Canada's Petroleum Resources

Canada is the fifth-largest producer of natural gas and the sixth-largest producer of crude oil in the world with extensive oil and natural gas reserves across the country.

Energy resource development is active in 12 of Canada's 13 provinces and territories and uses goods and services from many regions.

Canadian energy production has almost doubled since 1980. Our oil reserves total 170 billion barrels, of which 165 billion barrels can be recovered from the oil sands using today's technology. As of December 2016, we are third after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia in terms of global oil reserves (source: Oil & Gas Journal).

However, many of the world's sources of conventional oil are in decline - and Canada is no exception. The conventional oil reservoirs that were abundant and easy to find 30 years ago are harder to locate and more costly to develop. Canada is fortunate to have sources of unconventional oil in the oil sands. Over the last 35 years, Canadian crude oil production has increased by more than 2.4 million barrels/day due to the growth in supply from the oil sands.

As an industry, our challenge is getting access to these remaining reserves. Often natural gas exists in remote locations which can mean harsh environments for workers, technically complex and expensive methods of production and environmental challenges.

The world benefits from Canada's energy resources


Canada has more than four billion barrels of remaining oil reserves located outside the oil sands, found primarily in Alberta, Saskatchewan and offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

Oil sands

The oil sands provide a secure supply in a world of political risk. There are challenges in developing the oil sands, but our industry is making progress through investment in technology and innovation. The entry costs for new oil sands projects can be daunting, but the decline in traditional oil and natural gas sources means the oil sands are key to our energy future.

Natural gas

Canada is home to a vast amounts of natural gas, particularly in British Columbia, Alberta and offshore Nova Scotia.

Some of these resources are being developed with the application of new technologies: including horizontal hydraulic fracturing. These include: natural gas from coal, tight gas, offshore gas as well as shale gas. Northern Canada is also seeing increasing exploration and development.