Oil sands a Canadian job creator; domestic and U.S. processing needed

September 22, 2011 - Calgary, Alberta

Canada's oil sands and pipelines to move oil closer to consumer markets are job creators that enhance North America's energy security and economy through substantial employment and government revenue, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers which represents 90 per cent of Canada's oil and gas production.

"Canada's oil sands provides and continues to create significant long-term, well-paid, skilled jobs in Canada and the United States," said Dave Collyer, CAPP's president. "One of our industry's most pressing issues is in fact a lack of skilled people to fill the jobs we have today and foresee in the future.

"Project cost inflation and competitiveness are serious issues for the oil sands industry," Collyer said. "Canada must compete for these large scale refining and upgrading projects. Today more than 60 per cent of upgrading occurs in Alberta, with more upgraders planned. Like other domestic industries, increasing exports allows our industry to grow for the benefit of all Canadians.

According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute, as oil sands production grows, employment in Canada as a result of new oil sands investments in production and processing is expected to grow from 75,000 jobs in 2010 to 905,000 jobs in 2035, with 126,000 jobs being sourced in provinces other than Alberta. New oil sands development is expected to contribute more than $2.1 trillion (2010 dollars) to the Canadian economy over the next 25 years - about $84 billion per year. The oil sands industry will pay an estimated $766 billion in provincial and federal taxes and royalties in the same period, which contributes to quality of life and services across Canada.

Responding to suggestions the proposed pipeline project to the U.S. would damage job prospects for skilled Canadian workers, Bob Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs for the Canadian Building Trades said, "The job creation potential associated with oil sands growth and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline for Canada is enormous. We support upgrading and refining in Canada in so far as it makes economic sense, but not all crude oil recovered can be processed domestically."

Blakely says the pipeline means more jobs for Canadian construction workers for the foreseeable future."We build the facilities that extract and upgrade bitumen as well as the transmission pipelines, and we understand the need for both."

Today the oil sands are the largest employer of building trades in the country. CAPP and the Canada's Building Trades are concerned about the lack of skilled worker availability in the future. The two organizations are presenting an energy and skilled trades conference later this month in Ottawa to discuss labour issues and potential training, fiscal and immigration solutions.

"Continuous improvements in oil sands environmental performance is our goal. For example, Canadian oil sands producers are striving to further reduce lifecycle GHG emissions per barrel with the objective of being as good or better than competing supplies in the world market," Collyer said. "Pipelines provide safe and reliable transportation of oil and natural gas today with the U.S. government's own environmental impact assessment determining the Keystone XL pipeline will not have an undue environmental impact on air and water along the pipeline route, nor lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions."

"Growth in exports of Canadian oil, no matter where it is processed, will require new pipelines to U.S. markets. Canada produces more energy than we can use. Improved access to export markets for Canadian energy supplies is good for Canadians, and better access to responsible Canadian oil is good for our largest trading partner, the United States."

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 more than 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. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.

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