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Despite all the talk about phasing out oil and gas and a ‘just transition’, government reports show that the Canadian oil and gas sector is short tens of thousands of workers.
Asked by Canadian Member of Parliament Martin Shields, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, who represents St. John's South—Mount Pearl said that “The oil and gas industry is going to be with us for quite some time, and I would argue proudly so,”.
The Minister went on to say that Canada is one of the world’s oil and gas producing nations, and even admitted that his own government is sometimes alienating the workers of the oil and gas industry. Responding to what he thinks about the federal government’s “just transition” to decarbonize the Canadian energy industry, O’Regan said that ‘Just transition’ is a word that workers hate and my constituents don’t like, so I don’t like it either.”
O’Regan concluded by saying “I need more workers in the oil and gas industry, not less. We need more.”.
According to Canada’s The National, “models produced by Employment and Social Development Canada across nearly 300 national occupation groups projected 14,000 job vacancies in the oil and gas extraction industry over the 2022-2031 period.”
The Minister’s statements come at a rather surprising moment, just as Canada’s leading oil province Alberta has set net-zero goals for 2050, without specifying any interim goals. On Wednesday, Oilprice.com’s Julianne Geiger wrote that while Canada’s national Net-zero plan calls for milestone dates in 2035, 2040, and 2045, Alberta’s plan has no such interim targets, nor is there any legislative or regulations in place that would enforce this 2050 target. And Alberta’s current government isn’t looking to legislate it.
Despite some outlandish predictions that most oil and gas industry jobs in Canada will ‘vanish’ by 2050, IEA data from 2022 predicts that, under current policies, Canadian oil production will increase to 6.4 million bpd in 2040, before falling back to 5.5 million bpd in 2050.
Image courtesy: Canadian Energy Centre
The global energy transition and decarbonization efforts will most likely lead to major changes in the Canadian energy job market and possibly change the very nature of some of the jobs, but barring a complete global collapse in demand for oil and gas, even in 2050, there will be a sizeable workforce employed in Canadian oil and gas.
By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com
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Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is Oilprice.com's Head of Operations