Crude oil production lowest in two years: report

``Perfect storm'' of events cut average production to 3.98 million barrels of oil a day in May.

CALGARY — A report by Barclays says Canada’s crude oil production last month is estimated to be the lowest it has been in almost two years.

While companies have yet to release production numbers, the British bank says a “perfect storm” of events including wildfires and upgrader maintenance in Alberta are expected to have cut average national production to 3.98 million barrels of oil a day in May after peaking at an average of 4.59 million barrels a day in January.

The report says Royal Dutch Shell, Canadian Oil Sands and Suncor Energy are thought to be conducting or have already completed multi-week turnarounds at upgraders, removing some production.

On May 23, a wildfire near Cold Lake in Alberta shut down an estimated 233,000 barrels a day of production from Cenovus Energy’s Foster Creek project and Canadian Natural Resources’ Primrose and Kirby South operations.

The risk of news fires starting in the area has, however, been downgraded from extreme to moderate.

Looking more long term, Barclays estimates that since oil prices dropped producers have delayed a million barrels a day worth of projects that were expected online by 2030. Roughly 300,000 barrels a day of that production was expected to be online by 2020, but the bank now thinks that only 200,000 barrels a day of new production will be ready.

The bank expects Canada’s production to be above 4.5 million barrels a day by the end of the year as new projects come online.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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