PSAC focusing on getting the oil patch message to Ontario: Mar

PSAC CEO Gary Mar has been talking to Chambers of Commerce in Ontario about the importance of the oilpatch to that province. Image: Brian Zinchuk/Pipeline News

Gary Mar, president and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), echoed an increasingly common sentiment, that the world needs more Canadian energy, when he spoke at the SIMSA Oil and Gas Supply Chain Forum in Regina on Oct. 3.

Mar said he is spending a lot of time, particularly in Ontario, “talking about how the energy sector is not an Alberta business, it is not a Western Canadian business, it is a Canadian business.”

“When you go to a place like Sault Ste. Marie, and you go to the steel factory there, the Tenaris plant – Tenaris hires about 800 people to work in Canada. They produce about a billion dollars worth of steel. Zero percent of that steel goes into the automotive sector. One hundred per cent of it goes into making tubulars for oil and gas,” he said.

“I’ve made presentations to the Chambers of Commerce of Ontario – all of them. All 90 Chambers of Commerce in Ontario. And I’ve tracked down the supply chain. I’ve asked our members to show me their invoices, and then we’ve looked at those invoices, in Ontario, particularly in the 905 region, and we tracked down who is actually manufacturing, not just the distributor of something made somewhere else. And those are the chambers of commerce we really focused one, because we want the people of Ontario to be just as concerned about the 65,000 jobs we create in Ontario as they are about a GM plant,” Mar said.

“We asked people in Ontario, ‘What’s the Number 1 export of Canada?’ They always say, ‘automotive and auto sector.’

“It’s significant. You’ll see motor vehicles are about 13 per cent, but oil and gas are about double that. About a quarter of Canada’s exports are in the form of crude oil or bitumen.”

Capital investment in the Canadian oilpatch has dropped by half, he said, adding that Canadian investment abroad has gone up over the same period of time.

“It’s a staggering, staggering set of figures,” Mar said.

Infrastructure, the ability to get Canadian oil to somewhere other than the United States, is the key issue.

He said the federal government had completely dropped the ball on the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline project.

Global energy demand is expected to grow by 27 per cent by 2040, despite some saying we will soon see peak oil consumption. Hundreds of millions of people in places like China, and India are being lifted out of poverty and into the middle class. They are demanding automobiles and affordable, reliable energy.

“My thesis is this: Canadian energy is the most responsibly produced energy on the face of the earth. It benefits the quality of life of every single Canadian. This is the message I take when I’m on the road to places like Ontario and Quebec and Atlantic Canada.”

While places like the 905 area code area get that message, but Toronto itself and Vancouver, “are a little bit different,” Mar said.

In Vancouver, they think a lot about ethically-sourced coffee beans, he noted, “But shouldn’t you care about where your tank of gas comes from as well?”

Environmental, occupational health and safety, or labour standards all see Canada at the highest levels in the entire world, he said.

There are 450,000 jobs, coast-to-coast, in the upstream sector. The taxes and royalties raised are important to our standard of living.

“Across Canada, there isn’t a single Canadian that isn’t affected by what we do,” Mar said.

— Pipeline News

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