Alberta’s economy has always led Canada’s per capita growth consistently for the past 20 years and is expected to retain its position this year too. Though Alberta’s economy is diversified, the oil and gas industry has a lion’s share in this economic growth. During the 70’s, the oil industry dominated Alberta’s economy which later dipped to a lower percentage. Innovations in the oil and gas industry services have given the oil and gas industry a new lease of life which now commands a little over a quarter of Alberta’s GDP.
In 1913, the first oil reserves were found in Turner Valley, near Calgary city and by 1920’s Calgary had become a well known oil city. The period from 1948-65 was very crucial for the oil industry with oil wells coming up in Redwater, Golden Spike, Fenn-Big Valley Wizard Lake, Acheson, Bonnie Glen, Westerose, Pembina, Swan Hills and Rainbow Lake. 1970’s was the golden period of oil production for Alberta with almost 40% of the economy dominated by the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry suffered vastly due to interference by the federal government and drop in oil prices in the 80’s. Ever since the 1980’s debacle, the industry hasn’t been able to reach its former glory.
The oil and gas technology and services industry
The oil and gas technology and services industry has supplemented the growth of Alberta’s economy and is instrumental in the development of Alberta’s unconventional oil and gas reserves.
– Products and services
This is an important industry sector focused on upstream related oil and gas equipment and services. Multilateral drilling technologies, non-invasive drilling fluids, swell packer stimulation technologies, coiled tubing expertise and benefits, innovative pumping technologies, non-traditional well configurations and geo-steering of horizontal wells in real time are its major focus areas.
– Oil and Gas Equipment
The Government of Alberta has pledged its support in improving extraction technologies for conventional oil extraction like advanced seismic and horizontal drilling.
– Research and Development
Research and development is necessary in the oil and gas industry to keep it relevant to the times with traditional practices becoming redundant. Alberta Innovates, Alberta Sulphur Research Ltd, Canadian Centre for Energy, C-FER Technologies and many other companies are working for innovative ways of oil and gas extraction and processing.
The Oil and Gas industry has almost doubled in size from 2001 to 2011 to the tune of $25 billion owing to the large increase in drilling activity. The current production of natural gas is about 4 tcf (trillion cubic feet) which is consumed in the local Canadian market as well as exported to the US markets. In 2011, the revenue generated by exports in this sector totalled $3 billion which was far less than previous year’s sales. Alberta is expected to produce 3.7 million barrels of bitumen per day by 2021 which would be a dramatic increase in the current production of 1.7 million barrels per day.
The oil and gas industry has always been the back bone of Alberta’s economy and though it may not perform like before, it is safe to say that it has not lost its shine yet!