I read an article about Alberta, Canada losing millions per day from air barrels and am now doing some research, but having a hard time finding information.

I am curious to know more about air barrels and why they occur. Are there better systems out there that prevent air barrels or is it a constant, inevitable issue for pipelines? In particular, I am interested in the economics that result in air barrels, as well as the infrastructural issues or limitations that companies use to justify the purchase of air barrels. If you happen to know anything else about them, please do tell.


1 Answer 1


Air barrel means oil pipeline capacity which is booked or contracted by an oil company while they already know they can not deliver that volume of oil. Basically they over book the line.

Alberta pipeline in order to maintain the line or repair accidents has to cut down the flow of oil, so the oil companies overbook to be able to have guaranteed delivery of what they can produce.

However some companies game this known loophole to leverage the markets.

Here is an article.

  • $\begingroup$ Make the companies pay a levy according to what they book - that will improve their accuracy ... :) ... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 6:48

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