According to The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)’s 2014 Crude Oil Forecast, oil sands are expected to drive oil production growth to 2030. Canadian oil production is projected to grow by an annual average of 4% (or 175,000 barrels) per day from now until then. That’s a significant and steady increase, and companies are starting to develop oil sands in response to the strong demand indications from the North American and global energy markets.
CAPP’s most recent forecast predicts that the total Canadian crude oil production will increase to 6.4 million barrels per day from 3.5 million barrels per day just last year in 2013. CAPP’s vice-president, Greg Stringham, says that because global demand for oil keeps increasing, Canada’s big reserves make it an attractive supply source not only for American markets, but also for markets beyond that. So naturally, their key priority is connecting Canadian supplies to these markets safely and competitively; when oil production increases, so does the need for more transportation. The projected growth in production depends on it. There are a lot of projects in different stages of implementation that address the transportation issue, and others are being considered – for example, pipelines to the East and West in Canada, and South to the United States.
While pipelines still remain the primary mode of transportation for large crude oil volumes, the Keystone XL delay has allowed for more capacity from railways, barges and tankers. The construction of the new loading/unloading facilities also allows for existing rail lines to be more flexible when it comes to delivering to multiple destinations.
The full forecast period to 2030 includes oil sands remaining the primary growth driver. Conventional oil production in Western Canada stays stable at 1.5 million barrels per day, while Eastern Canadian offshore production declines to about 90,000 barrels per day. CAPP’s full 2014 forecast can be found here.