The latest of several reports by the Parkland Institute and Corporate Mapping Project was released on March 10: The Future of Alberta’s Oil Sands Industry : More Production, Less Capital, Fewer Jobs . Author Ian Hussey argues that a managed decline of the industry is needed, and that it is now in its mature phase – with 53,119 jobs lost between 2014 through 2019. With this maturity comes fewer construction projects, and technological change is driving down operational employment. Although most people are aware of the adoption of driverless trucks, Hussey also discusses horizontal multi-well drilling pads; supervisory control and data acquisition, remote monitoring, and information technology and analytics; and replicated designs and modularization. In sum,
“Despite the growth in production, fewer and fewer employees are needed. In 2019, overall productivity per employee in Canada’s oil and gas industry was 47% higher than in 2011, and productivity in the oil sands was 72% higher in 2019 than 2011. This indicates that the jobs that have been lost in recent years are likely not coming back. Production is at an all-time high and has increased 23% since 2014, while jobs have declined by 23% since 2014.”
The report also profiles the “ Big Five” oil and gas companies operating in Alberta: Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL), Imperial Oil, Cenovus Energy, and Husky Energy – providing statistics on their production, reserves, profits and shareholder returns, and capital spending.