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  Home>> History>> Prosperity and Decline: 1947-1980

Prosperity and Decline: 1947-1980

Leduc Oil RigA new source of revenue for the province of Alberta was discovered at Leduc in 1947 and Alberta's fortunes prospered. The Leduc oil strike was the culmination of many years of effort to find oil outside of the Turner Valley.

After the brief Korean War in the early 50s, the 1960s were a period of strength for many sectors of the Alberta economy. Investment was booming in the period between 1962 and 1968. The prairie provinces were prosperous due to high wheat sales to Russia and China. Industries, in general, demonstrated greater skill and success in securing foreign markets for their products.

The 1970s were a time of weakness in Canada, though Alberta continued to thrive. The impact of higher energy prices and the growing competition for international markets would further reduce Canada's ability to compete in world markets.

The year 1981 saw a decline in money spent by the petroleum industry. The deregulation of oil prices in the United States marked the beginning of drilling rigs moving away from Alberta to the United States. As a consequence, Alberta suffered a high unemployment rate. In the fall of 1980, the Canadian government introduced its National Energy Program that substantially changed regulations affecting the Canadian oil and gas industry. Increased uncertainty and reduced cash flows contributed to a major slowdown in activity, and money spent on exploration and development declined by 9.6 percent.

The year 1982 witnessed a surge of cancelled or postponed major projects, primarily in the energy field. These cancellations were attributable to the world recession. Alberta's economy suffered as oil production continued to decline since its peak in 1973.

 

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