Crude Oil in Canada


It is often said by economists that the oil and gas industry “pays the bills” in Canada. Well, it also pays the bills for hundreds of thousands of Canadians across our country who rely on the oil industry to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

If it weren’t for this sector, many fellow Canadians – and in some instances our family and friends - would be out of a job and struggling to make ends meet.

Canada's Oil Industry...

  • provides Canadian families with enormous economic opportunities
  • generates substantial revenues for Canadian governments
  • adheres to some of the world’s strictest environmental regulations
  • is a major innovator and top spender on clean technology within our country
  • is world-class when it comes to reducing emission and water use intensities

Canada is home to the world’s third largest proven recoverable oil reserves and is a global top five producer and exporter. Our nation is also of the most transparent, regulated and environmentally conscious global producers and ranks number one among the world’s top exporters on environmental, social and governance rankings (ESG).

oil industry in canada banner

As long as Canada produces this valuable resource in a sustainable manner while adhering to the world-class regulatory framework it already does, we should be the last producer “out of the pool.”

Sadly, the conversation around oil in Canada has been acutely unbalanced for years – if not a decade or more. This should not be an “either, or” conversation, but one that includes all forms of energy.

How Important is Oil to the Canadian Economy?

Oil in Canada: Facts

Canada is the 4th largest producer of oil in the world

  • The Canadian oil and gas extraction, services, and pipeline sectors accounted for approximately $132 billion, or nearly 7% of our nation’s economy in 2018 (Viewpoint Research)
  • The oil and gas sector directly and indirectly supports roughly 530,000 jobs across the country (CAPP)
  • It is also the largest employer of Indigenous people in the country, with about 6% of the sector’s workforce identifying as Indigenous in 2016 (PetroLMI)
  • Crude oil, natural gas and other petroleum products accounted for approximately $113 billion, or 19% of Canada’s total value of merchandise exports in 2019 (CAPP)
  • From 2000-2018, the Canadian oil and gas industry generated roughly $360 billion in revenues for governments across the country (Statistics Canada)
  • The offshore industry accounted for roughly 25% of Newfoundland & Labrador’s economy over the past decade and directly and indirectly employs 27,000 people (NOIA)
  • Shutting down the oil sands entirely would only reduce global emissions by 0.03%, or 3/100ths of 1% which would be replaced by other major emitters in a month or less (Viewpoint Research)

Oil Sector & Environmental Leadership

Canada Oil Industry Cleantech Investment 1.65 billion in 2017-02

  • Since 2000, oil sands emission intensity is down 29% and is projected to decline another 16-23% by 2030 (IHS Markit)
  • Between 2009-2017, GHG emissions intensity of mined oil sands fell by more than 25% (IHS Markit)
  • The oil sector is the largest spender on clean technology in Canada, accounting for 75% of the roughly $1.4 billion spent each year
  • In 2016, the oil and gas extraction industry accounted for $3.7 billion, or 44% of the total business environmental protection expenditures made in Canada
  • Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is one of the most active collaborative innovation hubs anywhere in the world, where producers come together to improve environmental performance
  • Between 2012-2018, members of COSIA collectively reduced fresh water use intensity at in-situ operations by 42%
  • A single major oilsands producer has reclaimed more than 3,800 hectares of land and has planted over 8.5 million tree and shrub seedlings to-date. Such effort is by no means a singularity among Canadian oil producers

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Oil in Canada is an integral part of our economy and supports hundreds of thousands of families across our nation. With growing global demand for decades to come, it’s only logical that we continue to support its sustainability and growth over the long-term and the Canadians that rely on this industry to provide for their families.

Leadership on GHG emission reductions, environmental initiatives and clean tech and innovation has been demonstrated by Canadian oil producers in all parts of the country, whether that be in northern Alberta or off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canadians must unite in support of the oil sector which has given us so much. This isn’t an “either, or” conversation, but rather one where we can support both fossil fuels and renewables for the benefit of all Canadians across the country.

Our exemplary record on transparency, environment and human rights means that Canada should be one of the last producers “out of the pool” when demand reaches zero at some point in the distant future. Are you with us?!

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