Sometimes it’s almost as if we live on another planet devoid of facts, logic and common sense.
The unbalanced and relentless attack on Alberta’s energy sector which has labelled the oil sands as the harbinger of the apocalypse is a prime example of where some logical thinking and common sense could be of great use.
Environmental groups claim that further development and production from Alberta’s oil sands will send the entire world into oblivion. Meanwhile…
- Global oil demand is growing
- Global petroleum industry is growing
- No other top 10 world oil exporters are targeted
They seem to forget that Canada is a world leader when it comes to producing oil and gas to the highest environmental, regulatory and human rights standards on the planet - an important fact that is left out of the conversation by these groups.
Why is the rest of the world is free to develop its natural oil and gas resources without constraint, except for Canada?
Because of Canada's world leadership in producing petroleum, we should be the last country "out of the pool" when oil demand begins to drop. And if the chart above is correct, that won't happen for a very long time.
Canadians need to start recognizing the natural resource sector for the great strides it's taken in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental impact and support of remote and indigenous communities to name a few things.
The concentrated effort to undermine Alberta's energy sector makes it imperative for those of us who support responsible development of Canada's natural resources to spend just five minutes a day promoting factual and balanced conversation.
This helps to create a positive discussion about how Canadian oil and gas is produced to the highest standards in the world and how it contributes greatly to Canada’s overall prosperity.
You’ll never hear this from these environmental groups who attack only Canadian pipelines and energy exports. Where are the protestors in all the other pipeline-building nations of the world?
With that in mind, here are 10 facts about the oil and gas industry in Alberta and Canada that will help contribute to a more informed discussion when it comes to one of the most important resources we have in our country.
#1 – Oil Sands Ownership and Jobs
Albertans own the oil sands and our government leases the right of development to private companies.
Many of these companies are multi-national and can take their investment capital anywhere they want to in the world.
When they move that capital outside of Alberta, the associated jobs and opportunity go with it.
Just look at the mass exodus of companies and jobs from Canada since 2015 as a prime example. This is an old graphic (add on Devon Energy's recent $3.8 billion sale to CNRL in late May of 2019):
#2 – Economic Opportunities
When these companies invest capital into the oil sands, it creates jobs for Canadians and tax revenues for Canadian governments.
Sometimes these are foreign companies, and sometimes they are national companies.
In many cases, without this initial investment of capital these jobs would never be created and Alberta’s vast wealth of oil reserves never developed responsibly to the benefit of all Canadians.
#3 – Oil Demand is Growing
Global oil demand has grown by about 11 million barrels between 2010 and 2019 to above 100 million barrels per day today.
Demand is expected to continue growing for many years to come (see chart in introduction and below):
As shown above, by 2040 oil is projected to make up a quarter of world energy demand (less than today). This will happen at a global production rate which is expected to be higher than today's levels of about 100 million barrels per day.
Want to know more about global energy demand? Here's two of the latest annual reports by renowned organizations regarding world energy supply and demand:
#4 – Canada is One of the Freest Democracies
Oil producers in Alberta are held to some of the highest environmental, regulatory and labour standards in the world.
Not only that, Alberta oil is produced in one of the most democratically-free nations and has the principles of equality, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and rule of law formulated right into its oil production so to speak.
Supporting oil production from a country with such principles at the heart of society just makes sense.
#5 – Only Canada is Attacked by Environmental Groups
What doesn’t make sense is the fact that environmental grounds claim to care about human rights and the environment but then do not protest tankers coming into Canada’s east coast filled with oil from Saudi Arabia or Nigeria.
If these environmentalists did care they would support ethical oil production in Canada, which has the potential to displace some of the growing oil demand market share from other producing countries who aren't world leaders in human rights, environmental protection and equality, for example.
We should be proud of our oil and gas industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and is produced to the highest environmental and safety standards on earth. 🇨🇦 #CdnPoli pic.twitter.com/WVJ8EQxXJx— Oil Sands Action (@OilsandsAction) May 29, 2019
#6 – Limited Market Share Does Not Benefit Canadians
While Canadian pipelines and resource development are hampered by excessive regulation and political maneuvering, investment and jobs in the energy sector are lost to other petroleum-producing nations.
Giving away growing oil demand market share to other nations does nothing for Canadian families and communities.
Will these foreign nations invest their profits into creating jobs in Canada or funding social programs in our communities?
#7 – Limiting Production Displaces Emissions
When a pipeline project is killed in Canada, it does nothing to reduce global GHG emissions.
All it does is displace those associated jobs and capital elsewhere, often to other nations without the high environmental standards that Canada has.
In a global context, not one single barrel of oil has been kept in the ground by environmental groups who oppose Canada's energy sector.
#8 – New Oil Sands Project Emissions
Today, new oil sands projects are producing barrels with an emissions intensity that is on par – or lower than – the average barrel of crude refined in the United States.
Canadian oil and gas producers are constantly finding ways to reduce GHG emissions associated with production and have been for decades.
Some major Canadian producers have said that they've reduced GHGs all together to a point where their average barrel has an emissions intensity on par, or lower than that of the average barrel refined in the United States (ARC Financial, CNRL):
#9 – Alberta is a World Leader
One example of Alberta’s leadership is Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), a collaboration between intellectual property and technology from competing companies.
This is one of the only examples of such an alliance worldwide.
#10 – The World Needs More Canada
Canada is the most regulated, transparent, monitored, socially progressive and democratic nation among the world’s top 10 oil exporters.
These countries are where you’ll find about 90% of global oil reserves. Where would you choose to get your oil from?
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