ARCHIVED - Fact Sheet - Canada's Energy Future: Reference Case and Scenarios to 2030 - Oil Highlights

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Fact Sheet - Canada's Energy Future: Reference Case and Scenarios to 2030 - Oil Highlights

Canada has become a very attractive place for energy investment and the Canadian oil sands are perhaps one of the most sought after places for global oil development. They offer long-lived projects in a relatively stable political and fiscal environment. Both domestic and foreign investors are attracted to the development and production growth continues because of this investment.

The future of oil supply will be dominated by the oil sands.

Oil sands production plays into all three scenarios with Fortified Islands representing the most aggressive expansion. This is due to the high price of oil in the scenario as well as lower costs for environmental compliance.

In contrast, the Triple E scenario sees a plateau of oil sands development after 2015 due to lower oil prices and higher costs of environmental compliance. By 2020, only existing oil sands projects will continue to produce and production will begin to decline. By 2027, a slow period of growth begins after there has been an adjustment to lower oil prices.

The Reference Case and Continuing Trends scenario support a mid-range oil price of $50/barrel and this price maintains a relatively high development of the oil sands. The cost pressures that are currently being experienced are expected to moderate over time. Current increased costs for development are not sustainable and the market will make corrections to bring costs down. This may be in the form of an economic slowdown and company initiatives to reduce costs.

Overall development of the oil sands also assumes that any costs associated with environmental compliance are not prohibitive.

2. An increase in pipeline infrastructure and markets will be needed to support the significant growth of the oil sands.

In the scenarios outlined, it is estimated that between 2.6 and 4.9 million barrels per day (MMB/d) of oil will be coming from the oil sands.

Further development of the oil sands area is based on the assumption that there will be timely development of additional markets and pipeline capacity. The supply forecast in this report assumes that there will be no prolonged pipeline "bottlenecks."

Depending on the scenario, refinery investments may also be needed in order to support the volume of crude coming out of the area. It may also mean that refineries currently in Quebec may start processing western crude. A new refinery for Atlantic Canada was incorporated into the Fortified Islands scenario, but this refinery would serve the export market in the northeast U.S.


Canada is reaching new heights in energy development. The oil sands reserves are the main reason Canada is being touted as an "energy superpower." But this presents a challenge as provincial and federal governments, as well as Canadians, consider the issues around trying to balance energy development with other important issues, such as the environment. There is a need for "smart" policy which is based on integration of economic growth, environmental sustainability and responsible development of the energy sector.

Date modified: