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Commentary: Canada in the world's energy future, part 1

Global energy demand and Canada's tremendous export opportunity

Jeff Gaulin, Vice-President Communications at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

We have discovered oil in Québec. That just goes to show you how much the world has changed.

The world is getting bigger. And with more people comes the need for more energy, as well as the use of technology to discover and develop more resources, in unexpected places.

The fact is global energy demand is growing. Energy demand drives energy production. So while we are in an energy transition, the world is going to need more oil and more natural gas for a long, long time.

The International Energy Agency estimates the world will need 31 per cent more energy in 2040 than we use today. That means more energy for India, China and around the world.

That also means more energy for the three-billion-plus citizens of the planet who tonight will have to burn wood or animal dung to heat their homes or cook food for their families…let alone someday drive a car, fly somewhere they haven’t been, or use iPhones made with oil.

This means more energy is needed: in all forms.

Certainly, our global energy mix is changing. Renewable energy sources will grow significantly in the decades ahead. With the strong commitments governments have made arising from the Paris summit, renewable energy supply could double, triple, maybe even quadruple. But it won’t happen overnight. It may not even happen in the next decade. If renewables quadruple, they will still only represent about 20% of the world’s energy mix.

Even in a lower-carbon future, the world is going to need more energy from oil and gas.

By 2030, India will be the number-one importer of oil in the world, ahead of China and the United States. Today India imports 3.8 million barrels per day – or as much as we make in all of Canada. That will only grow. In fact, India and China will need about 11-million more barrels of oil per day by 2040. World energy demand is growing fastest across the Pacific Ocean in Asia.

World energy demand is growing fastest across the Pacific Ocean in Asia. But how many barrels of oil does Canada send to India today? Or China? Zero.

But how many barrels of oil does Canada send to India today? Or China?


The reality is we live in a growing world that will want more energy – not less. Fortunately Canada is blessed with abundant energy resources that are among the largest in the world. We have more than we need – enough to share with the world.

We’re the fifth largest producer of natural gas in the world – with plenty to heat homes or power electricity for generations. We have the third-largest oil reserves in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. More than 97 per cent of Canada’s oil is in the oil sands.

Around the world, most oil is state-owned and controlled – but Canada has half of all the free-market oil in the world. That is a tremendous opportunity to attract investment into Canada – bringing in capital for projects that would create jobs across the country.

Every year, the world needs to find four million new barrels of oil simply to replace the reserves we use. With energy the world needs, Canada has a tremendous, generational opportunity to meet those needs—while creating jobs and building economic prosperity for all Canadians. And with our track record and unwavering commitment to developing resources in a safe, environmentally responsible manner, we could become a preferred global supplier of choice.

The world needs more Canada.

However, we live in a highly-competitive world. Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico and the United States are also looking to sell their resources around the world. And places like Algeria, Angola and Nigeria continue to sell their oil into—of all places—Canada. These countries are not just going to make room for us. If we want to displace foreign oil and take advantage of our export opportunity, status quo is not good enough. We’re going to need to get more competitive.

Jeff Gaulin
Vice-President Communications
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

This is part 1 of 3 in a series of commentaries by Jeff on Canada in the World’s Energy Future. Read part 2: “Changing energy markets and Canada’s competitive challenge."