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Oil Pipeline Transport Survey, 2015

Released: 2017-03-22

Canadian oil pipeline operating revenues rose 10.8% from 2014 to $5.9 billion in 2015, despite sharply lower oil prices and investment activity by Canadian producers.

The increase in pipeline revenue reflected the nature of the pipeline business, where tolls are charged for volumes carried. Overall, tolls were higher and pipelines carried 4.9% more volume in 2015, including an 18.1 million cubic metre increase in volumes exported, which explained the associated increase in revenues.

Canadian oil and gas companies produced 214.5 million cubic metres of oil (equal to about 1.3 billion barrels) in 2015 and exported 175.8 million cubic metres to non-Canadian destinations. Over 91% of those exports were carried by pipeline to the United States.

Canadian pipelines also delivered 60.6 million cubic metres of oil to Canadian refineries in 2015. Additionally, they imported 15.2 million cubic metres from the United States.

Operating cost rise in line with higher volumes, while debt up sharply

Operating costs increased 6.2% from 2014 to $2.5 billion and were in line with the higher volumes carried by the pipelines. Depreciation (up 12.4% to $898.4 million) and interest on long-term debt (up 6.1% to $611.7 million) also increased.

With respect to the balance sheet, pipeline companies reported total assets of $46.6 billion in 2015, up 2.2% from a year earlier. On the liabilities side, debt was up 50.7% from 2014 to $18.7 billion.

Employment edges up, while wages decline

To move this quantity of oil, Canadian pipeline companies employed 4,473 people in 2015, up 1.6% from a year earlier. Wages decreased 9.9% to $530.9 million.

Pipeline distances slightly higher

There were 28 431 kilometres of gathering pipeline and 17 901 kilometres of transmission pipeline in Canada in 2015, up 0.4% from a year earlier. Most of the new lines were built in Alberta.

The oil and gas industry in 2015

Global oil markets underwent significant change in 2015, resulting in a worldwide decline in oil prices.

Canadian markets were among those affected, with Canadian oil prices down almost 40% from 2014.

Canadian oil and gas producers adjusted to the new price environment by reducing spending. For example, in 2015, Canadian oil and gas producers reduced investment and cut capital spending by almost 35% from a year earlier.

In 2015, the International Energy Agency recognized Canada as the fourth largest oil producing nation, accounting for just over 5% of the world total.


  Note to readers

The Oil Pipeline Transport Survey is a census that collects data on the financial, employment and operating activities of gathering pipelines and transmission pipelines operating in Canada.

Gathering pipelines are regional systems that collect oil from fields and plants and then delivers these amounts to terminals and processing facilities including refineries.

Transmission pipelines collect oil from terminals and then deliver it to destinations, sometimes thousands of kilometres away.

The gathering pipelines in Canada are concentrated in major oil producing regions, for example the western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Canadian transmission pipelines deliver oil from the producing regions to major markets, primarily the United States and Eastern Canada.

Data available upon request.

Data for 2014 were revised.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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