow 13%

A large fire burning behind trucks and trees at Fort McMurray
The Fort McMurray wildfire interrupted oil production in May, dragging domestic crude receipts at Canadian refineries to their lowest level since April 1973. (Terry Reith/CBC)

Canadian refineries received less domestic crude in May than any month in the previous 43 years, according to Statistics Canada, which attributes the dramatic drop to the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Refinery receipts of domestic crude fell to a mere 3.2 million cubic metres in May, the lowest monthly level since April 1973.

That's down 31.8 per cent from May 2015.

The two provinces with the most refining activity reported the largest declines in receipts of domestic crude, with Alberta refineries down 40.7 per cent and Ontario refineries down 36.9 per cent. 

At the same time, monthly crude oil imports increased 13 per cent, year over year, to 3.4 million cubic metres.

"Imports accounted for 51.1 per cent of total crude oil received at refineries in Canada in May, compared with an average of 32.6 per cent over the previous 12 months," Statistics Canada said in a release.

The amount of crude oil produced in Canada and arriving at Canadian refineries plunged in May 2016. (Statistics Canada)