OG 101

Fifty facts about Canadian oil and natural gas

As we close out 2019, let’s reflect on 50 facts you may not have known about Canada’s oil and natural gas industry:

Supply and production

1. Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world—after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

2. Canada is the 5th largest producer of natural gas in the world.

3. Canada is the 6th largest producer of crude oil in the world.

4. Based on domestic consumption rates, we have a 300-year supply of natural gas. Put another way, we have abundant natural gas resources we can export to countries who aren’t blessed with our energy abundance.

5. The main source of Canada’s abundant oil reserves are the oil sands located in northern Alberta: they contain about 165 billion of Canada’s total 168 billion barrels of known economically recoverable oil.

6. A study found there’s potentially 25.5 billion barrels of oil and 20.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the West Orphan Basin offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.

7. Canada produced about 5 million barrels per day of oil in 2018—that’s roughly 5% of global production.

8. Canada has 14 full refineries and 2 asphalt refineries, with a total refining capacity of 295,000 cubic metres per day.

9. Despite having the third-largest oil reserves in the world, Canada imported $19.4 billion worth of oil from foreign countries—including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Azerbaijan—in 2018. Most went to Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

Markets and demand

10. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global demand for energy will increase by 1 per cent a year to 2040—overall more than 20 percent compared to now.

11. Almost one billion people in the world still do not have access to electricity.

12. An international survey found Canada ranked #1 out of 11 oil and gas producing countries as the place people prefer to import their oil and natural gas from.

13. Through petrochemicals, oil and natural gas are used to make everyday products including smartphones, running shoes, contact lenses, medical devices, toys, fertilizers and much, much more.

14. Growing need for petrochemicals will add nearly 7 million barrels a day of oil to global demand by 2050.

15. Natural gas demand is set to increase by more than 40 percent to 2040, with many nations looking to switch to natural gas for affordable, reliable electrical power that produces significantly fewer emissions than coal.

16. China’s demand for natural gas is expected to increase more than 200 percent by 2040.

17. Between 2016 and 2017, Chinese imports of LNG rose by 46%.

18. A Scotiabank report found that Canada lost $15.6 billion to its economy in 2017—because it didn’t have enough pipelines and had to sell its oil at a discount.

19. From heating homes to generating electricity, natural gas currently meets 35% of Canadians’ energy needs.


20. Canada’s oil and natural gas sector employs more than 500,000 Canadians through direct and indirect jobs in a variety of professions and trades.

21. One new LNG terminal on B.C.’s West Coast would support the creation of 20,000 jobs a year.

22. Oil sands companies spent $1.9 billion on goods and services in Ontario in 2016-2017; $592 million in B.C. and $320 million in Quebec

23. Canada’s oil and natural gas industry pays an average of $8 billion a year in taxes.

24. Canada’s oil and natural gas industry has an $108 billion direct GDP impact on the Canadian economy.

25. For every job created in the oil sands industry, 2.5 jobs are created elsewhere in the country. 

26. With $101 billion in average annual revenues, Canada’s oil and gas industry is the largest industry in Canada.

27. It’s forecast that the natural gas industry will generate $300 billion in economic impact over the next 10 years.

28. Capital investment by Canadian oil and gas companies totaled around $40 billion in 2018—one of the highest in Canada.

29. The oil and natural gas industry generates jobs and economic benefit in every province and territory in Canada.

Safety and Transportation

30. All oil tankers operating in Canadian waters are double-hulled to reduce the chances of a spill.

31. There have been zero major maritime oil spills in Canadian waters since 2000.

32. Canada’s transmission pipelines have a 99.999% safety record over a decade.

33. Members of the Canada’s Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) invested $1.6 billion in 2018 on pipeline maintenance and monitoring.

34. The total distance of CEPA pipelines in Canada is 118,500 km (i.e., equivalent to circling the world three times).

35. The Trans Mountain expansion project will carry up to 890,000 barrels per day of oil from Strathcona County, Alberta to Canada’s West Coast.

Environment and Innovation

36. Canadian LNG powered by hydroelectricity would be cleaner than LNG from competitors including the United States and Australia.

37. Of the top 10 oil exporting nations, only Canada has a price on carbon.

38. All lands disturbed by oil and natural gas development are returned to a natural, self-sustaining state—it’s the law.

39. About 44% of all monies spent on environmental protection in Canada comes from Canadian oil and natural gas companies.

40. Natural gas is the cleanest burning hydrocarbon. It produces about half the greenhouse gas emissions as coal when combusted to generate electricity.

41. Since 1990, the per barrel greenhouse emissions of oil produced in Canada’s oil sands has fallen 32% due to innovation and sustainable practices.

42. Canada’s oil sands mines have disturbed 0.2 percent of Alberta’s boreal forest over the past 40 years.

43. Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, an innovation collaboration hub of oil sands producers, has spent $1.7 billion on research and development to improve environmental outcomes related to land, air, water and GHGs.

44. Canada has committed to reducing methane emissions from oil and natural gas production by 45%. This would be the same as taking five million cars off the road permanently.

45. Canadian companies spend about $1.4 billion a year on clean technology investments—and 75 percent of that comes from our oil and natural gas industry.

Indigenous and Community

46. Canada’s oil and natural gas industry directly employs around 12,000 Indigenous workers and is one of the largest employers of Indigenous workers.

47. Oil sands companies spent $3.3 billion on procurement from Indigenous owned companies in 2015-2016.

48. The National Chiefs Coalition (NCC) is a coalition of First Nations chiefs who see responsible oil and natural gas production as a pathway to deal with on-reserve poverty.

49. In 2015 and 2016 total funding for community investment in the oil sands was $48.6 million.

50. In 2015 and 2016, 399 Indigenous businesses had direct business with oil sands producers.