Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude oil monthly price 2019-2020

In March 2020, the average monthly price of the Canadian oil benchmark Western Canadian Select (WCS) was 12.84 U.S. dollars per barrel. That was 73.4 percent lower than the price was a year prior. WCS is a heavy sour blend of crude oil, produced exclusively in Western Canada.

Western Canada’s oil production

As the country with the third-largest oil reserves in the world, the Canadian oil sands are a crucial part of the Canadian energy sector. Not only are the oil sands a vital part of the Canadian energy supply, they play a large part in the Canadian economy. Furthermore, they are the largest single source of oil imports to their neighbors to the south, the United States. Oil sands are a combination of sand, water, and bitumen, and is therefore a more expensive source of crude oil than conventional oil, due to the large amount of processing required to produce a useable form of crude oil. The Canadian oil sands deposits are concentrated in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan: Athabasca, Cold Lake, and Peace River.

Canadian oil sands by the numbers

In 2018, Canada’s oil sands production amounted to a total of about 165 million cubic meters, an increase from the 35.4 million cubic meters produced in 2000. The oil sands in Canada are a lucrative natural resource, with a value of 61.3 billion Canadian dollars in 2018. About 6,115 new oil wells were drilled in western Canada in 2018. It is projected (in the high case scenario) that production will reach 5.78 million barrels per day in 2039.

Average monthly Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude oil price from March 2019 to March 2020

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

March 2019 to March 2020

Supplementary notes

Western Canadian Select has the following characteristics:
API density: 20.5 to 21.5°
Sulfur content: 3.0 to 3.5% w/w
Density: 925 to 935 kg/m³
Figures prior to January 2020 were provided by the following source.

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