Picture this…you wake up in the morning with the “beep, beep, beep” annoying sound of your morning alarm going off at 6:15am. You lazily hit the snooze button a couple of times, then decide to face the inevitable and get your butt out of bed. You stumble out of bed and reach for your eyeglasses, so you can see where you’re going, as you make your way to the bathroom. Five quick minutes in the shower with some shampoo and soap, you’re now wide awake and smelling fresh. You then pick up your toothbrush, squeeze some toothpaste and brush those pearly whites. You quickly spray on some deodorant, change into work wear and hastily put some gel in your hair, you are now ready to roll! With 30 minutes of driving in your truck, you arrive at your work’s location where you quickly rush to make that cup of joe, right before your morning meeting.
Most of us have similar mornings to this, quite hectic and following a usual routine using a variety of products each day. According to The American Petroleum Institute, 96% of products we use daily are made from components of petroleum products. In the above example, basically, every product used in the morning routine was made from oil and natural gas components, from the alarm clock, eyeglasses, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair gel, clothing, components of a car, the gas inside it, the asphalt to make our paved roads, along with numerous others not listed. Many aren’t aware of the extent that petroleum products have on our daily lives and how we have become accustomed to living because of these luxuries.
Can you imagine a day without a cell phone? A computer? A T.V.? Shampoo? Toothpaste? A car, bus, or train you took to work? The airplane you took to arrive on your last vacation? Paved roads would become a thing of the past and (we’d be back to the old’ horse and buggy) or walking would be the only forms of transportation, without shoes that is. The world we have become accustomed to living would cease to exist and wouldn’t be nearly as convenient.
When people typically think of oil they think of the fuel in their cars, and natural gas for heating their homes. This holds true with the fact that “23% of energy consumed is for transportation purposes”, according to Canada’s Oil Sands, 2017. What about that other 77%, where does that go? The list of other items produced from crude oil is endless. The energy industry is also responsible for many other benefits, besides consumer goods and transportation, that will soon be highlighted.
One perspective from Energy In Depth 2016, demonstrates how heavily the healthcare industry relies on petroleum products to save and positively impact lives everyday. Modern medicine uses equipment such as pacemakers, MRI machines, wheelchairs, and monitors which are all constructed from petroleum products. Other items comprised of crude oil include anesthetics, IVs, latex gloves, sterilization trays, scrubs, and disposal bins, all of which are used in hospitals every day.
Photo Source: Energy In Depth, 2016
Another aspect many neglect to notice, is that Canada’s oil and gas industry is the largest independent investor to our nation, even during the downturn of last year (2016), this sector still managed to provide a whopping $37 billion to the country (CAPP, 2017). It’s contributions like this that help provide Canadians with new infrastructure, affordable health care, subsidized education, lowered corporate and municipal taxes, among many other benefits. As Canadians, we are lucky to enjoy a high quality of life, that is possible from the natural resources our energy industry produces
According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2017), the oil and gas industry supplies approximately 425,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada. Widely known as our primary industry, it has taken a major hit these last couple years with the crash of oil. This has caused much hardship with thousands of layoffs, stagnant growth, and reduced investment. This downturn though unfortunate, has shown us a taste of what Canada would be like without the support from our major industry, without jobs, reduced investment, we will be lacking significant economic contributions. Without these additional funds, the price to Canadians would be a substantial increase to the cost of healthcare, education and taxes. Despite this downturn, it’s important to remain positive and recognize all the great benefits that the industry provides our country, and realize this is still an industry we need to sustain to thrive as a nation in the future.
Our Canadian energy sector is proudly committed to the highest safety and environmental standards, some of the strictest in the world. The dilemma right now is the logistics involved in getting our products to the desired markets. It is a known fact that pipelines are the most efficient method of transporting crude oil, with lower risk than rail and fewer greenhouse gas emissions produced (Canada’s Energy Citizens, 2015). This leads us to see why it’s crucial that our proposed pipeline projects, Keystone XL, Line 3, Energy East, Trans Mountain, Pacific Northwest LNG are approved and follow through. Completing the Energy East pipeline for example, will help transport Canadian oil to the eastern provinces that currently import more than 50% of their oil used.
Picture Source: Transcanada 2017
Picture Source: National Observer, 2016.
The oil and gas industry offers us more than just the gas in our cars and the energy that heats our homes. Many of us don’t realize that the majority of our daily consumer goods, are all comprised of petroleum materials. We would truly be lost without technology and the products we use day-to-day. It’s also important to understand how critical this industry is for our quality of life in Canada; without it many of us wouldn’t have jobs and our nation would be lacking substantial economic contributions. While we have only seen a snapshot of life without our major industry, the reality would be much worse, the cost of healthcare, education and taxes to name a few would surely increase. We have seen it before and we will see it again, when the energy industry thrives, Canada reaps the benefits. To continue as a prosperous nation, we need to become educated citizens and help support our major industry that provides us with endless benefits.
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