Oil sands production in Canada expected to significantly increase over the next 15 years

Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) continues to forecast significant growth in Canadian crude oil production over the next 15 years, driven largely by oil sands

"CAPP's 2010 Crude Oil Forecast reaffirms the trend of continued long term production growth in Canada," said Greg Stringham, vice-president of markets and oil sands at CAPP. "While the economic downturn in 2009 saw many projects deferred, a stabilizing investment climate, more robust commodity prices and market demand for Canadian crude have provided the foundation for several projects to return to active development." 

CAPP projects that total Canadian crude oil production, including oil sands will be 2.8 million barrels of oil a day (mmbopd) in 2010, 3.3 mmbopd in 2015, 3.9 mmbopd in 2020 and 4.3 mmbopd in 2025. Production from oil sands alone is expected to reach 1.5 mmbopd in 2010, 2.2 mmbopd in 2015, 2.9 mmbopd in 2020 and 3.5 mmbopd in 2015. 

CAPP's 2009 forecast projected some oil sands projects would be deferred rather than cancelled. Project decisions since that time have largely confirmed this projection. CAPP's 2010 forecast exhibits a rate of growth consistent with last year's forecast. In 2010, the economic climate has recovered somewhat and some companies are now actively developing phases of their projects previously placed on hold. The pull back of capital spending last year had a limited impact on production growth over the short term, as companies that had already invested in the process continued to move forward. 

While not yet having a material impact on CAPP's production outlook there is an emerging expectation that new technologies being implemented in challenging conventional oil reservoirs, such as horizontal multi-stage fracturing, will enable more of these reserves to be produced. 

"Canada's oil and gas industry continues to develop and implement new technologies to better address the challenges of producing oil from more difficult reserves and continuing to reduce environmental impacts," said Stringham. 

The forecast is based on an annual survey of producers conducted by CAPP to determine planned production of crude oil through 2025. CAPP used this data along with other inputs from producer companies to prepare its annual forecast and illustrate production growth. 

For illustrative purposes, the forecast includes an Operating and Construction case that considers only projects currently in operation or under construction and does not include any planned future oil sands investment and construction. 

The CAPP forecast also breaks out production values by extraction method and tracks the amount of domestic upgrading. In 2009, 45 per cent of all raw bitumen production from the oil sands was derived from in situ recovery and 55 per cent was attributable to mining operations. Starting in 2017, production from in situ projects will account for the majority. In 2009, 62 per cent of bitumen was upgraded in Alberta which remains consistent over the forecast period.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce about 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a $110-billion-a-year national industry that provides essential energy products. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.

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