The powerful image of a pump jack on the prairie is a critical part of Alberta's past, present and future. Developing the province's conventional oil resources has been an important facet of Alberta life since 1914 when the province's first major oil field was discovered at Turner Valley. Alberta was also responsible for a pivotal event in Canada's energy history in 1947 when the drilling of a successful well at Leduc, just south of Edmonton, transformed the nation from oil-poor to oil-rich, overnight.
This development has created an extensive infrastructure that facilitates the continued drive to locate, drill for and transport the oil to market. This infrastructure continues to grow and Alberta's oil industry remains a key component of the provincial economy accounting for thousands of jobs in exploration, production, transportation, refining, distribution, and marketing.
To ensure that this valuable resource contributes to our province, Alberta Energy manages the province’s resources by promoting and encouraging exploration and development of reserves, calculating and collecting royalties from producers, and marketing the Crown's share of crude oil production through private sector and in-house marketing agents.
The Department also supports the development of new technologies for recovering oil and reducing the impact of oil development on our environment. Together with industry, we focus on finding innovative and more efficient ways to extract a higher percentage of crude oil from conventional reservoirs.
Most of the crude oil produced in Alberta is exported to other markets. The crude oil that remains in the province is refined into transportation fuels and other oil products to heat homes and buildings, generate electricity, and manufacture lubricants, waxes, plastics, synthetic rubber and asphalt.