A recent report finds that British Columbia’s natural gas and oil industry is a major contributor to the economies of municipalities and Indigenous Nations in every corner of the province. From 2018 to 2021, the industry spent over $4.7 billion in 140 municipalities and Indigenous Nations through the procurement of goods and services from more than 2400 B.C.-based businesses. This is according to a study prepared by iTOTEM Analytics for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
iTOTEM conducted a study entitled, Our Communities Care, examining the regional and provincial economic impacts of natural gas and oil supply chain expenditures from 2018 to 2021. The study aimed to gain a better understanding of supplier demographics and community investment contributions. While much of the spend was in operating communities in northeastern B.C. like Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, significant economic benefits were felt across the province including central B.C. and Lower Mainland municipalities. Businesses were involved in a wide range of goods and services, including engineering, construction, transportation, environmental consulting and business services.
Caption: Natural gas and oil supply chain spend was $337 million in Vancouver, making it the municipality with the fourth-largest spend after Fort St. John, Dawson Creek and Pouce Coupe.
Aligned with the Government of B.C.’s commitment in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) Action Plan to ‘create opportunities for Indigenous people to be full partners in the economy’, the B.C. natural gas sector spent ~$540M with some 100 B.C.-based Indigenous-affiliated businesses and organizations. Indigenous businesses represented 11.5 percent of B.C.’s total supply chain spend. As well, the spend with Indigenous-affiliated businesses has been increasing—2021 spend was 148 percent higher compared to 2018. Overall supply chain spend increased $90 million (7.2 percent) between 2018 to 2021.
Other highlights include $260 million spent on reclamation and remediation activities—restoring lands disturbed by oil and gas operations back to a natural, self-sustaining states; and $16.8 million in community investments.
The study concluded, “A strong upstream natural gas and oil supply chain, as demonstrated by the thousands of businesses working in B.C. between 2018 and 2021, can help us achieve our collective goal of a decarbonized future. B.C.’s natural gas and oil supply chain is comprised of businesses from Indigenous communities and municipalities from across the province. Citizens who care about their community’s infrastructure and services; Indigenous people with traditional knowledge and who care about reversing climate change; and residents who care deeply about advancing social progress in their schools, worksites and neighborhoods.”
“What surprised me is despite the economic downturn, despite legal challenges or the pandemic, the industry is durable,” noted Colleen Sweet, founder of iTOTEM Analytics. “It’s making investment in technology, in water management, in electrification, in innovation. It’s building its network of suppliers across the province.”
“As a citizen of B.C., someone that lives in Vancouver, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the industry is foundational and is supporting so many entrepreneurs in our province, and doing good work to advance reconciliation.”
“British Columbia is on the cusp of becoming one of the most important energy export hubs in the world,” notes Lisa Baiton, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “As the iTotem study shows, the industry has been built on a foundation of respectful partnerships with Indigenous Nations and local municipalities, benefiting citizens right across the province.”
Baiton added, “The emerging liquified natural gas industry on the West coast is a generational opportunity that will help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by providing some of the lowest emission natural gas on the planet, while being a source of prosperity for British Columbians and Indigenous Nations for decades to come.”