(Canadian Press)

Alberta cuts oil production to help deal with low prices

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says as of January there will be an 8.7 per cent reduction ordered in oil production

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is ordering a mandatory cut in oil production to deal with a price crisis that she says is costing Canada an estimated $80 million a day.

Notley says as of January there will be an 8.7 per cent reduction ordered in oil production.

Output of raw crude oil and bitumen will be reduced by 325,000 barrels per day. That figure is expected to shrink as a glut of oil in storage is reduced.

The mandated cut ends on Dec. 31, 2019 and will be spread among all producers in an effort to stave off massive job losses.

READ MORE: Alberta buying its own rail cars to move oil

Notley says the action is necessary to reverse the widening price differential that she said could cause further harm to Alberta’s economy if not addressed immediately.

Alberta’s oil is selling at markedly lower rates compared with the North American benchmark, due in part to oil pipeline bottlenecks.

“In the last few weeks, this price gap has reached historic highs because we are producing considerably more product than there is transport capacity,” Notley said in a speech timed to run live on supper-hour newscasts in Alberta.

“This is creating a huge backlog and forcing the price of our oil to ridiculously low levels…. We are essentially giving our oil away for free.”

Roughly speaking, Notley said, while the rest of the world sells its oil at about $50 per barrel, Alberta fetches only $10.

READ MORE: Oil and gas commission investigating earthquakes in northeast B.C.

The announcement is expected to narrow the differential by at least $4 per barrel and add an estimated $1.1 billion to government revenues in 2019-2020.

The premier has already said the province will buy as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers — expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars — to move the province’s excess oil to markets, with the first shipments expected in late 2019.

But she has said that rail cars, along with eventually increasing domestic refining capacity and building new pipelines, won’t bring relief soon enough.

“We must act immediately,” Notley said Sunday.

The Opposition United Conservatives and the centrist Alberta Party had already called for the production cut. Notley thanked them both in her speech.

Industry feelings prior to the announcement had been mixed.

Cenovus Energy proposed the idea of a production cut last month. However, Imperial and Husky said Friday they remain opposed to involuntary production cuts.

The move is not unprecedented — in 1980, Tory premier Peter Lougheed forced oil production cuts to protest the federal Liberals’ national energy program.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Eckville Atom 1 Eagles on to zone finals

The Eagles defeated Millet 9-5 to push them through to the final round of provincial playdowns

WATCH: Ice racing on Sylvan Lake draws a crowd

The Alberta Oval Ice Racing championship series was held in Sylvan Lake over the Family Day weekend

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

4,400 leased railway cars will move up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Alberta earns three medals in Long Track Speed Skating

Alberta now has 16 medals (6-5-5) and currently sits in second place of the medal standings

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Most Read