Why develop unconventional resources?

Energy resource development is the backbone of the provincial economy and is a vital element to Canada’s economy. Revenue from non-renewable resources account for almost a third of the Government of Alberta's budget and is the largest contributor to the province's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), exports, and capital investments. An estimated one in 12 people in Alberta are employed in the upstream energy industry. 

Decades of oil and gas production has resulted in a decline in Alberta's conventional oil and gas reserves. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) estimates a reserve outlookexternal link icon each June.  The AER estimates supply and  the remaining established reserves of conventional crude oil in Alberta to be 1.7 billion barrels; about one-third of Canada’s remaining reserves. For natural gas, Alberta’s remaining reserves amount to approximately 31.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf).

Advances in technology and better economic conditions have allowed industry to develop oil and gas from areas that were not possible in the past. The Government of Alberta works with industry to promote innovation and technology that helps our energy sector. Millions of dollars are invested each year by both government and industry to advance research and technological innovations in support of responsible development of Alberta’s energy resources.

Since 1930, the Government of Alberta has been recognized as a leader in managing its own resources and has had an effective policy and regulatory framework in place for more than 75 years. Regulatory review, strategic planning and information dissemination to the public are key priorities for the government in response to emerging unconventional resource development.