CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Western Canadian crude inventories declined in June, energy information provider Genscape said on Monday, in line with a seasonal decrease in supply because of maintenance at oil sands projects in northern Alberta.
Stocks fell 219,000 barrels between the first and last Fridays in June, to total 30.5 million barrels as of June 28. That was 9% lower than inventories in May, which totaled 33.6 million barrels, and 18% lower than April’s record high of 37.1 million barrels.
The draw will be welcome news for Alberta’s provincial government, which has eased oil production curtailments for August, setting the limit at 3.74 million barrels per day.
Canada’s main crude-producing province introduced curtailments effective Jan. 1, 2019, to help ease congestion on oil export pipelines and drain a glut of crude in storage tanks that was depressing prices.
“Inventory declines in the late spring months are common as production facilities normally shut for seasonal maintenance, resulting in decreased supply,” said Hillary Stevenson, Genscape director of oil markets and business development.
Stevenson said stocks normally draw April through June and start building again in July.
Canadian crude-by-rail loadings were nearly flat in June, edging 1,000 bpd lower to 230,000 bpd. The plateau in crude-by-rail came after three months of steady gains, as more producers opted to bypass pipeline congestion and ship barrels by rail.
Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Peter Cooney