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Updated June 2021


Rising in situ production volumes over the last couple of decades mirror a growing count of bitumen wells. However, since 2015 the number of producing bitumen wells has generally been on a downward trend. In 2020, there were 11 177 producing bitumen wells, or 6 per cent fewer than in 2019 (Figure S3.4).

Production by Recovery Method

For in situ production volume in 2020,

  • 76 per cent was from steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations,
  • 14 per cent was from cyclic steam stimulation (CSS), and
  • 10 per cent was from primary recovery and nonthermal recovery methods.

Compared to 2019 levels of production, in 2020,

  • SAGD production decreased by 2 per cent, to 179.7 thousand cubic metres per day (103 m3/d) or 1131 thousand barrels per day (103 bbl/d),
  • CSS production decreased by 3 per cent, to 34.0 103 m3/d (214 103 bbl/d), and
  • primary and nonthermal production fell by 15 per cent to 23.5 103 m3/d (148 103 bbl/d).

Figure S3.5 shows in situ bitumen production by recovery method.

Well Productivity

The average annual productivity of all in situ bitumen wells increased by 2 per cent in 2020, to 21.2 103 m3/d Although the count of producing wells dropped across all recovery methods, an increased productivity in SAGD wells led to an increase in total in situ productivity. SAGD wells are typically larger in scale and have a more consistent production compared with CSS or primary wells.

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