Infrastructure and Transportation

Vessels in the ocean, Gas Sea Rose Transport
Canada's oil and natural gas producers continue to build new markets for their expanding production. Product is transported three ways: pipeline, marine transport and rail.

Canada’s oil and natural gas producers strive to gain access to new markets for their expanding production. Product is safely transported three ways: pipeline, marine transport and rail.

Diversifying our markets is vital to ensure Canada receives full value for its natural resources. New market opportunities include Eastern Canada, the U.S. and growing economies in Asia.

Oil

Canada’s growing oil supply is expected to exceed existing transport capacity, requiring pipeline expansions and new pipelines to access new and existing markets.

  • Atlantic Canada imported 333 thousand barrels per day (b/d) in 2017. (Source: Statistics Canada, 2017)
  • The West Coast is a critical outlet for Canadian oil to reach customers in Asian markets.
  • Even with increased domestic supply, the U.S. will need oil imports to meet its energy demands. As long as the U.S. is importing oil, Canada is the best supplier.
Canada’s oil industry is well-positioned to meet global energy demand

Canadian Oil Imports 

 
Oil imports 2017
(Source: Statistics Canada)

Natural gas

Traditional markets for western Canadian natural gas are changing. Although recently (2013-2017), exports to the U.S., Canada's only export market for natural gas, increased by three per cent, overall exports to the U.S. have dropped 19 per cent over the past 10 years. 

Canada's industry is exploring new markets for Canadian natural gas. Several liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals have been proposed on Canada's West Coast. Asian energy demand continues to grow, with China's demand for natural gas growing five per cent annually.

Pipelines

Today, Canada has limited pipeline infrastructure to move oil and natural gas across the country and into the United States.

As a result of strong growth in the U.S. and Canadian oil and natural gas production, pipeline capacity is becoming constrained, requiring new pipelines and pipeline expansions to provide access to new markets. But pipelines are a critical part of Canada’s oil and natural gas infrastructure. Often called an energy superhighway, pipelines are a reliable and safe way to transport liquids, such as oil and water, and natural gas from areas of development all the way to refineries, petrochemical plants and even to our homes and businesses for use.

Click here to see the 2018 map of Canadian and U.S. crude oil pipelines and refineries

(Source: NEB)

Marine

Each year, almost 550 million barrels of oil are safely transported along Canada's East and West Coasts via tanker. Oil tankers currently represent about two per cent of total ship traffic visiting Port Metro Vancouver. (Source: Transport Canada)

Asia's fast-growing economies require new sources of energy and Asian markets are an eight day to an 11-day sail from proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on Canada's West Coast - two days closer than most of our international competitors.

Rail

Without new pipelines, every new barrel of oil will move by rail. In 2017, about 140,000 b/d of oil - or about three per cent of Western Canada's supply - were moved by rail. As of July 2018, more than 200,000 b/d are being moved on Canada's railways, according to the National Energy Board.

Canadian oil producers support rail safety measures and will continue to work with service providers and Transport Canada to ensure the safe delivery of product. 

A map of Canada and the United States showing where the rail ways are located.

(Source: Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Limited)

Learn more about emergency preparedness for rail incidents involving flammable liquids in Canada.

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