petroleum industry

Not a superpower but Canada on the brink of becoming energy superproducer

In a speech to the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce in London on July 14, 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to Canada as the emerging “energy superpower” that his government “intends to build.”  The prime minister and Joe Oliver, minister of natural resources, have repeated this claim on various occasions since.

While the term “energy superpower” sounds exciting and important, that likely isn’t where the country is heading (and likely not what we want to be). Rather, Canada is on track to become an energy “superproducer” if the right policy framework is in place.

No room for complacency if Alberta wants to attract petroleum investment

If you asked a typical Canadian to name the best place for investing in the petroleum industry, they’d likely say Alberta. But ask a typical petroleum executive, and the answer is quite different.

In recent years, executives responding to the Fraser Institute’s annual Global Petroleum Survey have shied away from Alberta, a trend that began in 2009 when the province plummeted in terms of attractiveness for investment following introduction of the so-called New Royalty Framework.

Printer-friendly version

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the outlook for Alberta crude oil and bitumen production and an assessment of the economic attractiveness and feasibility of exporting oil to countries in the Asia-Pacific region instead of solely to markets in the United States. It also describes the extent of the new oil pipeline infrastructure that would be needed to allow oil exports to Asia-Pacific region under two scenarios: 1. no increase in oil sands bitumen production capacity from a base-case forecast; and 2. bitumen production capacity increased from that in the base case to supply Asian markets after 2026. The likely gross employment and overall economic (GDP) benefits from construction and operation of the required facilities are also discussed.

The report also examines unnecessary regulatory and other barriers that are inhibiting the development of the pipelines and port facilities required to ship crude oil, raw bitumen and synthetic crude oil (i.e., upgraded bitumen) to the west coast and on to oil refineries in Japan, Korea, China, India and other countries in Asia that are increasingly becoming dependent on oil imports.

Finally, we suggest a number of policy reforms that, if implemented, would resolve, or at least help to overcome, the obstacles that stand in the way of infrastructure development and therefore threaten to prevent Canada from taking full advantage of opportunities to develop markets for crude oil in southeast Asia. The overriding objective is to ensure that Alberta?s conventional crude oil and oil sands resources are developed expeditiously and efficiently in view of current market conditions, legitimate environmental concerns, and global investment opportunities in order that Canadians may benefit, both directly and indirectly, from the employment and income opportunities that such development will bring.