Canadian Oil is Responsible Energy

March 04, 2010 - Calgary, Alberta
Several environment groups today ran a paid advertisement in Variety, an entertainment magazine. The advertisement likens Canada's oil sands industry to the computer-animated film Avatar.

Canada -- a stable country with the highest standards of democracy as well as environmental and social responsibility -- is the largest provider of energy to the United States.

"Canadian oil is responsible oil," said Janet Annesley, Vice President of Communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "Unfortunately this blurring of the lines between fact and fiction by anti-oil activists has become all too common.

"We invite these activists back to planet Earth to discuss the appropriate balance between environmental protection, economic growth and a safe and reliable supply of energy."

"Unlike the movie Avatar,
oilsands mining trucks do not return
from excavating with arrows lodged
in their tires. I doubt Northern
Alberta First Nations would
appreciate that comparison."

The Canadian oil sands are a vital resource that supplies responsible energy to Canada and North America. Located in Northern Alberta, oil sands are developed using two techniques: surface mining or in situ drilling. Surface mining, which is used to develop 20 per cent of the resource, utilizes large electric shovels and trucks. In more than 40 years, oil sands development has disturbed approximately 530 square kilometers of land. This is equivalent to 4.8 per cent of the Los Angeles County or 0.2 per cent of Canada's Boreal Forest. The other 80 per cent of the resource must be developed using advanced in situ drilling technology, similar to conventional oil production.

All lands disturbed by oil sands development must be fully reclaimed under both federal and provincial laws. The land, air, and water surrounding development are closely monitored and companies must abide by one of the strongest government regulatory systems in the world.

Oil sands development does not go ahead without direct and meaningful Aboriginal consultation about both environmental impacts and economic benefits. Discussion, science, stakeholder viewpoints and disputes are brought forward transparently at public, government-moderated hearings.

"Aboriginal people are the oil and gas industry's neighbours, employees, contractors and stakeholders," Annesley said. "Productive relationships are crucial to oil and gas companies earning their licence to operate. Canadian regulation requires industry to address First Nations' economic, social and cultural needs. Delivering economic and social benefits and minimizing environmental impacts is fundamental to an oil sands project being found ‘in the public interest,' the final test a development must pass in order to proceed."

Oil sands industry facts:

  • 1,500 Aboriginal people have direct full-time jobs in the oil sands industry
  • More than half a billion dollars in contracts were awarded to Aboriginal contractors in 2008
  • More than $3 billion earned by Aboriginal companies between 1998 and 2008
  • More than $3 million in support of Aboriginal community programs in 2008

"Canadians and Americans expect and deserve an opportunity to look at the real facts about oil sands, our social and environmental performance, and to decide for themselves," Annesley said.


Global Energy Mix
Fossil fuels (primarily oil, coal and natural gas) are forecast to play an important role in the global energy mix for the foreseeable future. It is also forecast that an increasing share of energy demand will be met by hydroelectricity, wind, solar, nuclear and other forms of renewable and alternative energy. All of these sources of energy will be required to meet global demand.
Canada's oil sands, located primarily in the province of Alberta, have the potential to significantly enhance North America's energy security by providing a safe and reliable supply of crude oil and petroleum products, and the oil sands industry is committed to the responsible development of this important resource.

GHG Quick Facts

  • 26 per cent better: GHGs from oil sands have declined 26 per cent per barrel from 1990 to 2010.
  • Oil sands crude is 5 - 15 per cent more GHG-intensive than the US average on a well-to-wheel, or lifecycle basis.
  • Canada produces two per cent of global GHG emissions.
  • Oil sands production accounts for five per cent of Canada's total GHG emissions.
  • Oil sands production accounts for 0.1 per cent, or 1/1000th of global GHG emissions.
  • Oil sands' total GHG emissions of 38 megatonnes (Environment Canada 2007 ) is equivalent to one per cent of emissions from the United States power generation sector.

GHG Solutions

  • Advancing technology = lower emissions: Technology enables Canada's oil and gas industry to deliver more energy with fewer GHGs per barrel of oil equivalent.
  • Billions of dollars invested every year: $50 billion was invested by the oil and gas industry in 2007 and 2008 - Canada largest single private sector investor. 2010 investment is projected at $40 billion.
  • Diversity: With energy demand increasing, all sources of energy - from renewables to oil sands - will be needed.
  • Lower Carbon: Canada has large reserves of natural gas, a lower carbon fuel. Natural gas could play an even larger role in meeting our energy needs.

Canada's Rank in World Energy

  • 2nd largest crude oil reserves in the world
  • Largest uranium reserves in the world
  • 3rd largest natural gas producer in the world
  • 2nd largest hydroelectric generator
  • Largest supplier of energy to the United States, the biggest energy market in the world

Top Five Sources of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products to the United States

Of the top five sources of oil to the United States, Canada is the only country that currently has GHG regulation in place and which has signed the Copenhagen Accord. In fact, all oil sands production is subject to provincial GHG regulation.

  1. Canada - GHG regulated
  2. Saudi Arabia -unregulated
  3. Mexico - unregulated
  4. Venezuela -unregulated
  5. Nigeria -unregulated

Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Cambridge Energy Research Associates

The Value of Canada's Energy Exports

  • $126 Billion in 2008
  • 6 per cent of Canada's GDP
  • 26 per cent of all Canadian exports

Note: All values are in Canadian dollars.