(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

Homemade snow

An RCMP officer in Fraser Lake tossed a cup of boiling water… Continue reading

Government warns of polluted Bulkley Valley air

Recent air quality alerts in the Bulkley Vally - including Burns Lake… Continue reading

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

‘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

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

B.C. high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

The Surrey team was also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

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

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

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

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

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Most Read