Canadian Natural Resources Limited says changes in the curtailment of oil in the province will allow them to keep their pipeline operating. On Wednesday the province announced that the formula for the curtailment program would change in response to new storage data. The government says the new mark is set at 3.63 million barrels per day between February and March, which is a 75,000-barrel per day increase from the January limit of 3.56 million barrels per day.
Premier Rachel Notley says the reduction is a necessary hardship to keep the oil prices where they should be.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, but this temporary measure is working. While it hasn’t been easy, companies big and small have stepped up to help us work through this short-term crisis while we work on longer-term solutions, like our investment in rail and our continued fight for pipelines.”
CNRL had said in a January 22nd letter to contractors that the original production allowance wouldn’t allow them to operate their ECHO pipeline, which sends heavy crude from the Lakeland to Hardisty. A shutdown of the pipeline would have resulted in the loss of an estimated 500 to 1000 jobs.
On Friday, CNRL Public Affairs Member Julie Woo Confirmed that the pipeline can resume normal operation after the Wednesday announcement.
“Following the Government of Alberta’s announcement of production limits easing for February and March 2019, Canadian Natural’s curtailment volume for February 2019 will be reduced. With this increase in allowable production, Canadian Natural will be able to maintain production at levels to safely operate the ECHO pipeline. Keeping the ECHO pipeline and associated heavy oil production operating means that we will be protecting up to 2,400 jobs for contractors and service providers in the region.”
Since the production limit was announced in December 2018, storage levels of crude in Alberta have dropped ahead of schedule, declining by five million barrels to a total of 30 million barrels in storage.