Oilpatch keeping the lid on spending amid record-setting output

CALGARY — Oil production in Alberta is at all-time record levels, but companies remain reluctant to increase capital spending budgets.

Statistics Canada says oil and gas capital spending over the first three quarters of 2021 was 32 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.

The industry also spent less than a third of what it did during the same period of 2014, when capital investment hit a record high.

This is in spite of the fact that oil prices this fall spiked to levels not seen in seven years. Oil production in Alberta in October was 119 million barrels, an all-time monthly record.

Experts say the oil and gas industry remains cautious about the future, in spite of the windfall brought about by prices this fall.

The arrival of the Omicron COVID-19 variant sent oil prices tumbling last week. Experts say that’s one example of the ongoing uncertainty affecting the industry and keeping a lid on spending.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2021

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