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Oil and Gas Ad

Canada's Oil and Gas Industry

Canada's Oil and Gas Industry 

36% of Canada’s oil and gas comes from the oil sands areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia, 7% from East Coast offshore operations and the remainder from traditional drill and gush operations. Out of the thirteen provinces and territories, eleven have an active upstream petroleum industry.

Established oil and gas juniors in Canada include Canadian Oil Sands, Suncor, Imperial Oil and Husky Energy.  A junior company is defined by investopedia.com as one that is ‘’currently developing or seeking to develop an oil and gas field’.

Increased Demand For Jobs

In 2012, the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada (PHRC) forecast a shortage of around 9,500 jobs by 2015, with 5,850 of these vacancies needed in Alberta’s oil sands. The oil sands projects, now numbering around 100, employ the largest number of skilled workers in oil and gas jobs Canada.  A further $216 billion of investment is likely to be attracted into Alberta’s oil sands in the next quarter of a century, leading to a further demand for skills.

More recently British Columbia has seen a rising demand for skilled workers with TransCanada Corp’s proposed construction of a second gas pipeline in Northern BC which will employ over 2,000 skilled workers during its three year construction.  

According to a study released in December 2012 by The Conference Board of Canada, British Columbia is now expected to attract nearly half of all spending on natural gas in Canada between now and 2035, at just over $181 billion.  54,000 workers will be needed annually to meet this continued expansion.

Dealing with the increase demand for oil and gas jobs in Canada

In anticipation of the skills shortage, in June 2012 the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) signed an agreement with Canada’s Building Trade Unions to promote apprenticeships and careers in skilled trades jobs. This was in response to reports from the Construction Sector Council that a gap of 200,000 construction jobs alone is expected in the oil sands.  It is also believed that this initiative will benefit oil and gas jobs in Canada as a whole.

Additional recruitment strategies are also being implemented to attract migrant and temporary foreign workers into Canada to meet the increasing demand.  Aboriginal workers are also a key part of overall approach to the skills shortage, particularly in Alberta which recently announced significant investment in the Trades Wind to Success Training Society which focuses on training aboriginal people. The Canadian government is currently training 350 aboriginal people under this scheme. 

What does the future hold for Canada’s oil and gas industry?

In a recent interview, Chris Cooper, CEO of Aroway Energy Inc, a western Canadian oil junior with projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan, expressed confidence that the oil and gas industry will continue to grow citing the stable political system as providing an environment which would allow businesses to expand in Canada.  

Consultants Ernst and Young echo this sentiments in an in-depth analysis of the top ten opportunities and risks for the future of Canada’s oil sands.  The opportunities include: 

  • Strong economy, sound legal and business systems.
  • Proximity to the American market.
  • Access to world class expertise.
  • Technology and innovation advances.

Expressing a note of precaution, potential areas for risk include: 

  • The environmental impact and the high demand for water.
  • Lack of capital investment.
  • Relations with First Nations.
  • The looming skills shortages and increasing demand for oil and gas jobs in Canada.

With significant crude oil and natural gas deposits lying in offshore areas in Canada’s north, gas reserves in the Yukon and Northwest Territories and major reserves in the oil sands in Alberta, significant potential exists for Canada’s growing dominance in the global oil and gas industry for the foreseeable future.