Canada is the fifth-largest oil producer in the world. The industry produces 3.8 million barrels per day. Our oil comes from both conventional and unconventional sources. Conventional oil reserves are recovered through an oil well – with a pump jack, for example. Canada has been producing this way for over a century. Today, there are roughly four billion barrels of conventional oil left to recover, located primarily in Alberta, Saskatchewan and off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Unconventional oil is much more abundant in Canada. There are roughly 168 billion barrels of unconventional oil yet to be recovered. Most of this oil is in the oil sands, which are a bit more complicated to extract from, compared to conventional oil. The oil is mixed with rock, sand and other substances, so it requires special technology for extraction. Fortunately, this technology is well-developed and the industry can now produce oil from the oil sands much easier.
So what happens to Canadian oil once it is out of the ground? Oil travels via pipeline to a refinery where it is turned into products like gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and plastic, among other everyday essentials. More than 30 per cent of Canadian oil is refined in Canada, with the rest being shipped mainly to refineries in the U.S.
- Global demand creates an opportunity for Canadian oil to supply countries all over the world.
- The oil sands are the future of Canada’s oil industry; they contain 97 per cent of Canada’s recoverable oil.
- In Atlantic Canada, tankers safely move hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day and have done so for decades.