Canadian exports of crude oil by rail fell only slightly in October from September, a rare period of stability in a year that’s included a record high month as well as one that saw an eight-year low.
The Canada Energy Regulator says rail shipments of oil in October amounted to 92,800 barrels a day, down from 94,440 b/d shipped in September, but off by two-thirds from 270,000 b/d in October, 2019.
Only 39,000 b/d were shipped in July, an eight-year low that was less than a tenth of the record 412,000 b/d moved by rail in February.
Rail transportation of crude oil is considered to be more expensive than shipping by pipeline so shippers tend to use it only when pipelines are full or if the destination market offers much higher prices than can be achieved in Canada.
The CER says the lower use of rail reflects changes in supply and demand balances owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall crude oil exports in October came to 3.58 million b/d, up from 3.37 million b/d in September, and down from 3.69 million b/d in October of last year, the CER reported.
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