Labour Outlook

Released: May, 2020

Labour Market Outlook

PetroLMI's labour market projections are produced using a modelling system developed in 2006 and continuously refined through consultation with industry, labour market economists and workforce planning analysts. The model uses industry capital and operating expenditures, productivity, oil and natural gas production and demographics to forecast future demand by industry sub-sectors, occupations and regions.

The assumptions used to project the 2019 oil and gas workforce include:

  • Conventional Exploration and Production (E&P): Capital spending declines by 28% in 2019 to about $20 billion compared to 2018. Operational spending remains flat at about $22 billion as E&P companies focus on productivity improvements and cost-cutting measures to address lower oil and gas prices.
  • Oil sands: Capital spending declines by about 5% in 2019 to $12 billion as large mining projects completed in 2018 move into operation. Capital spending on in situ oil sands operations increases slightly as a handful of expansion projects progress. Operational costs to increase slightly to about $21 billion.

Conventional exploration and production (E&P): Activity for the conventional and unconventional oil and gas reserves, excluding oil sands.
Oil sands: The extraction and upgrading of bitumen.
Oil and gas services: Contracted exploration, extraction and production services to the oil sands and non-oil sands E&P sub-sectors.
Pipelines: Responsible for mainline transmission for transporting daily crude oil and natural gas production.
Outlook 2016A
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Outlook 2017A
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Outlook 2018E
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Outlook 2019F
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A = Actual
E = Estimated
F = Forecast

Released: May, 2020

Notes + Sources

The labour demand projections (i.e., activity demand, replacement demand and net hiring requirements) have been produced using PetroLMI's modelling system for the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry. The system projects labour demand by sector and by industry total for 67 occupations which are mapped to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016. An “other occupations” category is used to capture any residual occupations and ensure total petroleum industry workforce is accounted for.

Employment is projected from baseline employment numbers derived from Statistics Canada and/or direct industry surveys, and then uses employment drivers to identify the required workforce levels to support the level of industry activity (i.e., spending and/or production) in a given year. The model does this by sub-sector and occupations with some adjustments for labour productivity and other factors.

Industry sectors such as the downstream sector, construction, manufacturing, LNG construction and operations, truck transportation as well as professional services are considered out of scope for this outlook.

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