David Collyer
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
View from the Top

Mexican Canadian Energy Cooperation

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 14:27

Q: Could you briefly explain Canada’s current reserves situation?

A: Canada has proven reserves of crude oil equaling 175 billion barrels. Canadian natural gas has a resource potential of 700 Tcf. These resources are found in the country’s seven major sedimentary basins. The primary petroleumproducing sedimentary basin is the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). There are also producing basins in southern Ontario, oshore Newfoundland, and the Scotian Shelf. Potential reserves are also located in Northern Canada, where an estimated 30% of Canada’s conventional oil resources are located. Canada’s oil sands are found in three deposits – the Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake deposits in Alberta. The oil sands are at the surface near Fort McMurray, but deeper underground in other areas.

Our industry is the largest single private sector investor in the country, investing approximately US$54.7 billion in capital projects in 2011 alone, with an expected rise to US$55.7 billion in 2012.

Q: What are the technological strengths of the Canadian oil and gas industry?

A: Canada has made significant investments in research, development, innovation and technology to support growing industry demand, specifically in the development of the oil sands. Crude oil (bitumen) can be produced from the oil sands in two ways, depending on the depth of the reservoir. When the oil sands are within 91m of the surface, mining technology is used to develop the resource. Below that depth, bitumen is produced by drilling wells and injecting steam to the deposit allowing it to flow to the surface, a process called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD).

Q: How would you describe Canada’s position in the global oil and gas industry?

A: Canada is the third largest producer of natural gas, the fifth largest energy producer and the sixth largest producer of crude oil in the world. The country has extensive oil and natural gas resources right across the country, active in 12 of 13 provinces and territories. Canadian energy production has almost doubled since 1980. Our oil reserves total 175 billion barrels, of which 169 billion barrels can be recovered from the oil sands using today’s technology. According to the December 2011 Oil & Gas Journal, we are ranked third in oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

As an industry, our challenge is getting access to these remaining reserves. Often they exist in remote locations, which can mean harsh environments for our workers, technically complex and expensive methods of production, and environmental challenges.

Canada has approximately 6 billion barrels of oil located outside the oil sands. These can be found primarily in Alberta, Saskatchewan and oshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q: How does Canada’s natural gas industry currently stand?

A: Canada is also home to a large amount of natural gas, particularly in British Columbia and Alberta. The easier-toproduce sources of natural gas are in decline, so our industry is starting to work in areas that were once considered too dicult to produce. These include shale gas, tight gas, coal bed methane and oshore gas and we are increasing exploration and development in Northern Canada.

Canada is now estimated to have between 700 Tcf and 1,300 Tcf of natural gas resources. Given current domestic natural gas consumption, that is enough resources for more than a hundred years.

Natural gas development is expected to contribute about US$1.32 trillion to Canadian GDP over the next 25 years – an average of US$52.7 billion per year. The natural gas sector is expected to provide 317,000 jobs (direct, indirect and induced) across Canada by 2035. This is almost double the 172,000 natural gas jobs in 2010. During that time period natural gas employees will earn US$343 billion.

Canada, with less than 1% of the world’s population, produces 2% of GHG emissions. Natural gas, the cleanest burning hydrocarbon, can be used in a variety of ways to help reduce Canada’s GHG emissions, including in the transportation and electricity generation sectors.