Inside Logistics

Canadian crude by rail exports surge back in March

Better oil production and amid limited export pipeline capacity for heavy oil contribute to rise


May 26, 2021
by The Canadian Press (CPSTF)

The Canada Energy Regulator says Canadian crude-by-rail exports bounced back in March due to better oil production amid limited export pipeline capacity for heavy oil.

It says exports rose 57 per cent to reach 175,580 barrels per day after 111,900 barrels per day were exported by rail in February.

Exports in both months are down from 195,500 bpd in January and 350,570 in March 2020.

Crude-by-rail numbers have been volatile in the past few years. Shipments reached a record 412,000 bpd in February 2020, then fell to an eight-year low of 39,000 bpd last July.

Rail transportation of crude oil is considered to be more expensive than shipping by pipeline so shippers tend to use it only when pipelines are full or if the destination market offers much higher prices than can be achieved in Canada.

The CER says total oil exports from Canada in March were 3.66 million barrels per day, down from 3.72 million bpd in February and 3.98 million bpd in March 2020.