Canada is one of the most oil and gas-rich countries in the world and the oil and gas industry is important for the Canadian economy. Not only does it make a significant contribution to Canada’s GDP, but it is also a large employment sector, especially in provinces known for their oil and gas production.
In this article, we have collated key statistics on the oil and gas industry in Canada. We look at the current situation of the industry as well as what the future may hold for the Canadian oil and gas industry as people in Canada and across the world look for greener alternatives.
Oil and Gas Industry Statistics for Canadians
- Canada is the third most oil-rich country in the world with a 10.4% share of the world’s oil reserves.
- The gross revenue of the oil and gas industry was $174 billion in 2021.
- The total assets of oil and gas extraction companies were $452.9 billion in 2021.
- Alberta produces over 80% of oil in Canada.
- 75% of Canadian crude oil is exported to the United States.
- Canada has seventeen oil refineries with Alberta having the largest refining capacity.
- Alberta and British Columbia produce 98% of Canada’s natural gas.
- 179,200 people worked in the oil and gas industry in Canada in September 2023.
- Only 20% of the oil and gas employees are women and 8% are Indigenous people.
- The average salary across the oil, gas, mining, and energy industries in Canada is $108,000.
Oil and Gas Industry in Canada
Canada has significant reserves of conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources. Canadian oil production is focused in the west of the country, especially in Alberta. The oil reserves in Canada are the third largest in the world and represent 10.4% of the total oil reserves. The largest oil reserves are found in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which have 18.2% and 16.2% of the total reserves, respectively.
Canada also produces natural gas, with reserves in provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories. Producing natural gas involves extracting gas from underground reservoirs and processing it so it is suitable for various uses, such as heating.
The oil and gas market is expected to experience growth at a rate of over 1.8% per year between 2022 and 2027 despite the impact of COVID-19. During the pandemic, oil production in Canada fell by almost 20% from 5.5 million barrels per day in 2019.
The contribution to Canada’s GDP was $195 billion in 2020. In addition, the industry paid $12 billion in taxes, royalty payments, and leases between 2019 and 2021.
Oil and Gas Industry Revenue
The oil prices were at their highest level since 2015 in 2021 and the Canadian oil and gas industry was able to recover losses incurred during the pandemic. The total gross revenue in 2021 was $174 billion, which was an 85.7% increase from the previous year when the revenue was $93.7 billion.
Oil Industry Assets
The Canadian oil and gas extraction companies’ total assets were $452.9 billion in 2021. This was a 2.6% increase from 2020. Total capital assets were also up by 1.2% to $380 billion in 2021. As the net income increased, the shareholder’s equity rose by 4.4%. in 2020.
Alberta Produces the Vast Majority of Canadian Oil
Most of Canada’s crude oil is produced in the western parts of the country, particularly in Alberta. Around 94% of the oil production is in the west, with just 6%, in the east, centered in Newfoundland and Labrador.
According to Statista, Alberta produces 82.4% of Canada’s oil, Saskatchewan 10.4%, Manitoba 0.8%, and British Columbia 0.3%. Just 0.1% is produced in provinces outside these western provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador are the only provinces producing heavy oil.
Crude Oil is an Important Export for Canada
While Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world, it is the fifth largest producer of oil in the world after the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China. Due to the pandemic, Canadian oil exportation decreased by 2.7% in 2020. However, in total exporting oil has increased by 87% since 2010.
In addition to being the largest oil producer in the world, the United States is also the biggest buyer of Canadian oil. 75% of Canadian crude oil was sold to the United States in 2020. Of the other 25%, 21% was refined in Canada, and the rest was exported to other countries.
Refined Petroleum Production in Canada
Refined petroleum products (RPPs) are products refined from crude oil, which include diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and heating oil. It is the main energy type consumed by Canadian end users. There are seventeen oil refineries in Canada, with Alberta having the largest capacity to refine oil at 27%.
It is followed by Ontario with 20%, Quebec with 19%, and New Brunswick with 16%. Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia also have refining capacities. The largest refinery in Canada is in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Irving Oil Refinery can refine 320,000 barrels in a day.
Natural Gas and Liquids
According to the Canada Energy Regulator, Canada was the sixth biggest producer of natural gas in the world in 2020 with an average production of 15.5 billion cubic feet in a day. 98% of Canada’s natural gas originates in Alberta and British Columbia, with half of the natural gas production in Alberta. Smaller amounts of natural gas are produced in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories.
Employment in the Oil and Gas Industry
The Canadian oil and gas industry employed around 179,200 workers in September 2023 according to Careers in Energy. The number of workers increased by 1.6% from August 2023. The number of workers in the exploration and production sectors was up by 5.2% and 1.4% respectively. The services sector workforce increased by 1.1%.
The majority of jobs, 128,292, were in Alberta. Most of the workers in the industry are full-time employees. Only 4,500 workers worked part-time in March 2023. 160,900 are employed directly by the oil and gas industry companies, with just 13,300 being self-employed.
Oil and Gas Industry Worker Demographics
In April 2023, only 20% of workers in the oil and gas industry in Canada were women. The largest age group was the 35-44-year-olds, representing 34% of the total workforce. 24% were aged between 45 and 54, 19% were 25-34, 18% were over 55, and 5% were 15-24 years old.
In 2021, 8% of the industry employees were Indigenous people, which is higher than the 5.4% across all industries. However, the number of immigrant employees is lower within the oil and gas industry than overall, with 20.4% compared to 27.2%.
Career Options in the Oil and Gas Industry in Canada
There are many career options within the oil and gas industry in a range of categories, which include
- Business and Operations Support
- Environmental, Regulatory, and Stakeholder Engagement
- Geoscience Professionals
- Information Technology Roles
- Technicians and Technologists
Furthermore, there are several different job titles under each category. For example, a labourer in the oil and gas industry can work as a part of the marine engine room crew or as a field dispatcher. Engineering roles range from automation engineers to environmental engineers and roles in the operations side from administrative assistants to business development managers.
Average Salaries in the Oil and Gas Industry in Canada
There are large variations in the salaries within the Canadian oil and gas industry depending on the role a person is employed in. The average salary is $108,000 according to Salary Explorer. However, the lowest average salary is $39,100 and the highest average is $249,000. Salaries from the energy and mining industries are also included in these averages.
Some of the lower-paying jobs include a pipeline technician at $40,700, an oilwell pumper at $40,800, and a driller offsider with an average salary of $40,400. At the other end of the scale, are job titles such as a geologist with $200,000, a power plant operations manager with $216,000, and an electrical and gas operations manager with an average salary of $257,000.
The Future of the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry
It is estimated that by 2035 oil production in Canada will increase by approximately 1.27 million barrels per day. The production from oil sands is expected to be 4.25 million barrels per day by 2035 compared to 2.9 million barrels in 2018. The growth is slower than predicted by CAPP in its 2018 report, possibly because of the global shift towards cleaner energy sources.
The Canadian government, too, is committed to a transition to cleaner energy sources and aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, which could lead to a decreased demand for traditional oil and gas products. Considering the increased focus on green and sustainable energy, companies that reduce their carbon footprint and prioritize sustainably could be more likely to thrive in the future.
Canada has one of the biggest oil and natural gas reserves in the world and the oil and gas industry is important for the Canadian economy through its contribution to the GDP, taxes paid, and the number of people it employs, especially in provinces that are rich in oil and natural gas.
The industry is expected to continue growing in the future, although its growth rate could be impacted by the move towards greener and more sustainable energy sources both in Canada and across the globe.
Frequently Asked Questions
There were over 174,300 people working in the Canadian oil and gas industry in March 2023. The majority of the oil and gas industry jobs are in Alberta, which produces the most oil in Canada.
Much of Canada’s oil production is centered in the western parts of the country. Alberta is the biggest oil producer in Canada and produces 82.4% of the total. Saskatchewan is the second largest with a 10.4% share of the total. The only province in the east of the country that produces oil is Newfoundland and Labrador, which has a 6% share of the total oil production in Canada.
Alberta is also the biggest producer of natural gas in Canada followed by British Columbia. These two provinces provide 98% of the country’s natural gas with half of that produced in Alberta.
How much you can earn varies hugely depending on the job title. At the lower end of the payscale are jobs just as driller offsider with an average salary of $40,000 and at the higher end of the payscale are positions such as electrical and gas operations manager, with an average salary of $257,000.
There are some women working in the oil and gas industry in Canada, but they only represent one-fifth of the total workforce. Many of the roles held by women are administrative roles rather than in the field, for example, labourers or technicians.
Canada has some of the largest reserves of oil and gas in the world and the country will continue to produce both in the future and the industry is expected to continue growing. However, the growth is expected to be at a lower rate as countries, including Canada, continue to push toward more renewable and greener energy sources.