President’s Message: The Best is Yet to Come

Originally published in the CAOEC State of the Industry 2021 Report and 2022 Forecast

As 2021 comes to a close, I couldn’t be prouder to represent Canada’s energy service sector in my role at the CAOEC.

Time and time again, we’ve shown fellow Canadians we have the tools, technology, and know-how to make the impossible, possible. In addition to safely developing oil and natural gas, this year we’ve seen members step up and lend their expertise to drill for alternative energy resources such as geothermal, hydrogen, helium, and lithium.

After the last few years we’ve had, it would’ve been easy to give up. And believe me, I know some were forced to make the difficult decision to move on from our energy sector. However, there are many of us who are still here, and we can’t give up now.

The beginning of 2021 provided us with the confidence needed to move forward from the lows of 2020. Commodity prices were on the rise, and talks of vaccinations and economies opening back up provided us with optimism after the fallout of the pandemic. We expected a gradual rebound in energy usage due to economies reopening, and were pleasantly surprised to see the world consuming energy at pre-pandemic levels by the summer, and oil prices reaching seven-year highs by early October.

This fall, we saw Enbridge Line 3 come into service, doubling the line’s export capacity to 760,000 barrels per day. The Line 3 Replacement Project marked the first major Canadian oil pipeline expansion to be completed in six years. We are hopeful other projects such as the Trans Mountain Expansion, Coastal GasLink, Alberta’s NGTL system expansion, and LNG Canada will be completed in the years ahead.

Energy projects should be prioritized as they are vital to Canada’s energy future and economic recovery. If we’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s how valuable our natural resources are. With winter on the way, the world needs reliable oil, natural gas, and LNG. We’ve seen global energy shortages increase commodity pricing, effect supply chains, and impact consumers. Canada must ensure it has the necessary export capacity to provide our best-in-class energy to the world to prevent further shortages. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), oil demand is forecast to rise by 3.3 million barrels per day in 2022, and I believe we should be the global supplier of choice.

As we head into 2022, we continue to be optimistic for our industry. Canada is starting down the path of an energy transition, and we have a great opportunity to be the premium provider of responsibly developed natural resources with the highest environmental, social, and governance standards.

With an abundance of opportunities in front of us, there is no better time for people to join the industry. Canada’s energy sector directly employs more than 282,000 people and supports over 55,500 jobs, and we still have many opportunities for growth. There is a bright future ahead and we will need hardworking women and men to help make the net-zero emissions vision a reality.

With a recovery well underway in the industry, we will continue to push forward as we build on our legacy and embark on our journey towards Canada’s clean energy future. It will certainly be a challenge, but there’s no challenge too big when we work together. The best is yet to come in Canada’s energy sector.

Mark A. Scholz is President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors.