Canada is fortunate to have crude oil and natural gas resources under parts of every province and territory – and off each of our eastern, western and northern coasts.

Canada’s largest source of oil and gas is the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), which covers:

  • Northeastern British Columbia
  • Most of Alberta
  • Southern Saskatchewan
  • Southwestern tip of Manitoba

Reserves & Production

When we add up oil and gas, we start by measuring two main things:

  • Reserves: Estimated quantity of crude oil or natural gas that is recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions
  • Production: Amount of crude oil or natural gas brought from underground to be sold

According to the International Energy Agency in 2015 Canada was:

  • 3rd in crude oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Canada has 171 billion barrels of oil reserves, of which 165 billion barrels are oil sands reserves. That’s about 10% of the world’s total crude oil reserves
  • 5th in the world in crude oil production, currently producing 4.4 million barrels per day, just under 5% of the world’s total crude oil production
  • 18th in natural gas reserves, at just under 2.0 trillion cubic metres. That’s about 1% of the world’s total natural gas reserves
  • 6th in natural gas production, after the US, Russia, Iran and Qatar. Canada is currently producing 164 billion cubic metres per day, about 5% of the world’s total natural gas production
  • Canada ranks 10th or approximate 2% of the global crude oil distillation refining capacity

But measuring oil and gas goes beyond reserves and production. Domestically, we also measure the economic benefits of oil and gas, such as employment, investments and government revenues.

Globally, benefits such as lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a decrease in energy poverty could be realized if more of Canada’s responsibly developed oil and gas were exported to developing nations.


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