​Canadians need the oil and gas industry now more than ever

Image: Cenovus Energy

Some media organizations have chosen this turbulent time to publish viewpoints of anti-oil industry organizations, opining that it’s a great time for governments to kick the industry while it’s down by denying fiscal or strategic support. We are told governments instead should make “green” investments in “sustainability” — without the slightest hint of what those might be, and how they would provide the energy we must have to survive.

And the oil and gas industry is in existential crisis, hit by the double whammy of COVID-19 and the Russian/OPEC price war. One of Canada’s most strategic industries, producing goods critical to the life and survival of every Canadian, a huge part of our export economy and a massive employer is down (but not out) and is looking to our governments for assistance, as are most other industries.

Canadians (and all world citizens) need the oil and gas industry now more than ever. After more than 20 years into the “energy transition,” fossil fuels still provide more than three quarters of all our energy, not to mention plastics and all the other goods we use every day. I wonder how many have noticed that progressive jurisdictions are now banning reusable grocery bags and bringing back single-use plastic bags — for hygiene.

Many reputable organizations have published energy forecasts for the coming decades, and all with reasonable assumptions and methodologies agree: the world will be highly dependent on oil and gas through at least mid-century, and it’s likely we’ll be burning more natural gas in 2050 than we do today. Alternative energy sources will continue to grow quickly, but are literally decades away from being able to supplant hydrocarbons — and throwing more money at immature renewable and storage technologies now can’t change that fundamental truth.

So why would we take this “opportunity” to decimate our oil industry? The very likely result would be significant human suffering and deaths in a cold country like Canada, as shortages of almost everything work their way through the system.

Media have the responsibility to consult real experts on energy supply and policy issues. Professionals and academics at the U of C School of Public Policy and other energy-focused institutions, the Canadian Energy Regulator, provincial departments of energy, senior bankers and executives of energy-producing companies have much more informed stories to tell.

Finally, I would suggest that Canadian media organizations regularly need to consult the Canadian Energy Centre on energy supply and policy issues — because there’s a great deal more fact and impartial, rational analysis there than they’re finding now.

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