Canada oil exports increase 24% under Trudeau

At this rate, it’s going to be tough for Canada to meet its climate change commitments.

Statistics Canada recently released energy statistics for October 2022, and I thought I’d take a look at how the oil industry has fared while Justin Trudeau has been in office.

Keep in mind that the data Statistics Canada keeps track of goes back to only January 2016, about 2.5 months following the election when Trudeau’s Liberals unseated the Stephen Harper Conservatives. So, I can’t compare, for example, growth or decline under Trudeau with performance under Harper.

With that disclaimer on the table, let’s take a look.

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In October 2022, the most recent month we have data for, Canada exported 118.37 million barrels of crude oil and equivalents. At the beginning of this dataset, in January 2016, exports were 103.39 million.

That’s an increase of 14.5%.

But that gives only part of the story. You see, the next month, February 2016, exports fell to 92.72 million barrels, and by June, they were down to 83.88 million barrels.

Here, look for yourself.

By the time Trudeau had been in power for 8 months, oil exports had dropped by 18.9%, or at least for the first 6 months of 2016 anyhow. For every 5 barrels of oil we shipped in January, 1 fewer was being shipped in June.

But as you can see from the graph above, that decline was shortlived, and exports began to climb. There were a few setbacks, but they were brief, and the overall trend over the next 3.5 years was an upward one.

Unsurprisingly, we saw a decline in early 2020, as oil prices tanked and the pandemic hit, but even that was only 6 months or so, before exports were on the rise again.

Here’s another way to look at these numbers: exports per month on average for each year. This helps modulate the volatility of the month-to-month market and give us a broader sense of growth and decline.

Even with those drops in the early half of 2016, the year still managed to finish out with a monthly average export of just shy of 95 million barrels of crude oil and equivalent.

And by 2022, that monthly average had increased to just over 117 million barrels, a jump of 22.5 million barrels, or 23.8%.

The vast majority of that oil, went to the United States.

In January 2016, 98.33% of all crude oil and equivalent exports out of Canada went to the States. This past October, it was 98.65%. And in between that time, it varied between 94.81% and 100%, depending on the month. In fact, there were 8 months where it hit 100%.

We see something similar with oil production as well.

A decline in the first 6 months, an upward trend for 3.5 years, a decline for the first half of 2020, then a recovery in the remaining 2 years or so.

Canada produce 117.44 million barrels of crude oil in January 2016. By October 2022, that number had increased by nearly 21 million to 138.42 million barrels, a jump of 17.9%.

And here’s how much crude oil Canada produced on average each month, by year.

The monthly average increase by 20.9% from 109.8 million barrels in 2016 to 132.7 million barrels during the first 10 months of last year.

Finally, here’s a look at bitumen production, the primary crude product that is extracted in Alberta.

An overall upward trend once again.

Same goes for the monthly average.

It’s weird to see that crude oil exports are up, crude oil production is up, and bitumen production is up. I thought Justin Trudeau is trying to destroy the oil and gas sector. For someone who is supposed to be serious about fighting climate change, he has a funny way of showing it.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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