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Canada top choice for oil-importing countries in part due to quality, aligned values

New international polling by IPSOS indicates countries around the world have a great deal of respect for Canada when it comes to our oil and natural gas industries. Sarah Ryan breaks down the data – Apr 5, 2023

A new Ipsos poll shows that not only is Canada the number one choice for countries that import oil, the top ranking is in part due to alignment of shared values.

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The poll is part of a bigger study done by Ipsos on the global future of energy. People in 28 countries, over 24,000 responded on a variety of energy issues, including preferred supplier of imported oil, said Gregory Jack with Ipsos.

“Canada was in the top three quite often, and our average ranking on that scale was the highest in the world,” he said.

“People do prefer to get their oil from countries such as Canada, Norway, the United States, that have strong records of democracy and environmental safety.

“When we’re seeing a lot of conflict in areas that have traditionally produced oil, such as Russia, and concerns around countries such as China, the poll demonstrates that globally the world is looking to Canada and other countries like us to produce the and supply the oil that they need.”

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Canada ranked number one, with Norway and the U.S. in second and third, respectively.

“A slim majority (52 per cent) of global respondents agree that countries that import oil and natural gas should only import them from democratic countries like Canada and the U.S., rather than from countries like Russia or Saudi Arabia, while 30 per cent disagree and 18 per cent don’t know,” according to the poll.

The fact that Canada ranks highest amongst all these countries, when it only sells to the U.S., and makes up just four per cent of global oil production, says a lot about Canada’s reputation, said Richard Masson, executive fellow at the University of Calgary and chair of the World Petroleum Council in Canada.

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“That really reflects the reputation our country has as a place that does things the right way, not just producing oil and gas, but all the other elements of environment, social and governance considerations,” Masson said.

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He added that Canada’s high regulatory standards and comprehensive law lets “people understand that there’s no shortcuts taken here that would result in environmental harm.”

And despite the federal government’s plan for zero emissions by 2050, Masson said it is possible for Canada to stay on top of the energy production leaderboard, despite the decrease in need for oil and gas. One thing that needs to be answered, he said, is whether Canada wants to be one of the world’s preferred suppliers or will let others fill that role.

“In the scheme of all that, there’s still lots of room for Canada to be a responsible supplier of the oil that the world needs. What we need to do in that case is to really work on reducing the greenhouse gases that come from producing the oil.”

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Kendall Dilling, president of Pathways Alliance said that Canada should, and “probably will be one of those producers and suppliers for as long as the demand exists.”

With Canada working to decarbonize its oil supply, that means the industry will be able to export decarbonized barrels globally, Dilling said. He added there is a lot of permanent demand for ways to use non-combustive oil and gas — a message that is largely misunderstood.

“It’s important for Canadians to understand we’ve been blessed with this great endowment of resources — the world is going to need them for a long time,” he said. “Let’s collectively come together and produce the most responsibly produced barrel of oil for those global markets for as long as they exist.”

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