NEB releases first-ever report on Canada’s refining industry

April 11, 2018
Written by Staff
Calgary, Alberta – Canada has a strong refining industry but processes only a fraction of its own crude oil production, according to the National Energy Board’s (NEB) inaugural Canadian Refinery Overview – Energy Market Assessment report.

The refinery overview states that only 30 per cent of Canadian crude oil is processed by Canadian refineries. This is mainly due to the size of Canada’s refining industry compared to the resource size, the location of its refineries and the lack of cross-country pipeline connectivity.

Most of the refineries in Canada, built when there were abundant supplies of light crude oil, were not configured to process growing volumes of heavy crude oil from the oil sands. As a result, significant volumes of crude oil, mostly light, is imported to Central and Eastern Canadian refineries.

Canada’s production of refined petroleum products, which includes gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil, is primarily for domestic consumption, with some exports mainly from Atlantic Canadian refineries.

Although Canadian refineries are processing more Canadian crude than ever before, Central and Eastern Canadian refineries will still import crude oil to meet their refining needs.

The NEB monitors energy markets and assesses Canadian energy requirements and trends to support its regulatory responsibilities. This report is part of a portfolio of publications on energy supply, demand and infrastructure that the NEB publishes regularly as part of its ongoing market monitoring.

Quick Facts
  • Canada is the world’s seventh largest crude oil producer, has the world’s third largest crude oil reserves, and its refining industry ranks 11th in the world in capacity.
  • Canada has 14 full refineries and two asphalt refineries with a total refining capacity of 295 thousand cubic metres per day (10³m³/d) or 1.9 million barrels per day (MMb/d).
  • Quebec and Atlantic Canada have the most refining capacity at 124 10³m³/dd (782 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d)), followed by Western Canada at 109 10³m³/d (683 Mb/d) and Ontario at 62 10³m³/d (390 Mb/d).
  • Western Canadian refineries process more oil sands crude than refineries in Eastern Canada. Eastern Canadian refineries process primarily conventional light crude oil.
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada's energy industry. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. For more information on the NEB and its mandate, please visit the National Energy Board website.

For more information, visit

Digital Archives

Digital Editions
Newsletter Archive
Enews Subscription
Customer Service


What is the state of your safety program?

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.