Fossil Fuel

Oil and Gas Canada: News on Canada’s Energy

Oil and Gas Canada: News on Canada's Energy

As the second-largest country in the world by land mass, Canada is rich in resources. Its energy generation comprises a diverse mix of oil, gas, coal, nuclear, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind. Accounting for 38.7 and 35.2 per cent respectively, oil and gas in Canada constitute the vast majority of the country’s energy sources.1 

Will fossil fuels continue to dominate energy production? A profound change is needed to meet the Paris Agreement’s net zero emissions targets. Renewables currently provide about 18.9 per cent of Canada’s energy supply. Wind and solar are the fastest-growing sources of Canadian electricity. Environmentalists hope that clean energy will usurp fossil fuels in the near future.2

How many oil and gas pipelines from Canada are in the US? 

31 oil and 39 natural gas pipelines currently operate between Canada and the US.3 98 per cent of Canada’s oil exports go to the US market.4 But, plans to expand the available cross-border pipelines have met with regulatory, legal and environmental obstacles.5 

The Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline was initially proposed in 2008. Its purpose was to transport 830,000 barrels of Albertan oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas.6 This would dramatically increase production in Canada’s oil sands region. Critics have fiercely opposed the venture on environmental grounds.

They argue that extracting and processing bitumen from oil sands generates 2.2 times as many emissions per barrel than the average crude.7 Its production leaves behind copious amounts of toxic tailings fluid, which is extremely harmful to animals.8 Oil sands bitumen is also thicker, more acidic and more corrosive to pipelines than conventional crude.9 Between 2007 and 2010, oil sands pipelines in Midwestern states spilled three times more per mile than the US average for conventional crude, according to a study.10 

These factors have led US President Biden to cancel the Keystone XL permit immediately after taking office. Its progress has been halted and production growth in Alberta’s oil sands has thwarted.11

Which region in Canada produces most of Canada’s natural gas and oil?

Alberta is the largest producer of oil and natural gas in Canada.12 The province holds the third-largest oil reserves in the world, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.13 Developing the oil sands region has created the biggest industrial development project on Earth.14 In the fiscal year 2018 to 2019, 11 per cent of Canada’s total government revenue came from Alberta’s oil and gas resources.15 

Canada’s oil sands deposits are located beneath northern Alberta’s boreal forest. To obtain the bitumen, either surface mining or in-situ extraction must be undertaken. Surface mining necessitates clearing trees, draining bogs and removing underlying soils. It, therefore, requires the destruction of ecosystems and the degradation of the boreal forest. In-situ extraction affects less of the land surface, but the environment is still damaged by infrastructure development, such as roads, pipelines and processing facilities.16 

What’s next for Canada’s energy generation?

The renewable energy sector has enjoyed considerable growth in recent years. For instance, hydropower has been increasing steadily in Canada since 2010. It provides more than 60 per cent of the country’s electricity generation and makes Canada the world’s third-largest hydroelectricity producer. Wind power is also expanding rapidly. Thanks to the geography of Canada, wind can be employed successfully across any of its provinces. Wind generated 5.1 per cent of Canada’s electricity in 2018, and it is set to continue to prosper.17 

The price of oil suffered throughout 2020, and the future of Canada’s crude production is uncertain. Likewise, the Keystone XL pipeline’s cancellation is a serious setback that will help curtail Alberta’s oil and gas sector. Canada’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 points to a transition to clean renewable energy sources over the coming years.18

Sources

  1. CAPP. (2019). Types of Energy in Canada | Canada’s Energy Resources | CAPP. [online] Available at: https://www.capp.ca/energy/canadas-energy-mix/.
  2. Canada, N.R. (2009). about-renewable-energy. [online] www.nrcan.gc.ca. Available at: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/our-natural-resources/energy-sources-distribution/renewable-energy/about-renewable-energy/7295.
  3. Canada, N.R. (2009). about-renewable-energy. [online] www.nrcan.gc.ca. Available at: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/our-natural-resources/energy-sources-distribution/renewable-energy/about-renewable-energy/7295.
  4. Canada, N.R. (2009). about-renewable-energy. [online] www.nrcan.gc.ca. Available at: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/our-natural-resources/energy-sources-distribution/renewable-energy/about-renewable-energy/7295.
  5. CAPP. (n.d.). Canada Pipeline Maps & Facts | Trans Mountain Pipeline, Keystone XL, Enbridge Line 3. [online] Available at: https://www.capp.ca/explore/oil-and-natural-gas-pipelines/.
  6. Denchak, M. (2019). What Is the Keystone Pipeline? [online] NRDC. Available at: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/what-keystone-pipeline.
  7. Institute, P. (n.d.). The Real GHG trend: Oilsands among the most carbon intensive crudes in North America. [online] Pembina Institute. Available at: https://www.pembina.org/blog/real-ghg-trend-oilsands#:~:text=When%20looking%20at%20the%20carbon.
  8. Energyeducation.ca. (2018). Oil sands tailings ponds – Energy Education. [online] Available at: https://energyeducation.ca/encyclopedia/Oil_sands_tailings_ponds.
  9. Denchak, M. (2019). What Is the Keystone Pipeline? [online] NRDC. Available at: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/what-keystone-pipeline.
  10. Denchak, M. (2019). What Is the Keystone Pipeline? [online] NRDC. Available at: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/what-keystone-pipeline.
  11. the Guardian. (2021). Biden killed the Keystone Pipeline. Good, but he doesn’t get a climate pass just yet | Nick Estes. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/28/joe-biden-keystone-pipeline-climate-crisis [Accessed 17 Feb. 2021].
  12. CAPP. (n.d.). Canada Oil Production | The Industry Across Canada. [online] Available at: https://www.capp.ca/economy/industry-across-canada/#:~:text=current%20demand%20levels.- [Accessed 17 Feb. 2021].
  13. Alberta.ca. (2017). Oil sands facts and statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.alberta.ca/oil-sands-facts-and-statistics.aspx.
  14. Global Energy Monitor. (2020). Alberta Tar Sands. [online] Available at: https://www.gem.wiki/Alberta_Tar_Sands#:~:text=The%20tar%20sands%20of%20Northern [Accessed 17 Feb. 2021].
  15. CAPP. (n.d.). Canada Oil Production | The Industry Across Canada. [online] Available at: https://www.capp.ca/economy/industry-across-canada/#:~:text=current%20demand%20levels.-.
  16. Yale.edu. (2013). Mining in the Boreal – Tar Sands | Global Forest Atlas. [online] Available at: https://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/boreal-forest/land-use/mining-boreal-tar-sands.
  17. Nrcan.gc.ca. (2016). Renewable energy facts | Natural Resources Canada. [online] Available at: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/science-data/data-analysis/energy-data-analysis/energy-facts/renewable-energy-facts/20069.
  18. OilPrice.com. (n.d.). Is This The End Of Alberta’s Oil Industry? [online] Available at: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Is-This-The-End-Of-Albertas-Oil-Industry.html.
Related posts
BlogFossil Fuel

Everything You Need to Know About Fossil Fuel Power

BlogFossil Fuel

What is the most abundant fossil fuel?

Sign up for our Newsletter and
stay informed