Premier Jason Kenney gave the estimate in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday. It’s about triple the estimate delivered weeks ago by Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
About 300,000 barrels a day of unused capacity exists in the North American pipeline system, which should be filled this year through higher output, Kenney said. Another 200,000 barrels of crude oil could be shipped by rail and “if midstream companies get serious about it, and if regulators approve it,” a further 400,000 barrels could be added through pipeline reversals and technical improvements.
Boosting Canada’s oil output by that amount would not happen quickly. Canada exported about 3.9 million barrels a day of crude oil to the US in the first two months of the year, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration — the bulk of the country’s production.
By 2024, the completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to British Columbia will give Canada even more capacity to ship oil to the US, Kenney said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “My point is, let’s be visionary about this. Let’s have a North American energy alliance, and let’s get another major pipeline done because we’ve got the third-largest reserves on Earth up in Alberta,” he said.
Energy producers can raise shipments of crude by 200,000 barrels a day and natural gas by the equivalent of 100,000 barrels by year-end by accelerating planned projects to expand output to help compensate for the loss of Russian supply, Wilkinson said at a March 24 press conference in Paris.