Market Snapshot: Energy’s Share of Canadian Exports Growing Again

Release date: 2017-09-20

Over the last 30 years, the total value of Canadian exports has increased seven-fold, from $95 billion in the first quarter of 1987 to $664 billion in the first quarter of 2017. During this time period, the value of energy exports grew by an even greater amount, increasing ten-fold from $10.4 billion to $100.8 billion.

Correspondingly, energy’s share of total Canadian exports grew from 11% in 1987 to over 15% in the first quarter of 2017. Energy joined the services and consumer goods sectors, which increased their share over the last three decades, while forestry products and building materials, and motor vehicles and parts, saw their share decrease between these dates.

Figure 1.

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada

Description: This area graph shows the value of Canadian exports from 1987 to 2017. The share and value of energy exports increased over the period 1987 – 2014. The share of energy exports decreased from nearly 25% in early 2014 to 10% in 2016. Since early 2016 both the share and value of energy exports have been increasing.

Canada’s energy exports also changed in composition from 1987 to 2017. Most prominently, the share of natural gas exports reached a high of nearly 60% in early 2001 but decreased to the 13% range from 2012-2017. The decreased share of natural gas exports corresponds to widespread adoption of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which led to the development of previously uneconomic tight and shale resources in the United States (U.S.) and reduced demand for Canadian gas exports. At the same time, Canadian crude oil production and exports increased in response to new technology and infrastructure as well as a period of higher oil prices.

Figure 2.

Source and Description

Source: Statistics Canada

Description: The stacked area chart illustrates the shares of different energy products exported by Canada from 1987 to 2017. In 1987 crude oil and bitumen accounted for about 40% of energy exports, natural gas and natural gas liquids accounted for about 30%, electricity 12%, refined petroleum products (RPPs) 6%, and other energy products, which includes coal and wood fuel, accounted for 12%. By 2017, crude oil and bitumen accounted for 70% of total energy exports, natural gas and natural gas liquids accounted for 12%, electricity 3%, refined petroleum products 9%, and other energy products 6%.

Although the drop in oil prices at the end of 2014 decreased the value of Canadian energy exports substantially, crude oil continued to account for around 70% of value of total exports between 2014 and 2017. This is largely because oil export volumes continued to increase despite lower oil prices.

 

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