Canada’s oil sands are often thought of as one of the world’s most expensive, marginal sources of crude. That may not be the case, however, according to a new report by Scotiabank Economics. After examining more than fifty plays across Canada and the United States, the report found that, on average, Canada has lower full cycle breakeven oil production costs than the United States. Moreover, the report found that the oil sands have lower associated production costs than the “light, tight” crude from American shale that is upending the North American oil market.
On average, Canadian oil production was found to have an average full cycle breakeven cost of between $63 and $65 per barrel as compared to the U.S. average of $72. These breakeven costs were calculated by determining the price of West Texas Intermediate benchmarked oil required for a given project to yield a 9% after-tax return on full-cycle costs.