Calgary is Canada’s energy capital.

Canada is endowed with global-scale petroleum resources and is a worldwide leader in the responsible production of energy.

The industry has operated for more than a century in Alberta and is focused on environmentally and socially responsible development with the highest operating and safety standards. Calgary is a global centre of excellence for all things energy as innovative thinking and advances in technology drive the transition to a lower carbon energy supply

The oil and natural gas industry is the single largest private sector investor in Canada and competes for investment globally on the basis of exceptional resources, competitive taxes and royalties and a highly skilled workforce. As a centre for clean energy tech and sustainable development practices, more R&D spending emerges from Calgary than any city in Canada.

To support responsible resource development, the National Energy Board and Alberta Energy Regulator are both headquartered in Calgary. Leading Industry associations including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors and Petroleum Services Association of Canada are also located in Calgary.

Top reasons for investing in the energy industry in Calgary:

  1. World-scale oil and gas resources:Canada is the world’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas at 14.9 billion cubic feet a day in 2015 and the sixth-largest producer of crude oil. Conventional oil production was 1.3 million barrels a day (b/d) and was 2.5 million b/d in 2015. The oil sands in northern Alberta give Canada the world’s third largest crude oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.  

  2. Highly skilled, globally connected workforce: Exceptional human resources and post-secondary institutions focused the energy sector are key competitive advantages. Calgary has the highest concentration of engineers and geoscience professionals in Canada and an experienced pool of workers with STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – skills and experience in the industry worldwide. 

  3. Research and innovation leader: Clean energy tech is the driving force in the industry to both reducing environmental footprint and improving operatingefficiency. Calgary companies have beenkey players advancing technology in areas from hydraulic fracturing to thermal oil sands production to pipeline integrity. The Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance is accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance and member have shared more than 900 distinct technologies.

  4. Cluster of anchor firms and support services: The head offices of every major company in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the industry in Canada are in Calgary. So too are the energy services, engineering, geoscience and environmental firms as well as the legal, financial, human resources and IT services that foster collaboration.

  5. Value-added processing of resources: Alberta is home to Canada’s largest concentration of petroleum refining, petrochemical, and chemical processors in the Industrial Heartland near Edmonton. There are four oil refineries, five oil sand upgraders and a half dozen petrochemical plants in Alberta and potential for more.


Oil sands

Oil sands are a key economic driver for Canada’s energy industry with production exceeding 2.4 barrels a day in 2014 from 174 billion barrels of recoverable reserves.

About 80 per cent of production applies “in situ” (in place) recovery technology, similar to traditional oil well drilling, to extract bitumen too deep to be mined. Steam is injected into the underground reservoir to separate the heavy oil from the sand and pump it to the surface. The breakthrough technology SAG-D, for Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage, was developed in the 1990s in Alberta and is the most common form of in situ recovery in the oilsands.

Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America to require mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial sectors such as the oil sands. Today, all development takes place under strict environmental regulations – including a 100 megatonne cap on annual GHG emissions – and the constant motivation to improve performance. 

Conventional Oil

 Oil production has been a key driver of the Calgary and Alberta economy since the Leduc find in 1947 launched the modern oil industry in Canada. The industry has create an extensive infrastructure that supports the continued drive to locate, drill for, and transport oil to market.

Canada has about 3.9 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves. Production was 1.3 million barrels per day in 2015 and it is forecast to level off at 1.1 million barrels per day by 2018 and remain stable at that level through 2030.

Oil meets close to 40 per cent of Canada's total energy needs but conventional reservoirs that were easy to find and develop decades ago are now more challenging and costly. Advances in drilling technology and reservoir treatment are helping to offset natural production declines and create opportunities for businesses

Natural gas

Natural gas is one of the cleanest, cheapest and most efficient sources of energy and, at current rates of production, Canada has the resources to provide gas to consumers for more than 100 years.

Canada is the fifth largest natural gas producer in the world at 14.3 billion cubic feet per day in 2015 and Alberta accounts for more than 75 per cent of total Canadian production. Production in Western Canada has been sustained by through technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that have opened up world-class gas deposits in the Montney and Horn River basins in British Columbia and Alberta.

Canada has more than 1,100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resource.

With the global move to lower carbon fuel supplies, demand for natural gas is expected to increase by almost 50 per cent by 2040 and the potential for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from terminals on Canada’s West Coast is growth opportunity for the gas industry.

About 80 per cent of the natural gas produced in Alberta is used in industry, electricity generation and transportation. Ongoing oil sands development and electric power generation are areas of growth for gas producers in Alberta. 


Transportation and energy storage are major elements of the energy industry in Canada and Calgary is home to pipeline companies operating some of the biggest energy gathering and distribution networks in the world.

The development of new export pipelines and expansions to the existing pipeline grid in North America will allow Canadian oil and gas producers to develop new markets and command global prices. In 2016, the Government of Canada approved expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline to the West Coast to provide a link to tidewater and global markets in addition to the extensive infrastructure links to U.S. marks.

There is a network of more than 400,000 kilometres of oil, natural gas and other pipelines in Alberta and almost another 120,000 kilometres of interprovincial transmission pipelines. Every year about 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are transported to customers by pipeline.

Calgary is headquarters to major North American pipeline and energy distribution companies including

TransCanada, Enbridge, Kinder Morgan Canada, Inter Pipeline and Alliance Pipeline.

Oil refining and upgrading

There are four oil refineries in Alberta, among at total of 17 in Canada, with the capacity to process more than 450,000 barrels a day of crude oil. There are also five upgraders in Alberta that partially refine about 1.2 million barrels a day of bitumen.

Under the Government of Alberta’s climate policy released in 2016 there is a provision for an additional 10-megatonne cap on annual greenhouse gas emissions to accommodate additional on-site upgrading projects.

There are currently oil refineries near Edmonton operated by Suncor Energy, Imperial Oil and Shell and one at Lloydminster operated by Husky Energy. The first oil refinery built in Canada since the 1980s is the North West Upgrader that will open near Edmonton in 2017. 


Alberta is Canada’s leading producer of petrochemicals and the sector home to world-scale plants and efficient transportation systems produces a variety of fertilizer, plastics, rubber products, polystyrene foam products and paints. It is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the province.

Access to an economical supply of natural gas liquids (NGLs) feedstock has been critical as companies invested more than $10 billion in Alberta since the 1990s to increase production capacity for ethylene, polyethylene, ethylene glycol and linear alpha olefins.   

Alberta’s petrochemical sector, industry leaders such as NOVA Chemicals and Dow Chemicals, reported sales of $14 billion in 2015.

The provincial government’s Incremental Ethane Extraction Policy is a 10-year initiative to encourage increased ethane extraction from natural gas and gas by-products from bitumen upgrading. Alberta’s recent Petrochemicals Diversification Program supported the construction of the first polypropylene plants in Canada. 

Energy services

Critical to the success and sustainability of Alberta’s energy industry is the petroleum service, supply and manufacturing sectors. The sector provide specialized equipment and highly trained workers for drilling, testing, producing, maintaining and reclaiming oil and gas wells in addition to transporting that energy to consumers.

Professional services firms in Calgary also provide a variety of research, development, engineering, technical consulting and technology to support all aspects of the industry.

Calgary scientists and engineers have been instrumental in development of techniques for horizontal drilling, fracking, steam assisted gravity drainage, and other technologies to produce unconventional resources including oil sands, shale gas and tight oil.

The downturn in commodity prices in and rapidly changing technology such as multi-well pad drilling and long-reach horizontal wells has seen the number of wells drilled each year in Western Canada fall below 5,000 compared to more than 11,226 as recently as 2014.

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Emily Kneteman

Business Development Manager, Energy

Office Phone: 403 221 7823


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