Canadians need to get with the program and realize how vital Alberta's oilsands are to the economy, says a new report.
Deloitte Canada's report, Gaining Ground in the Sands 2013, says the oilsands are crucial to Canada's prosperity and will drive the country's economy for the next 25 to 30 years.
The report also calls for more national collaboration, more pipelines and dialogue that avoids "a climate of antagonism."
"Proponents of development argue in favor of the economic benefits while opponents argue those benefits aren't worth the environmental risk," said the report. "From our perspective, growth of oilsands is key to continued growth in Canadian prosperity."
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If unhindered, it's estimated that expected investment in the oilsands will result in 100,000 new jobs a year for the next 13 years, either directly or in companies supplying goods and services.
As much as 54% of the benefits accrued from ongoing investments in the Alberta oilsands will stay in Alberta.
Ontario Gets Its Share
Within Canada, the biggest winner outside Alberta is Ontario, which is expected to benefit from 10,000 new jobs per year.
B.C. Gets A Little Smaller Share
British Columbia comes next with approximately 5,400 new jobs per year. Alberta and B.C. are currently locked in a fight surrounding the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry bitumen from the Alberta oilsands to the B.C. coast for shipping to Asian markets.
The prairies would gain 2,700 new jobs per year.
Quebec would benefit from approximately 2,500 new jobs a year.
Atlantic Canada can expect to see approximately 530 jobs a year, says the study.
The Rest Of The World
Other countries will reap approximately 27 per cent of the benefits from continued, expected investment in the oilsands. In the U.S., 8,300 jobs a year
The biggest benefactor of continued investment in the oilsands outside Alberta would be the U.S., with 8,300 new jobs being created each year.But the benefits for the U.S. extend beyond mere jobs alone.
The toll of the oilsands has been in the spotlight this week, after two reports were released with findings that do not bode well for the impact of oilsands projects on the environment.
In one report, federal researchers found evidence that contaminants from Alberta's oilsands are traveling more than 100 kilometres and settling on the bottom of remote lakes, potentially creating a toxic environment for lake inhabitants. The other study found that Canadian oilsands product refined in the United States emit nine per cent more carbon on average than other forms of refined fuel; a three per cent increase over previous findings.
Co-author of the Deloitte report, Marc Joiner, told the Edmonton Journal that there's a common misconception amongst Canadians that the oil industry ignores the environmental impacts of their work. Rather, he said, it's the absence of education and facts that leads many to harbour anti-oilsands views based on second hand knowledge.
"Our report never suggested this process of increasing literacy on energy would be easy and there is no silver bullet. But it has to happen," Joiner told the Journal. "We have to find a way to engage the dissidents, because with facts, opinions can be changed or at least moderated."
The report highlights the benefits of expansion of the Canadian oilsands to include 905,000 new jobs by 2035, $2.1 trillion in economic activity and $5 billion annually in spending and supplies to provinces outside of Alberta.
However, there are some suggesting that Alberta could be in trouble if it continues to approve oilsands projects. The International Energy Agency (IEA) analyzed demand for future oilsands projects under several scenarios and in each scenario they found global demand for oilsands in 2035 is well below what has currently been approved.
And while the IEA recognizes "production from Canadian oilsands is set to continue to grow over the projection period, making an important contribution to the world's energy security," they conclude that most of the future demand for Alberta oil can be accomplished by current projects.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology backs up the IEA's findings with their own study, Canada's Bitumen Industry Under CO2 Contraints, finding that Alberta's oilsands will struggle as more countries, developed and developing, begin to closer examine their climate policies.
"The Canadian oil sands industry appears highly vulnerable to climate policy. This vulnerability stems from the fact that CO2 emissions from the production of bitumen and upgrading are substantial and demand for petroleum products would be reduced with climate policy...When there is substantial participation of developing countries in a climate policy there appears to be little role for Canadian oilsands at least through the 2050 time horizon of our analysis. The main reason for this being that the demand for petroleum falls, and oilsands, with or without CCS, are not competitive with conventional petroleum."
Regardless of how future demand for Alberta oilsands is perceived, however, Deloitte's report suggests that a lack of pipeline capacity at the moment is causing Canadian producers and governments to lose more than $27 million in revenue every day and says that the U.S. approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline is essential to improve revenues.
"Canadians must understand that the oil sands are an indispensable economic asset that should be bringing the country together, not driving it apart," Geoff Hill, who heads Deloitte's national oil and gas practice, said in a statement.
"And more than anything, that's going to take a bit of compromise among the provinces as well as other competing interests to ensure we all reap the rewards."
Also on HuffPost:
Syncrude Upgrader and Oil Sands
The refining or upgrading of the tarry bitumen which lies under the oil sands consumes far more oil and energy than conventional oil and produces almost twice as much carbon. Each barrel of oil requires 3-5 barrels of fresh water from the neighboring Athabasca River. About 90% of this is returned as toxic tailings into the vast unlined tailings ponds that dot the landscape. Syncrude alone dumps 500,000 tons of toxic tailings into just one of their tailings ponds everyday.
Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains / Atlin Lake, British Columbia | 2001
This area, located in the extreme northwest of British Columbia, marks the western boundary of the Boreal region. On the border of the Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the western flank of these mountains descends into Alaska's Tongass Rainforest and British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. Far from the oil sands, the greatest remaining coastal temperate and marine ecosystem is imminently threatened by the proposal to build a 750-mile pipeline to pump 550,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude to the coast. Once there, it would be shipped through some of the most treacherous waters, virtually assuring an ecological disaster at some point in the future.
Tailings Pond in Winter, Abstract #2 / Alberta Tar Sands | 2010
Even in the extreme cold of the winter, the toxic tailings ponds do not freeze. On one particularly cold morning, the partially frozen tailings, sand, liquid tailings and oil residue, combined to produce abstractions that reminded me of a Jackson Pollock canvas.
Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001
Photographed in late autumn in softly falling snow, a solitary spruce is set against a sea of aspen. The Boreal Forest of northern Canada is perhaps the best and largest example of a largely intact forest ecosystem. Canada's Boreal Forest alone stores an amount of carbon equal to ten times the total annual global emissions from all fossil fuel consumption.
Tar Sands at Night #1 | Alberta Oil Sands | 2010
Twenty four hours a day the oil sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet's greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.
Dry Tailings #2 | Alberta Tar Sands | 2010
In an effort to deal with the problem of tailings ponds, Suncor is experimenting with dry tailings technology. This has the potential to limit, or eliminate, the need for vast tailings ponds in the future and lessen this aspect of the oil sands' impact.
Tailings Pond Abstract #2 | Alberta Tar Sands / 2010
So large are the Alberta Tar Sands tailings ponds that they can be seen from space. It has been estimated by Natural Resources Canada that the industry to date has produced enough toxic waste to fill a canal 32 feet deep by 65 feet wide from Fort McMurray to Edmonton, and on to Ottawa, a distance of over 2,000 miles. In this image, the sky is reflected in the toxic and oily waste of a tailings pond.
Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River | Mackenzie Valley, NWT | 2005
The Caracajou River winds back and forth creating this oxbow of wetlands as it joins the Mackenzie flowing north to the Beaufort Sea. This region, almost entirely pristine, and the third largest watershed basin in the world, will be directly impacted by the proposed Mackenzie Valley National Gas Pipeline to fuel the energy needs of the Alberta Oil Sands mega-project.
Black Cliff | Alberta Oil Sands | 2005
Oil sands pit mining is done in benches or steps. These benches are each approximately 12-15 meters high. Giant shovels dig the oil sand and place it into heavy hauler trucks that range in size from 240 tons to the largest trucks, which have a 400-ton capacity.
Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter| Alberta Oil Sands | 2010
The Alberta oil sands are Canada's single largest source of carbon. They produce about as much annually as the nation of Denmark. The refining of the tar-like bitumen requires more water and uses almost twice as much energy as the production of conventional oil. Particularly visible in winter, vast plumes of toxic pollution fill the skies. The oil sands are so large they create their own weather systems.
Boreal Forest and Wetland | Athabasca Delta Northern Alberta | 2010
Located just 70 miles downstream from the Alberta oil sands, the Athabasca Delta is the world's largest freshwater delta. It lies at the convergence of North America's four major flyways and is a critical stopover for migrating waterfowl and considered one of the most globally significant wetlands. It is threatened both by the massive water consumption of the tar sands and its toxic tailings ponds.
Tar Pit #3
This network of roads reminded me of a claw or tentacles. It represents for me the way in which the tentacles of the tar sands reach out and wreak havoc and destruction. Proposed pipelines to American Midwest, Mackenzie Valley, and through the Great Bear Rainforest will bring new threats to these regions while the pipelines fuel new markets and ensure the proposed five fold expansion of the oil sands.
10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP
The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>
9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980
Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed
Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.
Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves
Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>
5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.
One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry
Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands
Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat
Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?
The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.
The federal government approved the takeover of Alberta-based Celtic Exploration by Texas-based ExxonMobil in February 2013. The deal was believed to be worth $3.1 billion.
Calgary-based energy leader Nexen is in the middle of a massive takeover bid worth more than $15-billion by China energy China National Offshore Oil Company, or CNOOC. The deal is currently being reviewed by Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis.
Petronas' Progress Energy Takeover
Stakeholders in natural gas producer Progress Energy Resources Corp. have approved a $6-billion takeover of the company by a subsidiary of Malaysia's state-owned Petronas. Meanwhile, the company said the sale to Petronas Carigali Canada Ltd. is not being opposed by the federal government under the Competition Act, which requires major takeover deals to be of net benefit to Canada.
Kuwait's state-owned petroleum company, Kuwait Petroleum Corp., has reportedly signed a preliminary deal to invest as much as $4-billion in a joint venture with Athabasca Oil Corp., for an investment to develop some of Athabasca's (TSX:ATH) oilsands properties in northern Alberta.
In 2009, Athabasca sold a 60 per cent interest in its MacKay River and Dover oilsands lands to PetroChina. In Early 2012, Athabasca exercised its option to sell the rest of MacKay River to PetroChina, making it the first oilsands operation to be fully controlled by a Chinese company.