Who will chart the course for Canadian oil and gas?

President’s Message by Mark Scholz

There is an old leadership maxim that says: “anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” In October, Canadians will be asked to choose a person and a party to lead our country for the next four years, and those of us who support the struggling oil and gas industry should be asking two important questions: which federal parties have planned a course for our sector, and what is that course?

There are some who would have you believe the only course for oil and gas in Canada, and the rest of the world, is towards extinction. Despite the world using 100 million barrels per day (bpd), their plan for oil and gas is zero consumption as soon as possible. What this means for the present is no new oil and gas infrastructure, divesting from fossil fuel corporations, implementing carbon taxes, and creating policy to discourage sector investment.

“There are some who would have you believe the only course for oil and gas in Canada, and the rest of the world, is towards extinction.”

The rationale for this course of action is based on fear-inspiring predictions of catastrophic climate change and an inhospitable planet. It is also peppered with suggestions that those who don’t agree are greedy, ignorant, or in denial. What it doesn’t come with, are any serious considerations surrounding the loss of jobs and GDP that such a course would create, not to mention how the resulting energy demand will be replaced.

There are others who see a different course for Canadian oil and gas. Their course is towards development because they see a distinction between Canada’s industry, and its global competitors’. Those supporting development understand the complexity of meeting the energy demands of over seven billion people, and the science of hydrocarbons. They acknowledge the tremendous strides Canada’s industry has taken, as well as the benefits of exporting Canada’s products and technology. And perhaps most importantly, they recognize the progress industry has made in reducing emissions, and believe it can deliver both environmental stewardship and economic prosperity.

At current consumption levels, and given the growth of the world’s population, it is clear a healthy demand for oil will continue. Given Canada currently produces only five million bpd, why wouldn’t we look at growing our market share in this environment? In sales terms, Canada has the people, technology, and a premium brand of fossil fuels that confront the objections of consumers who demand a higher standard.

When construction on the CP Railway was completed in 1885, it was part of a plan to transport goods and people across this vast, new country to support its growth, success, and future. Fortunately, in 1885 Canadians were largely supportive of developing the means to increase prosperity, because the standard of living in our country at the time was, although full of promise, not what it is today.

One hundred and thirty-four years later, Canadians are fortunate to have one of the best standards of living on the planet. Unfortunately, however, our good fortune has led some to forget how we attained it in the first place—by developing and exporting our natural resources (read: hard work), technology, and talent.

Canada needs a solid plan for oil and gas and the leadership and political will to follow through on it. This October, if you support Canadian oil and gas, choose a party and a leader with a plan for the success and growth of our industry.

1 Comment

  1. It’s time to remove the stigma that special interests and politicians have placed on Canadian Oil & Gas.

    Face it, the world is not significantly switching off fossil fuels for the next 20-40 years. Yet the globe can switch to the highest performing, lowest impact and ethically produced oil&gas the world has to offer, at no additional cost!

    If Canada adjusts our policies and political will we can control more of the supply and production. With more production comes more prosperity and INFLUENCE.

    If Canadians want to make a difference in the domestic and global direction of fossils fuel performance and use, our O&G sector needs to get bigger not smaller.

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