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Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg on March 23, 2014.

JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

Canadian exports of crude oil by rail jumped 87 per cent in November as oil production rose in Western Canada amid limited pipeline capacity for heavy crude.

The Canada Energy Regulator says rail shipments of oil amounted to 173,000 barrels per day, up about 80,000 bpd from 92,800 barrels per day in October.

That’s down from 302,300 barrels per day shipped by rail in November 2019.

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Crude-by-rail numbers have been volatile in the past year, with shipments rising to a record 412,000 bpd last February, then falling to an eight-year low of 39,000 bpd in July.

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 overall Canadian crude oil exports in November came to 3.74 million bpd, up by almost five per cent from 3.57 million bpd in October.

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