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Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

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Optimism Returns To Canada's Oil Industry

Optimism is returning to the Canadian oil industry as demand rebounds and production follows, Bloomberg has reported, citing the chief of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

"There's no denying that we've been beaten, battered and wounded and industry was faced with some of the biggest challenges last year we've ever seen," Tim McMillan said at the Scotiabank CAPP Energy Symposium. "Our industry still has its best days ahead of it. In fact, over the past year, our industry has rallied and we're approaching a future with cautious optimism," the CAPP chief executive added.

Even so, things are beginning to look up for an industry that was struggling to stay profitable even before the pandemic as pipeline shortages kept costs high, and emissions-cutting plans at the federal level threatened long-term profitability.

Many Canadian oil companies will remain focused on cost cuts, Bloomberg reported, citing attendees of the CAPP conference. Shareholder returns will continue to be another priority at the expense of production growth plans.

As part of cost cuts, some of which have been effected through mergers and acquisitions, Canada's oil industry is shedding jobs. Some 7,300 jobs could be lost this year, the Petroleum Labour Market Information division of Energy Safety Canada said last month.

More than a thousand of these job losses will come from Suncor, which last year cut 600 jobs and said it aimed to cut 1,930 over 18 months. Cenovus is cutting between 1,720 and 2,150 jobs after its takeover of Husky Energy.

According to data from PetroLMI, the oil and gas industry of Alberta has shed a total of 36,000 jobs since a peak hit in December 2013, when it employed 171,000 people. By February 2021, this had fallen to a bit over 134,000. In August 2014, before the oil price crash happened, Canada's oil industry employed 229,000 people directly. Since then, this has fallen by 26 percent.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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