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Imperial reported moving 80,000 bpd by rail in June.JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

The Canada Energy Regulator says exports of crude oil by rail from Canada fell slightly in August to 310,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 313,000 b/d in July.

The August number is up 35 per cent from 230,000 b/d reported in August, 2018, but still well below the record high of 354,000 b/d set last December.

The small change in crude-by-rail shipments came despite a threat by Imperial Oil Ltd. chief executive Rich Kruger to throttle back the company’s rail movements in August and September to protest the continuing Alberta oil-production curtailment program.

He says the program damages the economic case for crude-by-rail by artificially lowering the difference in oil prices between Alberta and the end market on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Imperial reported moving 80,000 b/d by rail in June. It co-owns an oil-shipping rail terminal at Edmonton with capacity to load 210,000 barrels of crude a day.

Alberta has gradually eased the curtailment program designed to better align production with tight pipeline capacity from an initial withholding of about 325,000 b/d last January to 125,000 b/d in September.

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