Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recession hardly makes a dent in transport energy consumption

The recession in 2008, it appears, has hardly made a dent in the nation’s transport energy consumption. While Canada suffered hundreds of thousands of job losses in 2008, the decline in transport energy consumption was merely 3.5%.

At 31% of the final energy demand, the transport sector is the largest user of energy in Canada. Comparatively, the energy use by the industrial sector, second largest user in Canada, fell  by 5.9%.  This presents an interesting comparison: the decline in the industrial sector energy consumption was almost twice that of the reduction in the transport energy consumption.

Overall energy consumption in Canada in 2008 (7,793 petajoules)  declined by 2.1% when compared with 2007 (7,958 petajoules). “One petajoule equals roughly the amount of energy required to operate the Montréal subway system for one year” Statistics Canada.

On a positive environmental note, energy generated using fossil fuels (natural gas, refined petroleum products and coal) declined by 3.6%.

Other salient comparisons include:

“Crude oil production decreases

Canadian companies produced 159 million cubic metres of crude oil in 2008, down 1.2% over 2007. (A cubic metre contains 1 000 litres).

Alberta's oil sands accounted for 70% of total crude oil production in 2008, up from 43% in 2007 and well above the 28% in 2000. The oil sands produced 192 000 cubic metres of oil a day in 2008.

Exports of crude oil, primarily to the United States, increased 1.6% from 2007. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, Canada remained the leading export country to the United States, ahead of both Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Canadian crude oil now represents 20% of total US demand for imported crude oil. These exports account for more than 65% of all Canadian production. The US Midwest is the most significant market for Western Canadian crude oil.

“Modest decrease in natural gas production

Natural gas production fell 4.9% in 2008. At the same time, natural gas drilling declined by 16%.

Natural gas exports to the United States fell to 3 941 petajoules in 2008, down 4.0% from 4 106 petajoules in 2007. This decrease reflected increases in natural gas production in the United States.”

(Statistics Canada)

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