Mission and Vision

Our mission is to provide relevant, independent and objective economic research in energy and environmental issues to benefit business, government, academia and the public.

The Institute envisaged by the Board of Directors is a unique research-focussed organization whose output and staff are very highly regarded and respected both in Canada and abroad.

CERI's economic studies are highly relevant and objective and the analysis and advice contained therein are sought by government and business planners and decision-makers.

CERI is envisaged as being a premier centre in its field in Canada and one of the most prestigious energy economics research institutes in the world. Because of its reputation, the Institute is often represented on national and international advisory panels and at conferences and symposiums deliberating energy and related environmental issues.

Members of the research team are proud to belong to an organization which is sought after by Canadian and foreign organizations because of its analytical capabilities and the insight and knowledge which it brings to a wide range of issues. Potential staff members are attracted to CERI literally from around the globe because of the challenging issues being addressed at the Institute and its reputation.

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Commodity Report - Crude Oil

CERI Commodity Report - Crude Oil
Dinara Millington, Editor-in-Chief

CERI Commodity Report - Crude Oil is an original, thought provoking publication focusing on short-term developments (including geopolitical ones) in the world oil market, as well as issues impacting the oil market in the longer term. The outlook section provides information and analysis pertaining to the oil market eight quarters into the future. This includes forecasted (and historical) supply, demand and inventory information, comparisons with other organizations' forecasts, information pertaining to OPEC behavior and the forward market, as well as CERI's oil price forecast. The Data Appendix provides in-depth information on the world, US and Canadian oil markets. This publication is released monthly.  Click on the link below to get the latest edition.

Crude Oil Report

Commodity Report - Natural Gas

CERI Commodity Report - Natural Gas

Dinara Millington, Editor-in-Chief

CERI Commodity Report - Natural Gas is a monthly publication that examines near-term North American natural gas market fundamentals. Coverage includes the key drivers of natural gas activity, supply, demand, and storage, as well as weather expectations, and their impacts on natural gas prices. The report comments on a broad range of elements: active rig count, well licensing, completions, production volumes, Canadian system receipts, LNG imports, energy commodity prices, and so on. The basic elements are consistent from issue to issue. Additional topical articles and reports vary with the marketplace annual cycle, gas industry activity, impacts of other energy sectors, and global issues affecting North American natural gas.  

Click on the link below to see the latest edition.

Natural Gas Report

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Process Efficiencies of Unconventional Oil and Gas
Released June 2015

The Oil and Gas sector in Canada provides considerable economic benefits.  However, production activities are costly and impact the environment.  CERI has completed an assessment of various options to make these upstream activities more efficient.  These process improvements could reduce cost and could reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

As the sector continues to grow, in particular in Western Canada, there is an increased need for production processes to become more efficient.  This study looks at several options including:

• A mechanical lift strategy for in situ production that could reduce energy losses by 24%
• Modular construction techniques in SAGD operations that can reduce capital costs by over 50%
• Paraffinic froth treatment which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in oil sands mining and upgrading

Overall, there are many existing ways to increase the efficiency of upstream oil and gas production through best practices, although these gains are small in comparison to the increase in environmental impacts associated with sector growth.  To offset impacts associated with sector growth the industry will have to explore larger scale technology changes. 

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Ribbons of Steel:  Linking Canada's Economic Future
Released May 2015

From the moment of the Last Spike of the CP railway at Craigellachie, British Columbia and the completion of the transcontinental journey, railways have played an important part of transporting commodities and people across this vast nation, connecting its provinces to each other and to the United States (US) and the rest of the world. And despite the dramatic changes in our society since Lord Strathcona drove the last spike in 1885, railways continue to play an important part, linking Canada’s economic future.

The objective of this study is to determine the makeup of commodities currently transported by the rail system in Canada and use that information combined with a perspective of future growth or decline on a commodity by commodity basis to establish a future view of the commodities that could be moving on the rail system in 2024. The base data available from Statistics Canada and other agencies that provided a snapshot of the commodities being transported on the rail network from an origin, destination and import/export basis at the level required for this analysis was determined to be year-end 2012 data (released by Statistics Canada on March 20, 2014).

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Economic Impacts of Natural Gas Development Within the Yukon Territory
Released March 2015

CERI completed a report on the Economic Impacts of Natural Gas Development within the Yukon Territory.  This study has two aims:  to describe the conventional natural gas resource in Yukon and to consider the potential of conventional natural gas production and infrastructure development in the territory. Unconventional resources are not considered in the report, nor is hydraulic fracturing.  The report includes two development scenarios.  Scenario 1 considers a domestic pipeline option. This pipeline would be constructed and operated over the 2017-2041 timeline.  Under this scenario, there is an increase in GDP for Yukon of $875 million and for Canada of $10.5 billion.  Scenario 2 offers a domestic and export pipeline option over the same period.  This scenario includes gas service to a mine site and an LNG facility. Under this scenario, there is an increase in GDP for Yukon of $2.7 billion and for Canada of $32.8 billion.

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The Associated Gas Sector in Alberta

Released February 2015

This briefing paper was prepared for the World Bank and provides a description of the associated and solution gas sector of the oil and gas industry in the province of Alberta. This paper looks at various aspects of the associated gas sector, including the existing value chain description broken down by processing methods and the main market for Alberta gas products; an analysis and description of economic, social, legal, environmental and technological factors that affect the associated gas sector’s environment in Alberta; and a description of critical success factors regarding the effective development of a regional gas processing sector with a special focus on legal and economic regulations and other types of government coordination or support that could be relevant for the development of gas processing sectors in other countries.

This analysis provides an important contribution to the work of the World Bank and the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR). By detailing how Alberta has successfully reduced associated gas flaring through a combination of actions by industry, government and researchers, it provides important lessons for other oil and gas-producing nations. Specifically, it contributes to World Bank and GGFR knowledge and advisory services work, helping countries around the world better protect the environment and develop sustainable local industries.

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Refining Bitumen:  Costs, Benefits and Analysis
Released December 2014

With bitumen production slated to increase over time and given current discount of Canadian crudes against other global benchmarks, there has been a question about why Alberta has not constructed upgraders and refineries to capture more value added potential. To answer this question CERI undertook a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) with a focus on highlighting the welfare impacts on society for the proposed project being evaluated. These impacts include market and non-market costs and benefits, which in turn include what are often categorized as economic, social and environmental impacts. The study determines under which conditions refining make economic sense and under which conditions it does not.

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Oil Sands Environmental Impacts
Released July 2014

The development of the Canadian Oil Sands has a considerable and growing impact on the the environment. This report is an overview of the current environmental impacts of oil sands development and progress and efforts that have been made to mitigate impacts. Current extraction processes are energy intensive, and by year 2020 the oil sands will be the second largest single contributor to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions after transportation. Absolute greenhouse gas emissions are growing along with increases in production, although some progress has been made to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per barrel of produced bitumen or synthetic crude oil. Burning of fossil fuels for energy also produces other air pollutants such as criteria air contaminants, the impact of which have been examined in the region. Use of fresh water is another concern in oil sands development, and efforts to reduce reliance on fresh water and increased recycled water use have been particularly successful for in situ extraction. Finally, land use impacts, biodiversity, reclamation, and improvements to environmental monitoring are discussed.

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Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) In North America:  An Update Part V - Future Outlook
Released July 2014

Part V – Future Outlook: This report presents the different future outlooks for NGL production in North America based on the analysis provided in Parts I-IV and CERI’s natural gas pathways project. A discussion of each NGL and market is provided.

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CERI_Study_144_CoverCanadian Oil Pathways
Released August 2014

For the first time in many years, Canadian crude oil production (excluding oil sands) has reversed its downward trend due to technological advancements able to unlock hard-to-produce shale oil resources. With continued innovation and technology, combined production of crude oil (including condensate and pentanes plus volumes) and oil sands for Canada averaged 3.5 million barrels per day in 2013. This growth was impressive given the lengthy list of issues facing the industry:  rising project costs, skilled labour shortages, rising tight oil production in the US, offshore competition, shifting demand, transportation infrastructure constraints, pipeline approval delays, the lack of market diversification, widening basis differentials, and the challenges to development from environmental groups and the general public. Although the future for oil production growth in Canada still looks favourable, these and other issues could significantly impact the future of the Canadian oil industry.

Taken together, an array of national, continental and global challenges could limit the growth, profitability and competitiveness of the Canadian oil industry. Looking out to 2030, a key question is: How can industry, government and others work to understand and address an array of supply, demand, transportation, environmental and social issues with a view to improving the societal value of oil development, which itself provides a significant contribution to the Canadian economy?” The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), in collaboration with ICF International, and Scenarios to Strategy Inc. (S2S) developed four plausible pathways, or narratives, of the future of the Canadian oil industry.

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Study_141_-_Study_CoverCanadian Oil Sands Supply Costs and Development Projects (2014-2048)
Released July 2014

Data file available for download.

Production and capital investment forecasts for the oil sands industry are estimated to continue to increase well into the future, and there are some major projects still to be constructed, but currently many producers are reporting a bit of a pause in new contract awards and backlog. However, this may be a function of the change of the pace of development more than an indication of downward pressure on the sector. The nature of new project development in the oil sands has changed. Ten years ago the industry was dominated by megaproject mines and upgraders each built by several thousand people; the sector is now transforming into more manageable phased in situ growth.

Albeit uncertainties around market access and competition from the US tight oil projects, oil sands production is expected to reach three million barrels per day (MMBPD) around 2017. This means the industry is expected to add approximately 1 MMBPD of production in less than 5 years, from both mining and in situ operations. In addition to several in situ projects/phases currently underway or expected to get the necessary approval in the near term, at least three mining projects are considered for major growth. This includes the 100,000 barrel-per-day second phase at Kearl, which is under construction, the staged integrated mining/upgrading expansion at Horizon to 250,000 barrels per day, and the long-awaited 190,000 barrel-per-day greenfield installation at Fort Hills.

Each year the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) publishes its long-term outlook for Canadian oil sands production and supply in conjunction with an examination of oil sands supply costs. This is the ninth annual edition of CERI’s oil sands supply cost and development projects update report. Similar to past editions of the report, several scenarios for oil sands developments are explored. In addition, given the assumptions for the current cost structure, an outlook for future supply costs will be provided.

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Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) In North America:  An Update
Released May 2014

These reports are an update to CERI Study No. 130: Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) in North America: Overview and Outlook to 2035 originally published in the summer of 2012.

Given the level of interest from various audiences as well as the continuously evolving nature of energy markets in North America, CERI updated the previous NGL study by incorporating and considering issues and trends that have developed since Study No. 130 was first published, while adding depth to previously covered subject matter. Additionally, CERI is incorporating into this update recently completed work from a natural gas market study (Study No. 138: North American Natural Gas Pathways), by using scenarios to generate future NGLs outlooks.

There are a total of five reports (or parts) included in this NGL study update.

Parts I, II, and III present a discussion of historical data (2002-2012) as well as analysis on currently evolving trends that are shaping NGLs markets in Canada and the United States, across different industry segments. Given the increased importance of global energy markets and continued demand increases in the Asia-Pacific region, Part IV discusses NGLs in the global context as well as opportunities and challenges for Canadian NGLs and petrochemicals in global markets, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region as a target market. Part V (forthcoming) will build on the insights from the overview and emerging trends analysis (Parts I-IV) combined with the natural gas pathways scenarios in order to develop different outlooks for NGLs in North America.




Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) In North America:  An Update Part I - Upstream
Released May 2014

Part I – Upstream: This report examines production of NGLs in Canada and the United States from different sources including natural gas processing plants, crude oil refineries, and bitumen upgraders’ off-gas processing plants. Given the importance of natural gas markets in NGL production, an analysis is provided in regards to the factors affecting natural gas markets in North America and their effect on Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) producers.







Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) In North America:  An Update Part II - Midstream and Downstream Infrastructure
Released May 2014

Part II – Midstream and Downstream Infrastructure: This report is a detailed account of the infrastructure used to extract, process, transport, and market NGLs in Canada and the United States. Petrochemical facilities, one of the most important NGL end-users, are also discussed in this report. The analysis section focuses on the changing dynamics of the midstream industry in Western Canada and the proposed midstream and downstream investments being incurred to monetize increasingly available NGL volumes in Canada.








Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) In North America:  An Update Part III - Market Fundamentals

Released May 2014

Part III – Market Fundamentals: This report presents supply and demand (S/D) balances for each NGL in both Canada and the United States. The focus is to better understand ongoing developments in North American NGL markets. A discussion of NGL prices and economics is also presented in this report.









Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) In North America:  An Update Part IV - Global Markets and Opportunities
Released May 2014

Part IV – Global Markets and Opportunities: This report focuses on global NGLs/LPG and petrochemical feedstock (naphtha) supply and demand balances. The idea is to provide North American NGLs/LPG/petrochemical market participants with a global overview of the markets as they seek to expand beyond the continental market, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region as a target market.






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CERI_Study_140_CoverAn Economic Analysis Of TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline Project
Released May 2014

The Energy East pipeline project is a proposed conversion of a portion of TransCanada’s Canadian Mainline natural gas pipeline to oil in order to transport oil from Western Canada to Eastern Canada.  With 1.1 million barrels per day in pipeline capacity, this pipeline will help alleviate transportation constraints as well as provide tidewater and Eastern Canadian refinery access.  With an estimated capital cost of $11.3 billion dollars this project is expected to generate significant economic benefits. This study summarizes the economic impacts as calculated from CERI’s multi-input-output (MIO) regional model.  The results of the analysis are presented for the major economic variables – GDP, employment, compensation, and tax revenue.