Canadian Manufacturing

Oil price downturn will persist, says Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board predicts revenues will drop by 38 per cent between last year and this year



CALGARY—The Conference Board of Canada has some bad news for those hoping the crude oil downturn will be short-lived.

In its latest report, the Ottawa-based think tank says the industry is unlikely to bounce back as quickly this time as it did after the last major drop in 2008 and 2009.

Crude prices saw a much more drastic drop the last time around—touching records above US$140 a barrel and lows around US$33 in a half-year span—but by 2011, were back above US$100.

This time, the board says prices aren’t likely to climb above US$80 a barrel in the foreseeable future, thanks to drilling technology that has unlocked huge volumes from U.S. tight oil formations.

The outlook through 2019 is about US$30 below what the board had forecast during the first quarter of 2014.

The Conference Board predicts revenues will drop by 38 per cent between last year and this year and the $56 billion invested in 2014 is likely to be the high water mark for oil spending in Canada.

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