Global energy demand is going nowhere but up. In the next 25 years, it’s estimated that about $25 trillion - with a ’T’ - will have to be invested in oil and gas in order to satisfy humanity’s energy needs.
That’s a huge number. All we as Canadians really need to know is this: That money is going to be invested somewhere.
This is an issue the world needs to take seriously. Those resources will have to come from somewhere, but very few of the countries who supply the world with energy share the commitment to environmental innovation and responsible energy that Canada has.
So, knowing this, how do we position Canada as the place to do it?
Pretty simple, really. We tell the truth.
With global demand for fossil fuels climbing for the foreseeable future, the world could not ask for a more vigilant and responsible energy-producing nation.
Because the world needs more oil and gas, and Canadians are doing the right thing by making sure more of that gas comes the clean and responsible Canadian way.
And while groups from the United States often attack Canadian oil and gas as the “world’s dirtiest oil”, it is ironically American research that shows that to be anything but true. Recent data from the California Low Fuel Standard show there are 13 oil fields in California and crude oil blends from at least six other countries that produce more greenhouse gasses than the Canadian oil sands.
The likes of Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, and Leonardo DiCaprio don’t need to look very far to see how wrong they are. The Placerita oil field - a stone’s throw away from the Hollywood hills - produces North America’s dirtiest oil, according to the same study.
As for the world’s dirtiest? Brass crude blend from Nigeria - Africa’s largest energy exporters. Its extraction process flares off so much methane that it produces more than four times the upstream greenhouse gas emissions as Canadian oil sands.
What does this all mean? This is where that $25 trillion is going to go if it doesn’t come to Canada.
It’s going to end up in Venezuela and Nigeria and southern California, where emissions are much higher and environmental standards not nearly as stringent.
Canada has always been home to the most upstanding petroleum industry in the world. We pay energy workers great wages and we uphold human rights and freedoms. Now, we have one of the cleanest, too.
That’s not to say we can’t do better. We can. And we are.
The Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, a group of oil sands companies formed in 2012 to improve environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands with new technologies, has invested $1.3 billion as of 2016.
Competitors Suncor and Cenovus have paired up to create a $100 million clean-tech fund to support technologies that, among other initiatives, reduce tailings ponds and steam-to-oil ratios.
And the same is true for the companies that move Canadian oil. Enbridge has invested more than $5 billion into renewable energy projects since 2002. Their renewable energy portfolio cranks out 2,200 megawatts, enough to power 700,000 Canadian homes. The same is true for TransCanada pipelines which was recognized with a score at the 100th percentile on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index
The truth is no other energy-producing country on the planet has demonstrated the kind of commitment to and capacity for environmentally responsible energy development.
Our standards are high. We have some of the most advanced technology in the world. And our product is getting cleaner every single day.
Essentially, more Canada will lead to a brighter world.
So if the world needs $25 Trillion in new oil development let’s do the responsible thing and make sure some of that market share comes to Canada.
By Brad Tennant
Canada's Energy Citizens