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Updated May 2022

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Total Production

Total combined in situ and mined bitumen production increased by 9.3 per cent in 2021 to 517.6 thousand cubic metres per day (103 m3/d) or 3257.2 thousand barrels per day (103 bbl/d) (see Table S3.1).

The positive momentum is expected to carry over to 2022 as public health restrictions continue to be eased and oil prices improve. By 2031, total bitumen production is forecast to increase to 654.7 103 m3/d (4120.0 103 bbl/d).

Alberta crude bitumen production highlights

Market Conditions

Global crude oil demand rebounded significantly throughout 2021 as governments eased public health measures and vaccines for the COVID-19 virus were made available. Concurrently, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained a modest pace of relaxing production constraints, supporting a significant recovery in crude oil prices. Geopolitical tension in Eastern Europe has exacerbated the imbalance between supply and demand in early 2022, leading to elevated crude oil prices.

Emerging Trends

Oil sands producers will continue to find ways to optimize their operations, which may lead to further consolidation. Large companies with specialized knowledge and ample access to capital can reduce costs, maximize their production capacity, and bring new projects to life with more flexibility.

The availability and allocation of capital among oil sands companies will increasingly be affected by environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment considerations. A growing number of oil sands producers have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions for their operations over the coming decades. This focus on the ESG aspect of projects will shift capital investment towards lower-emission projects and technology, such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage.