Canada's petroleum industry has a very rich history beginning with the discovery in 1858 of oil in the Sarnia region of Ontario. New companies developed and took on various aspects of operations from exploration to drilling to production and processing. The result was the growth of a complex and major industry with enormous impact on the economy and the peoples of Canada, both at the regional and national level. Because of exports, it is also a significant player internationally.
The industry has always been impacted by cycles of boom and boost that have resulted in the survival of the fittest. Over a span of 150 years, there have been many significant players and it would be impossible to profile them all. The companies included on the Canada's Petroleum Heritage website are, therefore, a sampling of some of the major players. Company profiles include history, accomplishments, and future goals both for the company and the industry. The largest are internationally-based multinationals. Some of the "juniors," however, are regionally based.
The industry is in a constant evolutionary state with companies needing to remain competitive in a global marketplace. They are, thus, focused on shareholder interests and maximizing profits. Because of the importance of the industry to the economy and well-being of all Canadians, more-and-more, citizens, governments and the non-profit sector are calling on companies to become better corporate citizens. Ownership, environmental, safety, royalty and other concerns have now been added to corporate agendas.
The industry traditionally has supported community causes including sponsorship of the arts and sciences as well as social causes. Major support has also gone to post-secondary institutions, in particular those relating to trades and specializations of importance to the industry. Building relationships with post-secondary institutions also supports students who want to enter the industry.