Canada’s oil boom is limited by labor shortages
While $100 oil is prompting increased production in the Canadian crude-producing province of Alberta, the ramp-up in production is being held back by an all-too-familiar problem in the US shale play: there are not enough skilled workers to employ.
During the 2020 pandemic-induced crisis, the industry lost many jobs, and many workers previously employed in oil and gas in Alberta have now moved on to other sectors of the economy, to the search for stability, which is rare and short. -event experienced in today’s oil market.
“The pool we relied on has moved to other occupations – trades, construction – and found other employment elsewhere, whether in Western Canada, or returned home to jurisdictions where we had traditionally recruited, like central Canada and eastern Canada,” Mark Scholz, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Energy Entrepreneurs (CAOEC), told CBC News’ Julia Wong.
At the end of last year, the CAOEC expected a total of 6,457 wells to be drilled in Canada in 2022, which would represent an increase of 1,363 from the 5,094 wells forecast for 2021.
Total employment was expected to stand at 34,925 this year, an increase of 7,280 jobs in Canada’s oil patch from 2021, said the association representing Canada’s energy service contractors operating near the wellhead in its drilling forecast for the fourth quarters of 2021 and 2022. In November, the CAOEC expected that the biggest risk to the CAOEC forecast would be labor constraints. After years of lows, CAOEC members struggled in 2021 with crewing constraints due to labor shortages hampering the sector’s ability to meet growing demand, the association said in its November forecast.
This year, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Canada said it expects to increase its crude oil exports as Western importers turn away from Russian oil. Meanwhile, as oil prices remain high, a growing number of Canadian producers are looking to increase production.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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