Canadians back increased market access for Canadian oil, poll says

October 30, 2013 - Calgary, Alberta

Canadians back increased market access for Canadian oil, poll says

Seventy-five per cent of Canadians agree Canada should use domestic oil before using oil from foreign sources, according to a national poll conducted by Ipsos Reid.

And Canadians surveyed overwhelmingly support pipelines that will serve Canadian markets, with 80 per cent in favour of moving oil sands crude from Western to Eastern Canada.

"Increasing supplies of Canadian crude to eastern Canadian markets will benefit refiners, producers and consumers in their everyday lives," said Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). "More domestic oil production means more economic growth and jobs for Canadians from coast to coast."

Today, Eastern Canada imports about 700,000 barrels of oil per day from foreign sources, out of the 800,000 barrels of oil per day consumed. These imports from sources including the North Sea and Africa are largely due to lack of pipeline infrastructure to connect western Canadian producers to eastern Canadian refiners.

Two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of pipelines to the West Coast to serve international shipping ports. The poll also indicates that 70 per cent of respondents agree it is important for Canada to access new markets for oil to reduce the reliance on exports to the United States, currently Canada's only crude oil customer.

"While the U.S. remains our largest customer, increased market access for growing Canadian oil production is important to our industry and it is important to our country," Collyer said. "We need more ways to transport more oil to more markets - markets in Eastern Canada, markets overseas and markets in the U.S. - for the benefit of all Canadians."

The poll also shows 65 per cent agree the oil sands can be produced while effectively managing their environmental footprint - a view shared by the industry.

Collyer said the oil sands industry agrees with the 74 per cent of Canadians who say it can be doing more to protect the environment. "Our industry has a strong track record of environmental performance, and we recognize that continuous improvement in reducing environmental impacts is essential to our industry's ongoing social licence to operate," Collyer said.

Collyer also said it's critical that industry continue to collaborate on work to develop game-changing technologies, pointing to the 560 technologies, costing over $900 million to date, that were developed collectively under the auspices of Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance.

"Technology and innovation are key enablers in realizing Canada's growth objectives in the resource sector - reducing costs, addressing environmental challenges, unlocking resource potential, and improving the way we develop, transport and consume energy."

"Many organizations, such as the International Energy Agency, indicate that supply and demand for oil will remain strong for several decades," Collyer said. "The challenge for Canadian producers is to continue to produce and deliver crude oil and oil products safely and responsibly."

The online poll of 2,070 Canadians was conducted from Oct. 17 to 22, 2013, on behalf of CAPP. The poll is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points.

Additional highlights include:

  • 70 per cent of Canadians surveyed agree the oil sands are important to Canada's economy.
  • 67 per cent agree the oil sands are a significant source of high-quality jobs for Canadians.
  • 62 per cent agree the oil sands sector's success is Canada's success and contributes to Canada's success economically and politically, versus 19 per cent who disagree.
  • 61 per cent say they are proud of Canada's collective efforts to continue to find better ways to produce the oil sands, while 19 per cent disagree.
  • 58 per cent say developing the oil sands is key to the future economic prosperity of Canada, versus 24 per cent who disagree.
  • 72 per cent agree: "Crude oil has been transported safely across Canada for decades."
  • 77 per cent agree conversations about the oil sands should be based in science and not rhetoric, while 7 per cent disagree.

The polling data is available here.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce about 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry.