petroleum production

Petroleum production in Canada

Petroleum production is a major industry in Canada. In 2005, almost 25,000 new oil wells were spud (drilled) in Canada. Daily, over 100 new wells are spud in the province of Alberta alone .

The petroleum industry in Canada is also referred to as the Canadian "Oil Patch"; the term refers especially to upstream operations (exploration and production of oil and gas), and to a lesser degree to downstream operations (refining, distribution, and selling of oil and gas products).


The Canadian petroleum industry arose in parallel with that of the United States, but developed in quite a different way. Canada's unique geography, geology, resources and patterns of settlement have been key factors in the history of Canada. The development of the petroleum sector helps illustrate how they have helped make the nation quite distinct from her neighbour to the south.


Most exploration and production occurs in Alberta, with a significant number of operations in British Columbia—particularly in winter—and consistent activity in Saskatchewan. Drilling from large offshore platforms occurs on the Newfoundland continental shelf.


Alberta is the largest producer of conventional crude oil, synthetic crude, natural gas and gas products in Canada. Two of the largest producers of petrochemicals in North America are located in central and north central Alberta. In both Red Deer and Edmonton, world class polyethylene and vinyl manufacturers produce products shipped all over the world, and Edmonton's oil refineries provide the raw materials for a large petrochemical industry to the east of Edmonton. There are hundreds of small companies in Alberta dedicated to providing all sorts of services to this industry—from drilling to well maintenance, pipeline maintenance to seismic exploration.

The Athabasca Oil Sands (previously known as the Athabasca Tar Sands) have estimated oil reserves in excess of that of the rest of the world, estimated to be 1.6 trillion barrels (254 km³). With the advancement of extraction methods, bitumen and economical synthetic crude are produced at costs nearing that of conventional crude. This technology grew and developed in Alberta. Many companies employ both conventional strip mining and non-conventional methods to extract the bitumen from the Athabasca deposit. With current technology, only 315 billion barrels (50 km³) are recoverable. Fort McMurray, one of Canada's youngest and liveliest communities (Alberta's largest unincorporated hamlet), has grown up entirely because of the large multinational corporations which have taken on the task of oil production.

While Edmonton is considered the pipeline junction, manufacturing, chemical processing, research and refining centre of the province, Calgary is known for its senior and junior oil company head offices.

Major oil fields are found in southeast Alberta (Brooks, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge), northwest (Grande Prairie, High Level, Rainbow Lake, Zama), central (Caroline, Red Deer), and northeast (Athabasca Oil Sands)

Structural regions include: Foothills, Greater Arch, Deep Basin.

  • Oil and gas activity is regulated by the Alberta Energy and Utility Board (EUB).

British Columbia

Drilling for gas and oil in the Peace Country of north-eastern British Columbia, around Fort Nelson (Greater Sierra oil field), Fort St. John (Pink Mountain, Border Ring) and Dawson Creek

  • Oil and gas activity is regulated by the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC).


  • A few rigs drilling for gas in southern Manitoba


  • Mostly shallow gas wells in southwestern Saskatchewan (Hatton, Cypress Hill) and the southeast (Lougheed, Weir Hill), heavy oil extraction around Lloydminster.
  • Oil and gas activity is regulated by the Saskatchewan Industry and Resources (SIR) .

Northern Canada (onshore)

Northern Canada (offshore)

  • Production in the Beaufort Sea off the Mackenzie Delta.
  • Sporadic drilling along the continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea.

Eastern Canada (onshore)

Eastern Canada (offshore)

Major players

The country's four largest integrated refiners are Imperial Oil, Husky Energy, Petro-Canada, and Suncor Energy. In 2007 Canada's four biggest oil companies brought in record profits of $11.75 billion, up 10 percent from $10.72 billion in 2006. Revenues for the Big Four climbed to $80 bilion from about $72 billion in 2006. The numbers exclude Shell Canada and ConocoPhillips Canada, two private subsidiaries that produced almost 500,000 barrels per day in 2006. Vancouver Sun

See also

Oil Fields of Canada


External links

Search another word or see petroleum productionon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature