Energy

Energy production in Canada increased in 2010, rising 3.6% to 21,213 petajoules. One petajoule is enough energy to run Montréal's Metro for one year. Production rose year over year for refined petroleum products (10.4%), coal (10.0%) and crude oil (6.8%), whereas it fell for natural gas (3.3%) and electricity (3.0%).

Most of the energy Canada produced in 2010 was crude oil (29%), natural gas (28%) and refined petroleum products (22%); the rest was coal (7%) and electricity from primary sources (8%)—hydro, nuclear, wind and tidal. Hydro generation, the largest primary source in 2010, accounted for 63% of electric power and totalled 346.7 million megawatt hours.

Canada exports much of the energy and energy products it produces. In 2010, these exports totalled about 9,700 petajoules, up 3% from 2009. In 2010, Canada exported 63% of its crude oil, 61% of its marketable natural gas, 55% of its coal, and 20% of its refined petroleum products.

Energy imports totalled 3,600 petajoules in 2010, down 1% from 2009. Almost half was crude oil, 24% was natural gas, 15% was refined petroleum products and 8% was coal. Together, these commodities and products made up virtually all (97%) of Canada's energy-related imports in 2010.

Canada's energy consumption increasing

Following two years of decrease, Canada's total energy consumption increased 2.2% to about 7,622 petajoules of energy in 2010. From 1980 to 2009, energy consumption per capita declined from 335.1 to 325.1 gigajoules per person, while energy consumption per (chained 2002) dollar of real GDP also declined, from 13.1 to 8.5 megajoules per dollar of GDP.

In 2010, most of the energy consumed (41%) was refined petroleum products, while natural gas accounted for 31% and electricity, 24%. Despite 15% growth in consumption, coal comprised just 1% of total consumption, since over half (55%) of the coal mined in Canada was exported.

The transportation sector consumed the most energy in 2010—34% of the energy used—followed by the combined residential and agricultural sectors (20%), manufacturing (19%), commercial and public administration (15%), and mining, oil and gas extraction (10%).

Among the provinces, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec consumed the most energy—74% of total energy demand in 2010. Energy consumption increased in 2010 in all provinces, except Newfoundland and Labrador (-14.0%), Quebec (-2.1%) and Manitoba (-1.5%).

Trends in natural wealth

In 2010, Canada's natural wealth—the current dollar value of energy resources, mineral resources, timber and land—totalled $3,163 billion. From 2005 to 2010, natural wealth per capita averaged about $89,000. Produced wealth, which includes residential and non-residential structures, machinery and equipment, consumer durables and inventories, averaged $122,000 per capita.

Natural wealth fluctuates more than produced wealth, primarily because natural resource prices are volatile on world markets. As well, higher prices encourage exploration, which ultimately increases reserves. In 1990, Canada had $927 billion—$33,000 per capita—of natural wealth; over the following two decades, its average annual growth rate was 6%, compared with 4% for produced wealth.

Timber resource wealth grew an average 4% per year until 2004. Since then, its value has been declining as the forest sector has faced challenges such as the downturn in U.S. housing. Mineral resource wealth remained relatively constant from 1990 until 2003, and then grew significantly from 2004 to 2008 along with world market prices.

In 2009, Canada's natural resource wealth contracted because of the global recession, after expanding from 2003 to 2008, propelled by record growth in energy and mineral prices and by rising demand from burgeoning economies such as China.

Energy resources have contributed the most to Canada's natural wealth since 2000, and they have also been the most volatile. For example, in 1990, the oil sands reserves in Alberta—one of the world's largest hydrocarbon deposits—amounted to 500 million cubic metres and had a value of $19 billion.

By 2010, thanks to better technology and higher oil prices, the amount of economically extractable oil sands had expanded eightfold to 4.1 billion cubic metres, so that these reserves were valued at $460 billion in 2010—more than Canada's coal, crude oil and natural gas reserves combined.

Chart 11.1 Energy final demand
View data source for chart 11.1

Date modified: