Let’s tell our own story

It’s December again, and for Canada’s oil and gas industry it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. After moderate gains in 2017, the past two years for our sector have been incredibly difficult, and 2019 was another step in the wrong direction.

Through Q3 we are currently 16,495 operating days below our original forecast, and expect to finish the year over 23,000 days shy of expectations, which were muted to begin with. Punitive legislation changes in the form of bills C-48 and C-69, and a continued struggle for market access have, among other things, left Canadian oil and gas workers with little to be optimistic about. It would appear that widely publicized anti-oil protest movements have led to the perception that people, young and old, in the western world seem to believe we can, and must, live without oil and gas.

Fortunately, however, the truth has a way of shaping outcomes. Albertans and Canadians in oil and gas know the truth about our industry because they are the ones who make it great. They don’t leave their Canadian values at home when they get up and go to work, and for this reason, we should feel confident and proud that our industry will always adapt and succeed regardless of the challenges presented.

“Albertans and Canadians in oil and gas know the truth about our industry because they are the ones who make it great.”

In May of this year, oil and gas families received a beacon of hope when Premier Jason Kenney was elected Premier of Alberta. Together with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Mr. Kenney has been working hard on behalf of the oil and gas sector to reduce red tape, and attract investment. Immediately following their election victory in the spring, Mr. Kenney’s government has worked collaboratively with industry on implementing common sense energy policies, and with that, has brought a renewed sense of optimism.

And in case you haven’t noticed, we’ve seen, amid the barrage of anti-industry sentiment, a few projects battle through to the development stages. Enbridge’s Line 3 is nearing completion, and will open space for an additional 375,000 barrels per day. LNG Canada, in Kitimat, BC, is also proceeding according to plan, and by 2025 should be ready to ship Canadian LNG that will have one of the lowest GHG profiles on the production side in the world. Both of these projects should bring some short-term resolve, and mid-term promise to our beleaguered workers and families. Why? Because the truth about Canadian oil and gas is that it can help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, pull people out of energy poverty, improve air quality, and raise quality of life and the standard of living for people at home, and around the world.

Despite the challenges, progress is being made. When we put our heads together, the women and men in our industry can do great things. We’ve seen it before, and I’m confident we will see it again.

Mark Scholz is President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.