Canada’s oil reserves are estimated at 178 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia. Most of it is in the form of oil sand deposits in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.1
Canada is among the very few non-OPEC2 countries where oil production expansion is possible.
Demand for oil is increasing while conventional oil supplies are tightening. In the future, unconventional fuel sources (including oil sands, offshore oil, heavy oil, biofuels, coal-to-liquids), which are more expensive to produce, will play a greater role in the global energy mix.
Carmen Dybwad of the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) told the committee:
“Are we past the point of all the cheap stuff? Yes. All of the oil reserves we have now are harder to get at. It is also heavier, under a lot of water and more sour; in other words, it has more sulphur in it. This is not light sweet crude any more. Very little of that is left in the world. Everything else is simply more expensive to access.”
Evidence November 24, 2009
Oil sands production will dominate the oil sector in Canada as it could triple by 2030 and will be a significant source of direct foreign investment.3 Most of the increase in oil sands production will be exported, necessitating pipeline infrastructure investment over the next 20 years.4 The oil sands will continue to contribute significantly to Canada’s energy and economic future and shape Canada’s international energy profile.5
 OPEC: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
 Conference Board of Canada, Canadian Outlook 2010, Long Term Forecast
 In fact, heavy oil and the oil sands accounts for nearly all growth in oil production in Canada since 1990s.