Canada could have been an energy superpower. Instead we became a bystander – by Heather Exner-Pirot (MacDonald – October 3, 2023)


Government has imposed a series of regulatory burdens on the energy industry, creating confusion, inefficiency, and expense

Oil arguably remains the most important commodity in the world today. It paved the way for the industrialization and globalization trends of the post-World War II era, a period that saw the fastest human population growth and largest reduction in extreme poverty ever. Its energy density, transportability, storability, and availability have made oil the world’s greatest source of energy, used in every corner of the globe.

There are geopolitical implications inherent in a commodity of such significance and volume. The contemporary histories of Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq are intertwined with their roles as major oil producers, roles that they have used to advance their (often illiberal) interests on the world stage.

It is fair to ask why Canada has never seen fit to advance its own values and interests through its vast energy reserves. It is easy to conclude that its reluctance to do so has been a major policy failure.

Canada has been blessed with the world’s third largest reserves of oil, the vast majority of which are in the oil sands of northern Alberta, although there is ample conventional oil across Western Canada and offshore Newfoundland and Labrador as well. The oil sands contain 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, of which just under 10 percent, or 165 billion barrels, are technically and economically recoverable with today’s technology. Canada currently extracts over 1 billion barrels of that oil each year.

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