Poll shows strong U.S. support for Canadian oil supply

April 12, 2011 - Calgary, Alberta

Poll shows strong U.S. support for Canadian oil supply

For Immediate Release

Most Americans strongly value Canada's role as a secure, stable, and friendly supplier of oil to meet the needs of American families and businesses.

Their already strong support for this relationship becomes stronger still when they learn about the jobs Canadian oil creates in America. These are among the highlights of a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the American Petroleum Institute (API).

"Americans naturally want to reduce dependency on imported oil, but to the extent that the U.S. continues to rely on supply from other countries, Canada is very well regarded," said Dave Collyer, president of CAPP. "Among Americans, Canada is seen as a friend and ally, with positive environmental values and a commitment to democracy, social justice and human rights. Production growth from oil sands will strengthen the energy relationship between Canada and the U.S., benefitting the economies of both countries."

"As the policymakers debate important questions about our energy security, Americans polled overwhelmingly want the administration to support greater use of Canada's abundant resources, " said Jack Gerard, API president and CEO.

Key findings of the poll:

  • Most Americans are unsure of how much oil the U.S. imports from Canada. The most common estimate is that Canada provides less than 100,000 of the eight million barrels the U.S. imports every day. The reality is roughly 20 times that amount, or about two million barrels.
  • Of eight million barrels the U.S. imports every day, most Americans (56 per cent) feel that more than four million should come from Canada, or double the current level.
  • The vast majority (80 per cent or higher) give Canada good marks as a supplier of oil to the U.S., based on each of the following criteria:

    • An ally that America can trust (95 per cent say very good/good)
    • Has a good human rights records (92 per cent)
    • Offers good social and living conditions (92 per cent)
    • Respects the environment and works to limit environmental impacts (88 per cent)
    • Has a democratic government that operates with clear laws (87 per cent)
    • Poses limited political risk of a disruption in the oil trade (79%)
    • Buys a lot of goods and services from America (80 per cent)

  • 85 per cent believe U.S. government policies should support the use of oil from Canada's oil sands.
  • 79 per cent feel pipelines are likely the best way to move Canada's oil to U.S. markets
  • When informed about the economic benefits of buying Canadian oil, this significantly improves already positive feelings about importing from Canada.
  • Overall, Americans are nearly unanimous in seeing several good reasons to import oil from Canada, including buying from an ally, a stable democracy with a good human rights record, and the fact that there are important jobs and economic benefits for America.

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.
API represents more than 470 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports more than 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.


The full Harris poll and background on Canadian oil sands is available here.

(The telephone survey of 1010 Americans was conducted between March 30 and April 3, 2011 and has a margin of error of +/-3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.)