Crude Oil in Canada

Oil and natural gas “pay the bills” in Canada. This critically important industry helps hundreds of thousands of Canadians put food on the table for themselves and their loved ones while supporting government revenues to the tune of tens of billions of dollars every year.

Canada’s trade balances are also significantly propped up by oil exports. In short, our vast wealth of oil accounts for the lion’s share of our exports and helps us pay for a wide range of imported goods.

Canada's Oil Industry...

  • provides Canadian families with enormous economic opportunities
  • generates substantial revenues for Canadian governments
  • adheres to the world’s strictest environmental regulations
  • is a major innovator and top spender on cleantech and environmental protection
  • is world-class regarding emission reductions and improving environmental impacts associated with the extraction and production of these critical resources

Canada is home to the world’s fourth-largest proven recoverable oil reserves and is a global top-five producer and exporter. It is one of the most transparent, regulated and environmentally conscious global producers and ranks number one among the world’s top exporters on several environmental and human rights related indices.

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As long as the world needs oil – and it will for decades to come, according to the latest projections – responsible Canadian producers should be the “last ones out of the pool.”

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

Thankfully, with your help over the years, Canada Action and its supporters have been able to turn the tide in public discourse and restore more balanced, factual, honest and non-partisan discussions about our country’s most important energy resource. Also see:

Oil in Canada: Quick Facts

Canadian oil and gas sector to generate 1.1 trillion dollars in government revenues from 2000 to 2032

  • Canada is the third-largest exporter and fourth-largest producer of oil and is home to the fourth-largest proven reserves with 10% of global supply
  • The oil and gas sector generated $578.7 billion in revenues for Canadian governments between 2000 and 2021 (CEC)
  • Another $594 billion is projected for Canadian governments between 2023 and 2032 from the sector
  • In other words, that is more than $1.1 trillion between 2000 and 2032 for Canadian governments, used to pay for schools, roads, hospitals, infrastructure, public jobs, etc.
  • In 2021, the petroleum sector accounted for 442,100 direct and indirect jobs across the country
  • In 2021, the petroleum sector accounted for 7.2% of Canada’s economy (GDP), or $168.2 billion
  • 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

Learn more:

Sources: Canadian Energy Centre, Natural Resources Canada - Energy Factbook 2022-2023, Viewpoint Research

Canadian Oil & Environmental Leadership

Canadian oil and gas sector emissions have peaked several years ago, despite production rising - june 2023

Canada’s oil and natural gas sector is a global leader in new and innovative solutions designed to reduce environmental impacts associated with production. For example:

  • From 2000 to 2020, emissions intensity per barrel of oil sands production dropped by 33%
  • Between 2000 and 2019, Canada’s conventional oil sector saw its emissions intensity drop by more than 32%
  • Between 2000 and 2018, Canada’s methane emissions fell by 16%, despite oil production increasing 91%
  • Between 2014 and 2021, gas flaring volumes from oil and gas operations in Canada dropped 48%
  • Between 2006 and 2018, Canada’s oil and gas sector spent a cumulative $28.1 billion on environmental protection, accounting for 41% of spending by all industries in the country
  • Canadian oil sands producers have planted more than 26 million trees as part of land reclamation efforts

Learn more:

Sources: Canadian Energy Centre, Natural Resources Canada – Energy Factbook 2022-2023, Bank of Montreal

Join Us to Learn More

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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 is 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 emission reductions, environmental initiatives and cleantech and innovation has been demonstrated by Canadian oil producers in all parts of the country, whether that be in the Alberta oil sands or offshore near the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canadians should recognize that we do not have to pick and choose between supporting oil and renewables. We can do both, to support the high standard of living and quality of life most of us already enjoy.

Canada’s world-class record on transparency, environmental protections and human rights means that we 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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