The 2019 Global Energy Pulse is a unique global energy survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Results from 2019 indicate a majority of Canadians support our country’s oil and natural gas industry.
Survey results show that seven in ten Canadians prefer to use domestic oil and natural gas over imported energy sources. And almost half of Canadians surveyed believe critics’ views of the industry tend to focus on political confrontation, not industry realities.
In addition, among the world’s top 11 oil and natural gas exporting nations, about one quarter of global respondents would choose Canada as an energy source. However, while support for importing Canadian oil and natural gas is strong in most countries surveyed, support is not as strong in the Middle East or Asia – including China, India and Southeast Asia – key emerging markets for Canadian energy exports.
There’s more: most respondents globally view oil and natural gas as contributing positively to their quality of life and few feel it’s feasible that they will use little or no oil and natural gas within the next 10 years.
One-third of global respondents view Canada’s energy industry as a leader in technology and innovation aimed at minimizing the industry’s environmental footprint.
One of the most notable shifts compared to the 2017 study lies in attitudes toward critics of the energy sector. Half of Canadians (49%) agree that critics’ views about the oil and natural gas industry tend to be more about political confrontation and don’t reflect the reality of what’s going on in the industry. Among those with an opinion on the topic, 60% reject activist tactics. This finding reflects an increase from two years ago when 45% of Canadian respondents thought critics’ views reflected political confrontation.
Overall survey results indicate an opportunity for Canada to be more assertive in telling our energy story and the role Canadian energy can play globally in these markets to help reduce energy poverty and global emissions.
In particular, environment, social and governance (ESG) is becoming important to everyday consumers of oil and natural gas around the world. Canada’s oil and natural gas is responsibly produced, including high safety standards, strong corporate governance, robust regulations, and a commitment to continuous improvement especially regarding environmental performance, and creates opportunities for Indigenous participation and shared benefits.
Canada as a preferred energy source
Despite a turbulent two years for the Canadian energy sector’s ongoing challenges around gaining access to global markets since the 2017 survey, respondents in countries around the world continue to see Canada as the preferred source to provide oil and natural gas among the world’s top 11 exporting countries. Support is strong for countries (such as Canada) that have climate change policies in place.
Domestic versus foreign sources of energy
Nationalist sentiment toward energy sources exists globally. Given the choice, more than half of global respondents would prefer using their own oil and natural gas instead of imported energy, although when asked to choose among energy-producing nations, global respondents were most likely to prefer oil and natural gas from Canada.
At home, the vast majority of Canadians – 70% – prefer oil and natural gas produced in Canada to imports from other countries. And Canadians are less likely to want more energy from the United States than they were two years ago.
However, as the fifth-largest producer of oil in the world, and with almost 170 billion barrels in oil reserves, Canada continues to import billions of dollars of oil every year from sources including the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Nigeria.
Perhaps one of the most telling findings of the 2019 survey is that compared to 2017 results, more Canadians (about half) feel critics’ views about Canada’s oil and natural gas industry tend to be about political confrontation from industry critics and don’t reflect industry realities.
Quality of life and future energy demand
Most respondents around the world believe their lives are better with access to oil and natural gas, and both are viewed as priority energy sources to meet future energy demand. Natural gas has a large advantage over oil with 71% of respondents agreeing that natural gas should be a priority source of energy while 52% support oil as a future energy source.
Most respondents around the world believe their lives are better with access to oil and natural gas, and both are viewed as priority energy sources to meet future energy demand. Natural gas has a significant advantage over oil – 71% of respondents who feel that natural gas should be a priority source of energy compared to 52% for oil.
In addition to providing energy for transportation, household and industrial uses, the energy sector’s strength is delivering positive economic impacts. About four in ten global respondents provide favourable ratings for the economic impact of oil and natural gas industry.
Among those with an opinion on the topic, 52% of Canadian respondents believe Canada’s oil and natural gas are the safest and most responsibly produced energy sources in the world. Challenges remain regarding perceptions of ethical business practices and sincerity for reducing environmental impacts; 29% of global respondents feel the energy sector is sincere in its commitment to environmental stewardship.
Future of oil and natural gas
While about one-third of global respondents believe it’s possible to shift away from oil and natural gas completely in the next 10 years, 40% are confident the energy sector can deliver economic benefits while balancing environmental impacts.
Globally, fewer respondents think oil is the primary source of energy in their country compared to 2017 results (26% vs. 29%). About half of global respondents (48%) think countries should try to use less oil in the future in favour of using more renewable energy sources. However, support is strong for using energy from countries that have plans to address climate change (41%).
Results indicate that global respondents remain split on whether there is the right amount or too little regulation in the energy sector. Fifty-four per cent believe the natural gas industry has the right amount of regulation, while 44% feel the oil industry is adequately regulated.
Primary sources of energy
Globally, fewer respondents think oil is a primary source of energy in their country relative to 2017 results. Most respondents think countries should try to use less oil in the future, in favour of using more renewable energy sources. Support is strong for using energy from countries that have plans to address climate change.
Perhaps impacted by ongoing tensions in Canada around building pipelines, and undermined by foreign-funded activists, trust in oil and natural gas companies is lower among Canadians than the rest of global respondents.