Editor’s Note: Canada’s energy service business steps up
$65-billion sector employs more than 800,000 people
It was during a presentation for professional service firm KPMG’s 2012 update on the energy services sector that Mark Salkeld, president and CEO of the 250-member Petroleum Services Assocation of Canada, flashed a slide of tourists making their way down a very steep section of the Great Wall of China.
Salkeld had the slide of this famous tourist trap because he’d been there in March, as part of an Alberta government sponsored trade mission that included a number of representatives from the province’s energy services industry. Their presence on this trip to the Middle Kingdom was a sign that the sector, which so often plays second fiddle to the exploration and production crowd, has taken on a new significance in the business pecking order.
The talent and technological know-how energy service firms in Western Canada possess has played a large role in the growth of unconventional oil and gas production on this continent, and jurisdictions like China are keen to employ that expertise on their home soil. “Our advancements are providing significant long-term value in these markets,” Salkeld told the attendees at the Edmonton event.
But the sector’s impact overseas pales in comparison to what goes on in Canada. A 2010 PSAC report had the energy services industry employing more than 800,000 people and pulling in $65 billion annually in revenues. That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of wealth being created by a sector that typically doesn’t generate a lot of headlines.
We wanted to change that at Alberta Oil, and so our July issue is partly focusing on energy services. And just as Salkeld has witnessed the interest Western Canadian firms have in expanding their business horizons (along with the interest foreign regions have in employing their oily and gassy talents), so has our magazine.
That interest figures to grow, too. As ARC Financial Corp.’s chief energy economist Peter Tertzakian noted recently, Canada is one of the best nations in the world at producing its natural resources. And when it comes to extracting oil and gas out of the ground, the West’s energy services sector is one of the best in the world at doing that. No wonder they’re in demand.
I should point out that the July issue also includes our annual report on Ontario. The past four years have been trying times for Canada’s most populous province. It is no longer the economic juggernaut it once was.
That is creating a strain on the relationship between Alberta and Ontario. But the new economic reality is also presenting opportunities for Ontario businesses that are nimble enough to take advantage of the West’s energy boom. And in this issue, you can read all about this shift and how it’s shaping the future of both provinces.