Crude-by-rail shipments hit a new record despite lower price discounts

CALGARY — The National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports from Canada reached a record high in December.

Canada exported nearly 354,000 barrels per day of oil, up seven per cent from November’s total of 330,400 bpd and the 152,000 bpd moved in December 2017.

On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced the province will invest $3.7 billion to move up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by rail by 2020 under deals with Canada’s two major railways.

Initial daily shipments of 20,000 barrels are expected to begin as early as July.

Full export pipelines have been blamed for a glut of oil in Western Canada last fall that led to large discounts for bitumen-blend Western Canadian Select crude compared with New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil.

Those differentials narrowed in early December when Alberta announced it would impose crude oil production curtailments starting Jan. 1.

Some producers have complained that the lower differentials make crude-by-rail shipments less profitable.

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