Where in the World are Canadian Oil and Gas Companies? An Introduction to the Project


  • Niloo Hojjati University of Calgary
  • Kai Horsfield Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
  • Shantel Jordison University of Calgary




In April 2013, The School of Public Policy formally launched the Extractive Resource Governance Program, a platform to harness Canadian and international research and technical expertise to assist resource-rich jurisdictions in establishing sustainable and mutually beneficial policies for governance of the extractive sector. The program delivers applied policy research, technical assistance and executive training programs to countries with emerging or established extractive resources, working in collaboration with governments, regulatory bodies, academia, civil society, and industry. Begun in 2011 as an internal research tool for the development of the Extractive Resource Governance Program, this project was conceived as a means to identify jurisdictions where Canadian companies had ongoing projects and activities around the world. This paper introduces the methodology used to answer the question: Where in the world are Canadian oil and gas companies? To answer this question, firm-level data from publicly traded Canadian companies were collected and analyzed culminating in the development of an online tool for public use. This paper accompanies an interactive website launched by The School’s Extractive Resource Governance Program and describes the data available online as well as in the annual reports released by The school. The website and annual reports allow interested users to geographically locate jurisdictions around the world where publicly traded Canadian oil and gas companies have activities, over time. The website is available at http://www.policyschool.ca/research-teaching/teachingtraining/extractive-resource-governance/ergp-map/. While Canada is a well-recognized oil and gas jurisdiction within its own borders, the extent of activity that Canadian companies undertake in the international arena

is less well known. For instance, while Natural Resources Canada collects and publishes regular data on Canadian mining assets and activities abroad, it does not do so for the oil and gas sector. Statistics Canada collects information about Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA)1 in the energy sector, but for the purpose of answering the question posed in this paper, these numbers can be somewhat misleading, as CDIA data solely tracks the first destination of Canadian investment rather than the final destination of investment (which can often be different).2 Frequently, oil and gas companies (like others) use international financial centres to conduct their business operations as part of their global value chain. This can prove problematic when seeking to identify sector-specific data on the final destination of investment. For instance, one of the challenges in using CDIA statistics is the existence of so-called tax-haven countries such as Barbados and the Cayman Islands. Tax-haven countries are low-tax jurisdictions that serve as conduits to the global economy.3 While the capital investment of a Canadian company can initially arrive in a tax-haven country, frequently the investment is ultimately bound for a third-market destination, for instance one in Latin America or the United States.3 The use of tax-haven countries as conduits in financing outbound investments distorts CDIA statistics, making it difficult to use these data to determine the presence of Canadian oil and gas companies around the globe. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the methodology used in the collection of data for the Where in the World (hereafter WIW) project. It begins by presenting the definition of a Canadian oil and gas company (O&G) within the context of the WIW project, followed by a description of the types of O&G companies considered in the analysis. It also provides a description of the data sources used in the extraction of financial and operating statistics, and outlines the various types of data used to determine the scope of O&G activities of Canadians companies abroad.






Technical Papers