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Economic Benefits

Our challenge

Albertans own an incredibly valuable energy resource valued by the province, country and the entire world. It is essential that Albertans benefit from the oil sands industry; while at the same time the province must nurture an attractive investment climate to remain a stable global energy supplier.

Our actions

Alberta's oil sands reserves are developed by private enterprise, regulated by independent agencies, and subject to policy and laws developed by democratically elected governments. Oil sands development benefits all Canadians through employment opportunities as well as generating royalties and taxes that help pay for government services and programs.

Fast facts

Alberta's remaining proven oil reserves are about 170 billion barrels (about 168 billion barrels in the oil sands), or about 13 per cent of total global oil reserves.

About 1.9 million barrels of crude were produced every day from the oil sands in 2011.

The energy sector (oil and gas/mining)accounted for over 22 per cent of Alberta's GDP in 2012.

As of July 2013, there were 114 active oil sands projects in Alberta. Of these, six were producing mining projects (three more are under application); the remaining projects used various in-situ recovery methods.

Benefits to Albertans

In 2012, approximately 121,500 people were employed in Alberta's upstream energy sector, which includes oil sands, conventional oil and gas, and mining.

Royalties from the oil sands were $3.56 billion in 2012-2013. This is Albertans' share of the revenue from oil sands production and helps fund many public services.

According to the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), Alberta can expect $350 billion in royalties and $122 billion in provincial and municipal tax revenue from the oil sands over the next 25 years.

About 10 per cent of the oil sands workforce is Aboriginal.

In 2011, the value of contracts between oil sands companies and Aboriginal companies was over $1 billion.


Capital investment in the oil sands is estimated to add up to $207 billion over the 2013-2022 period.

Every dollar invested in the oil sands creates about $8.00 worth of economic activity, one-third of which occurs outside Alberta's borders in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

In total, from 2001-2012, an estimated $160 billion has been invested in the oil sands industry.

Benefits to Canadians

Oil sands currently affects the jobs of 112,000 people across Canada outside the province of Alberta and this is expected to grow to over 500,000 jobs over the next 25 years..

Oil sands investment indirectly affects six broad sectors. In order of size, they include professional services, oilfield services, manufacturing, wholesale trade, financial services, and transportation.

Alberta economy

Over the past 10 years, Alberta has been a growth leader across a broad range of industries, from finance and insurance to manufacturing.

Alberta exports of goods rose by about 50 per cent from 2002 to 2012 to $95 billion, which includes almost $68 billion in energy exports.

The lowest tax regime in Canada. Alberta businesses do not pay general sales taxes, capital taxes or payroll taxes and Alberta has the lowest gasoline tax among provinces. The general corporate tax rate is 10 per cent, and the small business tax rate is three per cent.

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