Canada: World Oil Superpower
It is interesting to think about which countries in the world have the biggest oil reserves and how that even affects us. (Canada is in the top 3 – See the top 10 below) I find it interesting from an economic and security standpoint that Canada is the only country in the Top 5 that is not in the middle east and is democratic. Not to mention Canada shares the worlds longest undefended border with the worlds largest oil consumer (the USA).
World oil consumption is increasing and recently surpassed the peak set before the world wide recession. Political tensions in the Middle East are high especially with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, recent revolutions in Libya, Egypt and Bahrain and with continued disagreement between the Palestinians and Isreal on a long term solution to mend their rocky relationship. There has also been an ecological disaster the likes of which the world has not seen before in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. Governments are subsequently looking at off shore drilling with increased scrutiny(especially ultra deep off shore drilling which has been billed as a major source for increased future oil production.)
Why does any of this even matter? Well everything in our modern lives is only made possible because we have learned how to harness the energy and creativity stored within Oil. We have learned how to explore, produce, refine and use every last drop of each barrel (bunker fuel which is used in shipping is literally the bottom of the barrel). Canada’s oil reserves are extremely important for the future security of North America and the maintenance of our collective lifestyle. Have you ever thought about what would happen if the middle east turned off the taps? What if shipping was affected by submarine attack and naval warfare as in world war 2 ? What if there was no gasoline available anywhere within 500KM ? Everything from the transportation of food to the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals would be drastically affected. Our cherished “western” way of life would be brutally and shockingly disrupted. Canada on the other hand is a safe, solid, politically stable, friendly, NATO member country located in North America, occupying the worlds second largest country by land area.
Canada has the oil sands, significant oil production throughout the Western Canadian Sedimentarty Basin and from off shore fields in the Atlantic. On a local level Alberta is home to about 95% of Canada’s oil reserves. Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and is the main hub for most energy companies in Canada. Calgary has the second highest concentration of head offices in Canada, no provincial sales taxes, universal health care and enjoys a quality of life that is hard to rival anywhere in the world. Calgary ranked 5th best city to live in the WORLD by the Economists livability survey for 2010 and 2011, plus was ranked the 3rd most prosperous city to live out of 24 ranked in this year’s Toronto Board of Trade Prosperity Index. Recently Alberta was forecast by the Alberta Treasury Branch to have the worlds 4th best GDP growth. This is a ranking of countries and Alberta as a province came in 4th, with the whole of Canada behind in 5th.
Looking at the list of top 10 countries by oil reserves puts things in focus, Canada may be top 3 in world oil reserves but more then just having reserves, you must be able to produce those reserves in a stable ,long term manner. Canada is the only country in the TOP 10 that is really, truly stable and open to investment. Think: Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria… all of those countries have political interference or armed conflicts affecting who can invest how much in producing oil from their reserves. Major major oil projects can take anywhere from 5-10 years to bring on stream. Canada on the other hand has almost every major oil company in the world working in some capacity to develop Canada’s estimated 170+ Billion barrels of oil in a friendly, free, democratic, developed country.
Another major variable that is of significant importance to the past, present and future development of those 170+ billion barrels is the main buyer of that oil is America. The US imports about 2 Million barrels of oil per day from Canada and still several Million barrels of oil per day from OPEC member countries. One way to reduce American dependence on foreign oil and bolster national energy security is to get as much oil as possible from friendly, easy to access countries like Canada. The Oil Sands currently produce around 1.8 Million Barrels of oil per day with estimates of a potential production level of 3.2 Million barrels of oil per day by 2020 and 5.1 MMBLS/D by 2035
In my opinion Canada is a world oil superpower. What do you think?
Top 10 Countires by Oil Reserves and my notes beside each country (CIA world factbook)
- Saudi Arabia* – Located in the Middle East, All oil must be shipped by super tanker to port
- Venezuela* – Political interference, Nationalization, Not open to investment, Not USA friendly
- Canada – 13% of worlds total oil reserves in a close, safe, friendly, democratic, peaceful country
- Iran – Nuclear ambitions, UN Sanctions, USA Sanctions, Needs massive investment , Middle East
- Iraq – War 2003-2010, Security issues, Middle East, Needs Major Investment
- Kuwait – Located in Middle East
- UAE – Located in Middle East
- Russia – Political encroachment into Oil and gas Industry, Needs massive investment
- Libya – Political turmoil, Lack of investment, Located in Middle East
- Nigeria- Armed conflict
Sources :Wikipedia, EIA, CAPP, IEA, ATB, Economist, TBOT,
* Currently some discussion between opec, o&gj, iea, eia and others on ranking of #1 & #2.