EIA shows oil sands saw major reserve writedown in 2016

Data shows oil sands reserves from 68 US-listed companies dropped by about 7.7 billion barrels.

June 13, 2017   by CP Staff

CALGARY — The US Energy Information Administration has highlighted how last year’s oil price drop brought on a massive writedown of high-cost Canadian oil sands reserves.

The EIA said in a brief June 12 that data from 68 US-listed companies shows their oil sands reserves dropped by a total of about 7.7 billion barrels, making up the vast majority of their 8.2-billion net reduction in commercially viable barrels globally.

The writedowns came after the West Texas Intermediate oil price averaged US$43.44 per barrel in 2016, down 11% from US$48.83 per barrel in 2015.

US-listed companies are required to use price averages for the past year in calculating reserves, while Canadian rules allow companies to use forward-looking prices.

Canada is estimated to have the third largest reserves of crude oil in the world at 171 billion barrels, with 166 billion of those barrels found in the oilsands.

The 68 US-listed companies were left with about 16 billion barrels of oilsands reserves following their downward revisions.

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