Canada’s Natural Resources – Energy

Alberta from the Air by mjb84
Alberta from the Air by Mark

Canada, as a net exporter of energy and the world’s sixth largest energy producer, plays an important role in the global market. Although its biggest trading partner is traditionally the U.S., it has taken steps to diversify its trading and attract foreign investors to cooperate. New investments are flowing into the energy sector, improving its efficiency, technologies, and development. Canada’s trade surplus is often supported by energy export gains. It is a sector that Canada could rely on even in times of deep economic recession.

Canada — Net Energy Exporter, Alberta — Energy Leader

According to Natural Resources Canada, the energy sector contributed to 6.7 per cent ($80.2 billion) of Canada’s GDP in 2009 — the biggest share among natural resources, and generated 207,000 jobs — less than minerals and metals but more than forestry. The leading energy province is Alberta, which provides 64 per cent of Canada’s energy production, followed by British Columbia (13 per cent), Saskatchewan (7 per cent), Quebec (5 per cent), and Ontario (3 per cent). While Alberta is the largest producer of fossil fuels, Quebec is the largest producer of hydroelectricity, and Ontario produces the most nuclear energy.

Canada produces energy for both domestic consumption and export. Over 20 per cent of Canada’s capital investments went to energy development, and energy amounted to more than 21 per cent of Canada’s total export, at $77.9 billion, while Canadians imported energy worth only $34.0 billion. The energy trade balance ranked first as a contributor to Canada’s positive overall trade balance.

New Investments in Energy Sector

In September 2011, Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, announced that the government will be investing $78 million over the next two years to create new jobs in the energy sector and improve energy efficiency in buildings, industries, vehicles, and consumer appliances.

“Canadians gave our Government a strong mandate to complete our economic recovery and focus on continued job growth,” said Minister Oliver, speaking in Ottawa. “Support for energy efficiency is an effective way to both create high-quality jobs for Canadians and save homeowners money.”

Canada is now looking at China as a new source of investments. This month, Joe Oliver promoted the Canadian energy sector in Beijing and Shanghai, and he also signed an agreement with the President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to support cooperation on science and technology in earth sciences and natural resources.

The Pipeline by Laurigorham
The Pipeline by Laurigorham

“As reaffirmed today in the International Energy Agency’s 2011 World Outlook, global energy demand is expected to increase by one third from 2010 to 2035,” he said. “Given that Canada is also projected to be an ever-increasing contributor to global energy supply, our Chinese investors recognize the importance of getting into the Canadian energy market right now.” Minister Oliver will continue his promotion to Tokyo and Sendai in Japan.

The most important project for Albertans is the Keystone XL Pipeline. The proposed 2,736-kilometre pipeline would carry oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma to refineries in Texas. Canadians are now waiting for U.S. approval, and at the beginning of this month, Alberta Premier Alison Redford went to Washington to talk to U.S. lawmakers about the future of the project. Farmers, environmentalists, and Hollywood celebrities, as well as politicians, protest against the project, saying that it would bring dirty oil that represents an ecological danger.

The Energy Sector Today

An unexpectedly strong energy export rate returned Canada’s trade balance to a surplus in September after seven months of strong deficits, Statistics Canada reported this month. Exports of petroleum and coal products grew 36.4 per cent to $2.0 billion — the highest value since the peak in July 2008. The main reason was a more than 20 per cent increase in volumes after the reopening of some refineries. Crude petroleum prices increased 10.2 per cent, and energy products prices grew by 8 per cent. The report also showed that Canada made progress in reducing its dependence on the US by diversifying its export market. China is one of the country’s most promising trade partners now.

Calgary: Depending on Oil and Gas

Upstroke by Alex
Upstroke by Alex

The energy sector affects every aspect of Calgarians‘ lives. The majority of Canada’s oil and gas production companies, major pipeline operators, oilfield service and drilling companies, and energy-related engineering and consulting firms have their home in Calgary, including TransCanada Corporation, Enbridge, Terasen Pipelines, and Alliance Pipeline. Calgary also boasts the highest concentration of engineering workers in Canada, with one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the world. While the strong energy sector remains a top economic force, Calgary’s economy will be strong. This sector is rather independent from the rest of the country. If you want to assess Calgary’s prospects, just keep tabs on energy prices, said the report Emerging Trends in Real Estate. The approval of the pipeline would remarkably improve Calgary’s economic performance.

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