and ServicingRecovering Resources
has located a reservoir of oil or gas, the operating company's production
department takes over the task of bringing the resource to the surface. Petroleum is not produced from underground lakes. Rather, oil and gas are
contained in the pores and fractures of certain sedimentary rocks in the same
way that water is held in a sponge.
Oil and gas
production employs thousands of Canadians in jobs ranging from reservoir
engineering to oil field operations and well servicing. Hundreds of businesses
provide services to support the drilling and production sectors. Many of these
companies are members of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada.
The top priority
in recent years has been to make production as efficient as possible. This is
necessary because operating costs in Canada have been high compared to the
selling prices for oil and gas. One measure of success is that total Canadian
oil production did not decline, as was predicted in the 1970s and 1980s, and
actually increased in the 1990s to reach a record 150 million cubic metres in
1997 (including natural gas liquids.) Natural gas output also increased
substantially, reaching a record total of 161 billion cubic metres in 1997.
These production increases were largely due to improved technology, such as
horizontal drilling and expanded oil sands mining projects.
Petroleum Communication Foundation. Our Petroleum Challenge: Exploring Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, Sixth Edition. Calgary: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 1999. With permission from the Centre for Energy.