Prosperity and Decline: 1947-1980
A 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
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.
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
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.