Updated June 2021
Within this section
Production: Raw bitumen production declined by 4 per cent in 2020 to 473.7 thousand cubic metres per day (103 m3/d), or 2981 thousand barrels per day (103 bbl/d). This was the first decline in total bitumen production since the global financial crisis of 2008. Mined and in situ bitumen production declined to 236.5 103 m3/d and 237.2 103 m3/d respectively, or a 4 per cent decrease for each relative to 2019.
By 2030, total raw bitumen production is forecast to increase to 641.9 103 m3/d, or 4039 103 bbl/d. The anticipated pace of production growth over the forecast is slower than what it has been over the past decade. Future production growth is supported by the removal of production limits, improving market conditions, and increased transportation takeaway capacity. Continued consolidation of operators and the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria will also impact future production growth.
Number of wells: Following production trends, the number of producing wells decreased by 6 per cent, to 11 177 in 2020. Fewer wells were observed across all bitumen production methods.
Demand: Total Alberta refinery demand (including upgraded and nonupgraded bitumen plus crude oil and pentanes plus) was 80.7 103 m3/d (507.8 103 bbl/d) in 2020. Marketable bitumen (upgraded and nonupgraded bitumen) accounted for 74 per cent of total Alberta refinery demand, at 59.8 103 m3/d (or 376.3 103 bbl/d). The remaining marketable bitumen was removed from the province. Alberta demand for marketable bitumen is expected to increase over the first couple of years in the forecast and then to remain steady with consistent refinery throughputs. Removals are projected to increase throughout the forecast period.