Market Snapshot: Canadian crude oil exports hit record in 2015 led by higher deliveries to the U.S. Gulf Coast

Release date: 2016-04-22

Canadian crude oil production and exports have grown steadily over the past decade. In 2015, annual average crude oil export volumes reached a new record of 3.05 million barrels per day (MMb/d).Footnote 1 Nearly all of Canada’s exports go to the United States (U.S.),Footnote 2 which is still the world’s largest consumer of crude oil.

Canada is the largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the U.S., accounting for 43 per cent of total U.S. imports in 2015. While the shale oil boom has resulted in U.S. supply growing by nearly four MMb/d since 2010, and an overall decrease in U.S. imports, most of this has been in light crude oil. In Canada, most supply growth over the same period has been in heavy crude from the oil sands, and U.S. demand for heavy crude imports has remained strong.

Figure Source and Description

Source: NEB

Description: This stacked bar chart shows Canadian crude oil exports by destination from 2006-2016. Total exports have grown steadily over this period, from 1.8 MMb/d in 2006 to 3.05 MMb/d in 2015. Nearly all exports are to the U.S., with the Midwest (PADD II) receiving nearly two thirds of total deliveries. Exports to the Gulf Coast (PADD III) have increased significantly in the past two years and now account for nearly 13 per cent of total exports.

The U.S. Midwest region (PADD II)Footnote 3 remains by far the largest market for Canadian exports, comprising nearly two thirds, or 1.92 MMb/d, of total exports in 2015. Export volumes to this region have increased by 56 per cent since 2010, supported by increased refining capacity and new and expanded pipelines.

The U.S. Gulf Coast region (PADD III) is one of the largest refining centres in the world and a major prospective market for western Canadian heavy oil exports. Between 2013 and 2015, deliveries to this region have more than tripled to an average of 390 Mb/d, and now account for nearly 13 per cent of total exports. This has been enabled by the establishment of major new U.S. pipelines between the mid-continent and the Gulf Coast.

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