Hello all! My name is Arvind, and I am the UWPEA blog editor. This term we are rolling out the student blog: covering industry trends, co-op advice, and general oil and gas information. The writing lineup includes current students and alumni, along with guest bloggers from industry.
Comments are certainly welcome. Keep in mind that we are here to serve you, so if you have any suggestions for blog topics, feel free to contact us.
Below is the first article, which is focused on the scale of the oil sands and what it can do for Canada’s economy in the long term.
The Oil Sands: Canada as a global energy superpower.
In recent times, the oil sands have been at the center of great political and economic debate. Today I’d like to use a data-centric approach to provide some more insight into the oil sands. Specifically, I am looking at the “big picture”: expanding on why the oil sands is such a huge opportunity for Canada.
How much oil is really there?
The main reason for so much interest in the industry is simply the volume of resources available. Canada is actually sitting on one of the largest oil deposits in the world: almost 1.8 trillion barrels of oil exist in Alberta’s oil sands . With currently available technology, around 168.7 billion of those barrels are recoverable and considered reserves .
To put these numbers into perspective, let’s compare the proven reserves to other large oil producers. Here’s the top 10 oil reserves by country:
Two things stand out in this chart:
1. It is very clear that Canada has the resource endowment to compete with the “big boys” of the oil industry: e.g. Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela
2. Canada is the only western country on this list. In the long term, this gives us a very significant geo-political advantage over other oil exporters. Would the US, UK and Western Europe prefer to buy oil from the Middle East, or from Canada?
Investment & Production
It is one thing to have massive reserves, but how are we doing in terms of investment to develop these resources? Is the oil sands buzz reflected in investment numbers?
As we can see quite clearly the investment in oil and gas has increased dramatically since 2000, and is expected to stay relatively steady up until 2024.
It is easy to see what is so exciting about the oil industry in Canada today – we are expected to double oil sands production by 2020. While most other OCED countries are forecasted to have declining production rates, Canada is predicted to have rapid production growth due to the sheer volume of oil sands reserves available.
We are doing a very good job positioning ourselves to be an energy giant in the coming years – and the oil sands is the key.
 Alberta Energy. (2013). Facts and Statistics. Retrieved May 20, 2013, from Alberta Energy: http://www.energy.alberta.ca/oilsands/791.asp
 CIA World Factbook. (n.d.). Country Comparison – Oil – Proved Reserves. Retrieved May 20, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications//the-world-factbook/rankorder/2178rank.html
 Energy Resources Conservation Board. (2012). ST98: Alberta’s Energy Reserves & Supply/Demand Outlook 2012 Report – Economics Data Set. Retrieved March 20, 2013, from http://www.ercb.ca/data-and-publications/statistical-reports/st98
 Energy Resources Conservation Board. (2012). ST98: Alberta’s Energy Reserves & Supply/Demand Outlook 2012 Report – Crude Bitumen Data Set. Retrieved March 20, 2013, from http://www.ercb.ca/data-and-publications/statistical-reports/st98