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Oil Market Even Tighter As 500,000 Bpd Come Offline In Canada

Maintenance at three oil sands upgraders in Canada will take off some 500,000 bpd in production offline, helping tighten supply amid a price rally, Bloomberg reports.

Canadian Natural Resources, Suncor Energy, and Syncrude will all idle an upgrader each, taking off 250,000 bpd, 130,000 bpd, and 70,000 bpd, respectively, from total oil sands production.

The maintenance coincides with OPEC+’s decision to leave its production level almost unchanged, save for a concession of 130,000 bpd for Russia and 20,000 bpd for Kazakhstan.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, said it will continue cutting 1 million bpd unilaterally this month as well, even though earlier there were reports it was going to end it as planned. Now, the Kingdom said it will keep cutting this month and next.

“At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I would once again urge caution and vigilance,” the Saudi Energy Minister told media at the meeting.

“Before we take our next step forward, let us be certain the glimmer we see ahead is not the headlight of an oncoming express train,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.

Yet the official also noted the oil cartel is keeping an eye on non-members too.

“The U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, Brazil and other well endowed countries with hydrocarbon reserves -- we need to work with each other, collaboratively,” he said, as quotes by Bloomberg.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and OPEC+ negotiator Alexander Novak said the oil market was in much better shape, as per a Financial Times report, but noted that the pandemic still presented a big uncertainty.

The oil sands cut will be temporary but, according to the industry itself, even when the three companies resume operations at their upgraders, there is little upward production growth pressure in Canadian oil sands. It seems emission reduction is a bigger priority for oil sands operators than production growth.

“I can’t see much growth in the oil sands happening because there is going to be less demand in the future,” Canadian Natural Resources chief executive Tim McKay told Bloomberg. “The first step is we have to get our carbon footprint down.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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