Calgary

Oilsands GDP dips due to upgrader fire while oil-related services grow 9.9%

Canada's GDP related to the oilsands declined in March but that was largely due to a fire and explosion that disrupted an upgrader near Fort McMurray, according to Statistics Canada. Oil extraction services expanded for the ninth month in a row.

New figures from Statistics Canada show 9th month in a row of growth in drilling and rigging services

A fire that broke out at a Syncrude upgrader north of Fort McMurray halted production at the site in March. (Pete Potipcoe/Facebook)

Canada's GDP related to the oilsands declined in March but that was largely due to a fire and explosion that disrupted an upgrader near Fort McMurray, according to Statistics Canada.

New data released Wednesday shows the disruption helped push gross domestic product related to non-conventional oil extraction down by an annualized rate of 3.1 per cent for the month.

At the same time, though, support activities for the mining and oil and gas extraction sector grew by 9.9 per cent.

That marks the eighth consecutive month of growth in the support sector, which saw declines for most of 2015 and the first half of 2016.

The growth included increases in drilling and rigging services, Statistics Canada said.

Overall, Canada's economy expanded at an annual pace of nearly four per cent in the first quarter of 2017 — more than triple the rate of GDP growth in the United States over the same period.

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