The need for better market access for our oil is being reiterated after Canada’s latest trade numbers show a significant drop in crude oil export prices.
In its latest report released Thursday, Statistic Canada says prices were down 15.4 per cent in October – the biggest monthly decrease since February 2016 – and the volumes shipped fell 0.9 per cent. The drop coincided with deepening price discounts for Canadian produced oil.
“I think Canada and the oil and gas sector can be a competitive force again if we can get market access. That’s the largest part of the equation – getting our oil moving in all directions, especially to tidewater and ensuring we get a fair market value for our product,” said Executive Director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance Karim Zariffa.
Exports of energy products fell 12 per cent to $8.8 billion in October. Statistics Canada notes exports of crude oil drove the decrease, offsetting most of the earlier gains in 2018.
Zariffa says a big discussion within the industry over the last few months is how Canada’s oil and gas sector can regain its competitive edge.
“Our industry is competing globally to attract capital and unfortunately, given certain things such as market access, or lack thereof, and some regulatory uncertainty, we haven’t been able to attract capital into the oil and sector as we have historically.”
It’s not just industry who wants this discussed, as two premiers are working to get this addressed at an all premier meeting this week in Montreal.
On Tuesday, Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking that Energy Market Access and the Economic Impacts of the Price Differential be added to the First Ministers meeting agenda, after being left off.
The Premiers say ‘a crisis of this magnitude must be reflected in any discussion on economic competitiveness’.
However, with the global population and middle class expected to increase by 2040 and demand in energy grow, Zariffa feels there’s a strong future for Canada’s oil and gas sector.
“Canada’s got a real opportunity, if we can address these competitiveness barriers, to be a global supplier of choice.”