CERI sees US economic gains from Canadian oil sands

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 19 -- Canadian oil sands development represents a potential economic boon that could lead to more than 342,000 new US jobs, concluded a Canadian Energy Research Institute study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute.

The study, “Canada’s Oil Sands and Economic Impact on the USA,” said more Canadian oil sands production could stimulate economic activity in both countries.

As oil sands production and investment in Canada rises, demand for US goods and services would add an estimated $34 billion to US gross domestic product in 2015 and $42.2 billion in 2025, the study said.

CERI’s study also projected new US jobs would be created as a result of the oil sands development, with the heaviest growth during 2011-2015 when 342,000 positions would be added, including 43,700 in finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing; 29,000 in accommodation and food services; 21,900 in administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services; and 21,700 in professional, scientific, and technical services.

“Oil sands reserves play an increasingly important role in the economic development of Alberta, Canada and the United States,” CERI said in its study. “What is often not clearly understood is that the large investment in the oil sands industry contributes to increased economic activity in the rest of North America by stimulating demand for goods and services across a wide range of industries.”

API comments
On Oct. 16, API President Jack Gerard said, “Not only is greater oil sands production crucial for US energy security, it also supports thousands of American jobs and is a major contributor to our nation’s economic growth.”

CERI, a nonprofit Canadian energy and environment research institute, based its assumptions on oil sands output rising from about 1.4 million b/d to around 4 million b/d in 2025. It estimated annual capital investment and operating costs needed to achieve this output (about $25 billion in new investment and $7 billion in operating costs in the peak year of 2015) and then projected the economic impact to Canadian and US economies.

“The economic benefits of oil sands development and production do not fall to one industry but are broadly shared across many industrial sectors,” it said, citing steel products in particular.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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