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Fossil fuels drive Canada’s position in the global energy market

Various fossil fuels account for almost 90 per cent of Canada’s energy production
Canadian production of unrefined crude bitumen rose in December 2018 and fossil fuel sources of various sorts accounted for almost 90 per cent of Canadian energy production. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

In December 2018 Canada produced 148.9 million barrels or 23.7 million cubic metres of crude oil and equivalent products. That represents an increase of 5.5 per cent from the same month a year earlier, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

Overall, Canadian production of crude oil and equivalent products totalled 264.6 million cubic metres in 2018, an increase of 8.5 from the previous year.

About 80 per cent of this production shipped to foreign markets, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year.

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Looking at specific types of products, unrefined crude bitumen accounted for 107.7 million (40.7 per cent) of total production in 2018, followed by synthetic crude oil (23.1 per cent) and light and medium crude oil (19.2 per cent). Heavy crude oil and equivalents made up the rest.

Overall, crude bitumen production makes up a growing share of Canadian production. Whereas the other categories have seen some increases, crude bitumen production has increased disproportionately, from 70.3 million cubic metres in 2014 to 107.7 million in 2018. By comparison, synthetic crude oil has risen from 55.3 million cubic metres in 2014 to 61.3 million in 2018.

Looking at the global picture, Canada is the fourth-largest producer and exporter of crude oil, as well as the fourth-largest producer and fifth-largest producer of natural gas, according to Natural Resources Canada (based on 2015 figures).

When combined, crude oil (44 per cent) and natural gas (34 per cent) account for 78 per cent of all energy produced in Canada (with uranium excluded). Including coal (seven per cent) and natural gas liquids (three per cent), various types of fossil fuels account for 88 per cent of Canadian energy production.

Hydro (seven per cent), nuclear (two per cent) and other renewable forms of energy (four per cent) make up the rest.

Overall, the energy sector accounts for almost 11 per cent of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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