Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry has operated in the region since the early 1950s, when multi-national conglomerates such as British American Oil and Gulf Canada tapped the vast reserves of natural gas, much of it sour gas, lying deep under the foothills.  Over the past four decades, Shell Canada has been the largest employer in southwest Alberta.  In 2003, we began to see interest from other companies like Petro-Canada and Talisman.  By 2006, there were 14 oil and gas operators, plus pipeline and seismic companies, health and safety crews, and welders, electricians, and other oilfield services working in parts of the community that had never seen a drilling rig before.

Companies with assets or activities in southwest Alberta in 2010 include:

  • Shell
  • Suncor
  • Compton
  • TransCanada PipeLines
  • Twin Butte Energy
  • Advantage
  • Apache
  • Talisman
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Devon

SASCI's Oil and Gas Committee

Seven oil and gas companies active in southwest Alberta began meeting informally in 2003. Recognizing the benefits of SASCI’s multi-stakeholder constituency, regional scope, and neutral, collaborative approach, these oil and gas companies came together to establish the SASCI Oil and Gas Committee in 2006.  The group has varied in size over time but continues to involve a number of companies engaged in various levels of oil, gas and pipeline activity in southwest Alberta.

The Committee has undertaken valuable projects, both on its own initiative and at the request of other stakeholders in the region.  Committee members have agreed on a definition of “Best Practices”, and, in consultation with regional stakeholders, have developed a “Progressive Practices for Public Consultation” document (which you can find in the Resources section of this website). The Committee has initiated efforts to consolidate research undertakings.  A “Groundwater Best Management Practices” protocol is now complete.  Another of the more recent projects completed by the group is entitled “Energy Activities, Communicating, Consulting and Notifying – An Understanding Between The MD of Pincher Creek and the SASCI Energy Committee”.  This document, now adopted for use by the MD of Pincher Creek will be recommended for use in other municipal jurisdictions.  Other new research initiatives include the establishment of protocols for the sharing of environmental impact assessments between companies.