Canada’s most prolific oil-producing province, Alberta, is set to increase its crude production in December ahead of schedule as coronavirus-related shutdowns ease pipeline congestion, according to Reuters

This is a decision that comes a month ahead of schedule and has been influenced by the provincial economy’s downturn in the wake of the pandemic.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage said, “Maintaining the stability and predictability of Alberta’s resource sector is vital for investor confidence as we navigate the economic conditions brought on by the pandemic, the commodity price crisis and the need for pipelines.” 

Nearly 16% of crude production in the province is currently offline. The production curbs were set to expire on December 31 but production had been coming in well below provincial limits.

Production limits were initially introduced last year to help drain an oil glut. Since then, the United Conservative Party government has steadily eased curtailments as inventories drained. 

The province’s oil output dropped by as much as 880,000 barrels a day (bbl/d), or 22%, at the peak of the production cuts.