One thing I regularly see on social media is claims that Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberal party are trying to destroy Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Recently, while seeing a preponderance of such claims, I thought I’d look into this claim to see how accurate it really is.
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Statistics Canada tracks various metrics regarding the oil industry in each province, including crude oil production. As of this writing, the data is only as recent as August 2022 and goes back to only 2016.
First, let’s start with oil production.
In August, Statistics Canada reported that Alberta had produced 115.89 million barrels of crude oil. The previous August, Alberta had produced 109.47 million barrels. That means that over the past year, crude oil production in Alberta increased by 6.42 million barrels or 5.86%.
However, in January 2016, just 3 months after the Liberals won the 2015 federal election and Trudeau became prime minister, Alberta was producing just 93.85 million barrels of crude.
So, not only has Alberta’s crude oil production increased by 6.42 million barrels over the last year, but production has increased by more than 22 million barrels during nearly the entire time Trudeau has been in office. That’s an increase of 23.49%.
Here’s a look at crude oil production every month between January 2016 and August 2022.
There sure are a lot of peaks and valleys in this graph, but it’s pretty clear that production has trended upward over the last 6.5 years.
Now onto exports.
Statistics Canada reported that Alberta had exported 106.64 million barrels of crude oil in August. A year before, Alberta had exported 101.496 million barrels. That means that over the past year, crude oil exports from Alberta increased by 5.14 million barrels or 5.07%.
That’s a similar percentage increase to what Alberta saw in production over the last year.
In January 2016, however, Alberta exported 12.69 million barrels of crude. That’s an increase of 93.95 million, or a whopping 740.49%!
In other words, since Trudeau took office, Alberta’s crude oil exports have increased by nearly 100 million barrels.
Now, there is a huge caveat here.
As of January 2020, Statistics Canada changed the methodology they used for reporting exports of crude oil by pipeline. These volumes are now allocated to the province where the product was loaded, as opposed to before when they were allocated based on the province of clearance at the Canada – United States border.
Here, take a look at this chart.
See that gigantic jump. This makes it tough to compare January 2016 and August 2022.
But we can do is compare January 2016 and December 2019, the last month before the jump.
In December 2019, Alberta exported 21.796 million barrels of oil, an increase of 9.11 million barrels over the previous 4 years, or 71.79%.
So even under the old system of reporting, Alberta’s exports were increasing.
After the switch in methodology, exports have remained fairly stable, starting at 105.72 million barrels in January 2020 and 106.64 million in August 2022. That’s an increase of just 0.92 million barrels, or 0.87%.
Of course, during that time, there was a huge drop in exports, as seen in the graph, at the beginning of the pandemic, but they have since recovered and even hit a high of 111.91 million barrels last December.
If Trudeau is destroying Alberta’s oil industry, he seems to be doing a pretty crappy job of it.