CALGARY – The National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports from Canada rose to a record 229,544 barrels per day in August.
That’s up more than 11 per cent from 206,624 bpd in July and 91 per cent from just under 120,000 bpd in August 2017.
Pipeline export constraints are being blamed for a glut of oil in Western Canada that have caused the price discount to peak at more than US$50 per barrel for Western Canadian Select oilsands blend versus New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Last week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called on Ottawa to work to increase capacity for oil on rail as a “short- to medium-term” solution to improve market access, arguing the low prices are hurting governments as well as producers.
Canada’s railroads have been reluctant to add locomotives and crews to move oil unless producers sign long-term contracts because they fear those customers will disappear as soon as pipeline capacity, considered to be cheaper and safer, is available.
Oilsands producer Cenovus Energy Inc. announced recently it had signed long-term deals to move 100,000 bpd of its own heavy crude oil on Canadian railways to the U.S. Gulf Coast to be refined.