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8 reasons to appreciate Canadian oil and gas during the pandemic

As we turn our thoughts to recovery, let’s reflect on what Canadian natural gas and oil has meant during the pandemic, and what it will mean to Canada during the recovery.

1. Jobs of course

Canada's natural gas and oil industry employs more than 500,000 Canadians across the country.

The oil and natural gas industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, supporting more than 500,000 jobs found in every province and territory. With three million Canadians unemployed from February to April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, oil and gas workers have taken their share of a hit. But with world-class natural resources, and with oil and gas standing as Canada’s number 1 export commodity, a strong natural gas and oil sector is key to driving a jobs recovery.

2. $8 billion a year in tax revenues

Natural gas and oil companies pay an average $8 billion a year in taxes, going to all levels of government. That’s money that goes to schools, hospitals and social programs. Out of necessity, our governments have dug deep into public coffers to help Canadians get through the pandemic crisis. Canada’s 2020 deficit is expected to exceed $340 billion. As the economy starts to reopen, industries like natural gas and oil will be crucial in generating exports, revenues and economic activity necessary to service our public debt.

3. Wear it, sneeze on it and thank oil and gas

Protective equipment like N-95 masks and plexiglass barriers are made using petrochemicals derived from natural gas and oil.

Petrochemicals are derived from oil and natural gas—they are the building blocks of thousands upon thousands of everyday products we use and depend on every day. Relevant items made mostly or entirely from petrochemicals include N-95 masks, plexiglass barriers and medical supplies like syringes, safety glasses and gloves.

4. Keep the lights on, stay warm and maintain your cool

Natural gas and oil are considered essential services: not least because they help keep the lights on in our home and are critical fuels for heating and cooling. Natural gas or oil keeps our furnaces running in many parts of the country; it’s also a key backup to renewable energy sources when the sun isn’t shining or the wind dies down. Propane and diesel are critical energy sources in remote and northern communities. So thank the oil and natural gas workers who have kept our energy infrastructure up and running through the worst days of the pandemic.

5. Game on

Natural gas and oil keeps our cribs lit, warm and fun when we have no choice but to stay at home.

To survive this extended period of isolation, we’ve relied on our devices: everything from our smartphones, tablets and TVs to machines like XBox, PlayStation and the nearly impossible-to-get Nintendo Switch. None of these devices would be possible without petrochemicals used in cases, circuit boards, components and screens.

6. Is delivery really free?

Okay, a lot of us are driving a lot less so we haven’t taken advantage of recent low prices for gasoline. But we’re also ordering a lot more stuff delivered to our homes and thanks to oil and natural gas Amazon Prime and Canada Post can get that box of Starbucks Nespresso pods to your home in time for your next two-hour Zoom meeting.

Home delivery--another reason to appreciate the benefits of natural gas and oil during a pandemic. Photo credit: Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock.com

7. Food for thought 

Canadians have been lucky—after initial concerns about supply chain disruptions, we’ve found little changed in our ability to get the quantity and variety of groceries and other things we’re accustomed to. That’s thanks to transportation networks that deliver, for example, fruits and vegetables from the U.S. and Mexico via planes, trains, ships and trucks. Also, incidentally, petrochemicals are a key ingredient in synthetic fertilizers used to grow food around the world.

8. Sustainable is the Canadian way

As we slowly get back to our lives, energy demand will pick up. But even at the lowest point, the world was still consuming more than 70 million barrels of oil per day. The IEA expects oil demand to rebound to pre-COVID levels by 2021. And while some of the largest exporters of oil paid little heed to environmental concerns even before the pandemic, Canadian producers remain committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing environmental footprint.