Canadian Oil and Gas Wanted Abroad

Contributed to The Hill Times
Jeff Gaulin
Vice President, Communications
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
July 06, 2017
The world can count on Canada for a lot of things – humility and quiet pride; hospitality and friendliness; intellect; and, perhaps most of all, our constant need to apologize.

We don’t give ourselves enough credit and often let others determine our sense of worth. Truthfully, we’re better than that. When it comes to energy, we’re leaders in developing cutting-edge technology that produces some of the most sustainable and environmentally-responsible oil and natural gas on the planet.

That’s how the world sees us, even if it is not how we see ourselves.

According to the 2017 Global Energy Pulse, a first-of-its-kind survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canadian oil and natural gas are the preferred source of imported energy globally, according to respondents in 32 countries.

About one-third of the more than 22,000 people surveyed believe their lives are better with oil and natural gas. The survey included major energy-producing nations such as the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, China, Venezuela, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as growing energy customers such as India and China. 

Although the majority would prefer to use energy made by their own country, 31 per cent preferred Canadian oil and natural gas imports versus those of other nations -- making us the No. 1 choice on a list of 11 producing countries. Another 54 per cent were neutral or didn’t know enough about Canada’s energy story to say definitively.

It is easy for Canadians to believe the naysayers who claim the world does not want Canadian energy, but it’s not true. In a world increasingly unsteady and uncertain, now more than ever, it wants more from Canada. 

Fortunately, industry is looking to the future. Through organizations such as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), companies are working together to create more energy for the world with less impact on the plant. 

Through COSIA, companies are collaborating on ways to capture, develop and share innovation to cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve reclamation and remediation of operations, reduce water use, and eliminate tailings ponds. They do all this under the watchful eye of both provincial and federal governments which boast some of the world’s most stringent regulatory policies.

Since 2012, COSIA members have invested $1.33 billion to develop and create more than 930 distinct environmental technologies and innovations. 

For example, in suburban Toronto, Canadian Natural Resources Limited is working with innovators, Pond Technologies, on a pilot project to generate clean bio-fuel, create byproducts like fertilizer, and substantially cut carbon emissions. This algae technology has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 million tonnes from just two facilities – the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road.

At home, 68 per cent of Canadians surveyed agreed Canadian oil and natural gas should meet our own country’s energy demands rather than imports from other nations – leaving the door open for the rest of the country to learn more about what Canada has to offer.

Canada is blessed with some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. Our production in 2016 was nearly 3.9 million barrels per day of oil and 15.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas – enough to meet the energy needs of all Canadians. 

Ironically, we still import energy. In 2016 we imported 609,000 barrels per day into Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and Quebec from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Angola and Norway. We also imported 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the U.S.

U.S. growth since 2008 has seen additional production of 4.4 million barrels per day of oil and nearly 21 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to its own energy portfolio. At the same time, the U.S. is essentially our only customer for oil and natural gas exports importing nearly 99 per cent of our total oil exports and 100 per cent of our natural gas exports. Our largest energy customer has quickly become our largest energy competitor.

We live in a world with increasing energy demands; a world that needs and wants more Canadian oil and natural gas. Canadians should be proud to know its industry is paving the way to a cleaner energy future. 

We are the energy of tomorrow for the world.