Updated May 2022
Figure S4.6 shows the demand history and forecast for Alberta refineries and removal of crude oil.
The economy has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside oil prices. This is supported by higher demand for refined products, such as gasoline and jet fuel, during the resurgence of service industries, including transportation. Alberta's demand for crude oil increased from 17.4 thousand cubic metres per day (103 m3/d), or 109.2 thousand barrels per day 103 bbl/d, in 2020 to 17.9 103 m3/d (112.7 103 bbl/d) in 2021.
Figure S4.7 shows Alberta's operating refineries in 2021 had an estimated total combined throughput of 81.9 103 m3/d (515.4 103 bbl/d) of crude oil equivalent, representing a utilization rate of 95 per cent for throughput to refinery capacity.
The total throughput consisted of
- 23 per cent crude oil and pentanes,
- 64 per cent synthetic crude oil, and
- 13 per cent nonupgraded bitumen.
Forecast for 2022 to 2031
As the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, so will the demand for oil. Alberta's demand for crude oil is projected to increase to 18.2 103 m3/d (114.5 103 bbl/d) in 2022 and remain constant to 2031. Without new refineries or significant refinery expansions, Alberta demand is expected to remain relatively unchanged with consistent refinery throughputs; removals are projected to increase throughout the forecast period.
In 2021, 74 per cent (69.6 103 m3/d [437.7 103 bbl/d]) of the total crude oil produced was removed from the province. The oil not refined in Alberta refineries was assumed to eventually be removed from Alberta. In 2021, total oil removed (upgraded and nonupgraded bitumen plus crude oil and pentanes plus) was 559.2 103 m3/d (3.5 106 bbl/d), with crude oil accounting for about 9 per cent (51.6 103 m3/d [325.0 103 bbl/d]).
Forecast for 2022 to 2031
By 2025, crude oil removals from Alberta are expected to increase by an average of 6 per cent to 64.4 103 m3/d (405.3 103 bbl/d) and then decline to 57.9 103 m3/d (364.6 103 bbl/d) by 2031. This trend aligns with the crude oil production forecast and no new refineries or significant expansions to Alberta crude oil demand.
By 2031, total oil removals are expected to increase to 718.5 103 m3/d (4.5 106 bbl/d), while the share of crude oil removals is expected to fall to about 8 per cent owing to continued growth in nonupgraded bitumen production. Pipeline takeaway capacities are projected to increase during the forecast period to support increased total oil production and removals.