Alberta’s government-enforced oil production cut will shrink to 225,000 b/d in April, after deflating a supply glut and supporting price increases since the restraint began in January.
The government on Thursday announced an April output quota of 3.66 million b/d, versus 3.63 million b/d for February and March and 3.56 million b/d in January, when the cut peaked at 325,000 b/d.
The government in December announced a reduction of 325,000 b/d off the province's oil production to begin Jan. 1, in an attempt to boost severely depressed prices blamed on a glut backing up behind stalled pipeline projects.
"We're giving it away for next to nothing," said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said at the time. "Every Albertan owns the energy resources in the ground, and we have a duty to defend those resources."
The provincial treasury stands to gain C$1.1 billion ($880 million) this year in royalties and taxes if the production cut hits its target of raising the average Alberta oil price by US$4.00/bbl.
Price discounts for the Alberta heavy oil benchmark grade, Western Canada Select (WCS), have narrowed as storage surpluses drop. Spring weather is expected to sprout a seasonal demand increase, said government officials.
WCS recently was trading at around US$45.30/bbl, or about 20% less than the US$56.95/bbl for the higher grade North American benchmark, West Texas Intermediate. The WCS discount was more than twice as deep before Alberta cut production. The main casualty was Canada’s top natural gas user, thermal oilsands production.