Canada has a strong refining industry but processes only a fraction of its own crude oil production, according to the National Energy Board’s (NEB) inaugural Canadian Refinery Overview – Energy Market Assessment report.
The refinery overview states that only 30 per cent of Canadian crude oil is processed by Canadian refineries. This is mainly due to the size of Canada’s refining industry compared to the resource size, the location of its refineries and the lack of cross-country pipeline connectivity.
Most of the refineries in Canada, built when there were abundant supplies of light crude oil, were not configured to process growing volumes of heavy crude oil from the oil sands. As a result, significant volumes of crude oil, mostly light, is imported to Central and Eastern Canadian refineries.
Canada’s production of refined petroleum products, which includes gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil, is primarily for domestic consumption, with some exports mainly from Atlantic Canadian refineries.
Although Canadian refineries are processing more Canadian crude than ever before, Central and Eastern Canadian refineries will still import crude oil to meet their refining needs.
(National Energy Board)