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Top Oilfield Service Industries in Canadian Regions

Posted on January 13, 2014 in Oil & Gas Industry

Canada is responsible for six per cent of the world's energy supply, and it ranks as one of the top ten world oil suppliers. Both crude oil and crude bitumen are extracted, refined, and exported by Canada. Since the first oil well was dug in 1858, oil production has grown into a major economic industry in Canada. Canada's oil treasures are found within several regions and provinces so the oil industry can truly be classified as a national enterprise.

Canada's oil production has spawned new opportunities within the nation's manufacturing and service sectors just to support the oil industry. Specific growth surrounds the exploration, production, refining, distribution, marketing, and selling of oil. Understanding the geographic, political, and regulatory environments in which the oil industry stakeholders operate helps explain the need for complimentary industries.

Geopolitical Environment of Canada's Oil Industry

While areas of northern and eastern Canada are involved in the oil industry to some extent, the major provinces that participate in this industry are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. These provinces are located within the south western and south central borders of Canada. Each province has unique geographic features that enable it to contribute to the oil industry.

British Columbia is the only one of the listed provinces that is bordered by an ocean. The ports located there are important distribution channels for oil exports into Asia. Significant exploration for oil and oil refinement activities take place in British Columbia as well. Alberta supplies the largest amount of Canada's oil products. It is home to some of the largest oil reserves in the world. Alberta participates in the exploration, production, refining, and marketing of its oil. The province of Saskatchewan participates in the production or extraction of crude oil. Manitoba conducts exploration for oil near its border with Saskatchewan. With its indirect access to the North Atlantic via the Hudson Bay, Manitoba also is an important waterway route for oil export.

The responsibility for managing Canada's extensive oil resources is shared among the territories, provinces, and the federal government. The territories and provinces are responsible for exploration, refining, producing, and managing its resources internally. The federal government regulates inter-provincial or inter-territory activities and international commerce related to energy resources. Export activities are jointly regulated by federal and provincial agencies.

Industries Directly Related to the Oil Industry

Research and exploration organisations abound as they attempt to keep pace with Canada's cash cow oil treasure. These companies employ research scientists and engineers to conduct geological studies needed to pursue the next big oil venture. Technological advancements are also considered keys to fully realising the economic potential of the oil industry.

Oil exploration, production, refinement, and distribution have environmental impacts to the relatively pristine Canadian landscape. Environmental scientists are engaged to ensure that environmental risks associated with oil industry activities are properly mitigated. Increased oil industry activities have resulted in tighter environmental compliance regulations at both the provincial and federal levels. To ensure environmental regulatory compliance, most oil companies reach out to law firms that specialise in environmental law.

The exploratory activities of the oil industry alone have caused growth in the industries of science and technology research and development. Here are some prominent public and private organisations within the scientific research and development industry.

  •     Canadian Energy Research Institute (private)
  •     Alberta Innovates- Technology Futures (private)
  •     National Research Council Canada- Institute for Chemical Processing and Environmental Technology (public)
  •     Natural Resources Canada's CanmetENERGY (private)
  •     Alberta Environment (public)

Academia is also called upon to assist government and industry with scientific research and development relating to the oil industry. The University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and many technical institutions act as research centres.

In order to comply with provincial and federal regulatory policies, environmental management and legal advisers are needed. Blakes law firm has been serving the Canadian provinces since 1856, and has added support of Canada's growing energy sector to their already extensive business law areas of interest. Stikeman Elliot is also a leading business law firm in Canada's energy, oil, and gas industries. Established in 1952, Stikeman Elliot is Canadian based but functions as an international law firm. Both Blakes law firm and Stikeman Elliot are diversified enough to include lawyers that practise environmental law which makes them leading choices for companies wishing to conduct activities relating to development and acquisitions of Canada's oil sands.

Upon adequate research, oil companies seek out civil and industrial engineers to build the infrastructure needed for oil refinement and production of oil products. In this way, the growth of Canada's oil industry directly impacts the related building and construction industries. Here are some primary companies representing construction of energy related infrastructure.

  •     Petro West Construction LP - Energy Services
  •     Supreme Oilfield Construction Ltd. a Division of Flint Energy
  •     Candoo Oilfield Services Inc.
  •     General, Mechanical & Civil Contractors Ltd.

The manufacturing industry directly relates to the oil industry. Heavy equipment especially made for oil refineries, rigs, drilling, and pipelines must be produced to support Canada's oil industry. Often, it is more cost effective to produce this type of equipment in local Canadian regions where it is to be used than it is to pay freight charges for less expensive foreign made equipment. This helps to grow the manufacturing industry within the local economy.

The industries of science and technology again relate to the oil industry in the form of applied engineering. Geophysicist firms are consulted when organisations begin oil drilling operations. Additionally, oil refinement companies often seek the expertise of chemical and petroleum engineers to conduct crude oil processing activities. A couple of companies that specialise in applied science relating to the Canadian oil industry are Canadian Petroleum Engineering and Chapman Petroleum Engineering Ltd. These companies are not only technically astute, but they have worked in the industry long enough to have collected a significant amount of product cost data for benchmarking purposes. They have developed sophisticated product price forecasting models to assist oil industry companies with total engineering and acquisition management.

The education and training industry is heavily involved in Canada's oil industry as it relates to scientific research and development. However, there are still growth opportunities for education and training relating to oil refinement, production, and cost engineering management. One company that seeks to carve out a niche in this area is Oak Leaf Energy Training. Oak Leaf Energy Training, incorporated in 2010, is a spin off company from the Canadian Energy Research Institute Training Division which has been providing continued education and training for petrochemical professionals for over a decade.

Industries Indirectly Driving Demand for Oil

There are a variety of industries that are impacted by Canada's oil industry that do not directly relate to oil drilling, refinement, or distribution. The military/defence, automotive, and commercial aviation industries relate to the oil industry because petrochemicals are used in many parts and manufacturing processes within these industries. The textile industry uses oil to produce vinyl and other materials. Oil industry by-products even find their way into pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The Canadian oil industry may be classified as a global treasure trove as its effect on related industries is fully realised.