(Bloomberg) -- Alberta more than doubled its projected budget surplus for this fiscal year to C$5.5 billion ($4.1 billion) as elevated oil prices and fast population growth swell government coffers with more revenue. 

The Canadian province, which holds the world’s third-largest crude reserves, is benefiting from higher oil prices supported by production cuts from OPEC+ countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia. Total government revenue is projected to be C$74.3 billion for the fiscal year ending in March, nearly C$4 billion more than was forecast in the spring budget. That’s mostly due to higher oil royalties and personal and corporate taxes. 

The province is also benefiting from a wave of immigration as it attracts people who are looking for jobs and cheaper housing. The population grew 4.1% in the 12 months ended June, faster than even most developing countries. 

Read More: Soaring Canadian Housing Costs Drive Population Boom in Alberta

Expenses are expected to be about C$500 million higher than budgeted, partly due to the summer’s massive wildfires. Taxpayer-supported debt is expected to fall by C$1.7 billion, to C$76.1 billion. Alberta is rated A+ by S&P Global Ratings. 

Other highlights from Alberta’s fiscal update update:

  • The government projects average West Texas Intermediate oil prices of $79 a barrel in 2023-24, dropping to $73.50 by the 2025-2026 fiscal year
  • Non-renewable resource revenue, mostly oil-sands royalties, is projected at C$19.7 billion in 2023-24, a C$1.3 billion increase from what was budgeted
  • The discount on heavy Canadian crude is expected to shrink to around $15 a barrel in the 2024-25 fiscal year when the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion comes into service
  • Investment in oil and gas extraction will grow 18% this year
  • Investment income is projected to be C$3.9 billion, or C$700 million higher than budget, thanks to stronger financial markets
  • Real gross domestic product will grow 2.8% this year, before slowing to 2.6% next year
  • The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 6.2% in 2024, before declining to 5.9% by 2026

 

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