Alberta Premier Danielle Smith delivered encouraging news to a room of members of the Canadian energy industry in Calgary on Wednesday.
The 2022 State of the Industry Event was produced by the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors. CAOEC CEO Mark Scholz warmed up the audience with some very encouraging highlights of the CAOEC’s Q4 2022 and 2023 drilling forecast.
He quoted from the 2022-23 forecast, that projected wells drilled in 2022 are expected to be 5582 which is an increase of approximately 944 wells from 2021 or a 20% increase. Projected operating gains in 2022 are expected to be a 40%. increase, year over year.
For 2023 – the forecast is for an increase of 827 wells from 2022, for a total of 6,409. The forecast also predicts an increase of 5,437 jobs, up to a total of 42,350 direct and indirect jobs which will be key in Canada’s net-zero future.
“2022 was an exciting year for the Canadian energy services sector following a seven-year industry slowdown. Drilling activity for oil and natural gas remained steady throughout the year with high commodity prices and modest improvements in capital markets,” Scholz said.
“In 2023, tailwinds are expected with the completion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, a pipeline that will add 590,000 barrels per day to the market. Coastal GasLink is also anticipated to reach mechanical completion by the end of 2023, a project that will safely deliver natural gas to the first LNG export facility in Canada’s history, LNG Canada.”
Alberta premier, Danielle Smith then took to the stage to update attendees on her latest initiatives. She noted that after she had retired from politics and retired from radio, she was involved in business advocacy- working in the energy sector- trying to solve some of the key industry issues. Smith reaffirmed that the energy sector was and continues to be at the forefront of the Alberta economy.
“We know that Alberta is the engine that drives Canada’s prosperity and the energy sector is quite literally the fuel in the engine,” Smith said.
“We all know that the global economy is currently very choppy. While Alberta is faring better than most if you want to keep it that way we need all levels of government to do their part to keep the sector strong. From the government of Alberta’s standpoint, let me be clear, we will always be allies to you in the industry as you embark upon ambitious growth.”
Alberta’s economic growth is forecast to be among the highest in Canada for 2022 according to Smith. She stated that Alberta will be embracing clean technologies in hydrogen, helium, geothermal and carbon capture along with championing the businesses and jobs that depend on the oil and gas sector.
“That is the point that we make to our federal counterparts all the time- we know that forecasts show that oil and gas demand will continue for decades to come,” Smith said.
“Even in a carbon neutral or net zero world we intend to meet that demand but we can’t take it for granted. This is why we’re also pursuing a clean technology revolution that will reduce emissions and integrate other lower carbon sources into our supply. You have a fierce advocate in this government.”
Smith advises that one of the most exciting frontiers of Alberta’s renewables future is hydrogen which is expected to be a $2.5 trillion to $11 trillion market by 2050. The province is aiming to play a big part in that future market. Alberta is one of the largest hydrogen producers in Canada and has the resources and expertise needed to become a major global supplier.
Using Alberta’s hydrogen roadmap, the province is looking to become a leader in the global clean hydrogen economy. Major international companies looking to establish hydrogen production projects in the province including Mitsubishi, Shell and PETRONAS. Alberta is counted as a hydrogen superpower just as it is Canada’s oil and natural gas superpower according to Smith.
She advised her government’s vision also includes increasing activity across the entire natural gas value chain by growing opportunities in textile manufacturing, LNG, hydrogen and plastics as well as collaborations with governments, regulators, industry and indigenous partners to streamline project approvals. improve pipeline access and develop infrastructure bills to get Alberta’s natural gas to international markets.
Smith noted these initiatives will involve indigenous peoples as meaningful partners in Alberta’s energy future and as partners in major development projects and she referenced the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporations’ backstop of $1.1 billion in energy infrastructure investment -the largest indigenous investment in energy in North America. This investment will benefit 23 Indigenous communities in the Athabasca region.
Maureen McCall is an energy professional who writes on issues affecting the energy industry.