Economy of Alberta

Alberta's economy is the sum of all economic activity in Alberta, Canada's fourth largest province by population. Although Alberta has a presence in many industries such as agriculture, forestry, education, tourism, finance, and manufacturing, the politics and culture of the province have been closely tied to the production of fossil energy since the 1940s. Alberta—with an estimated 1.4 billion cubic metres of unconventional oil resource in the bituminous oil sands—leads Canada as an oil producer. Revenue from oil and natural gas extraction has fueled a series of economic booms in the province's recent history, and economic spin-offs have included petrochemical and pipelines. In 1985 36.1% of Alberta's $66.8 billion GDP was from energy industries. In 2012, "the mining and oil and gas extraction industry made up 23.3% of Alberta's GDP." By 2013 Alberta's GDP was $331.9 billion with 24.6% in energy. The energy industry provided 7.7% of all jobs in Alberta in 2013. From 1990 to 2003, Alberta's economy grew by 57% compared to 43% for all of Canada—the strongest economic growth of any region in Canada. In 2006 Alberta's per capita GDP was higher than all US states, and one of the highest figures in the world. In 2006, the deviation from the national average was the largest for any province in Canadian history. Alberta's per capita GDP in 2007 was by far the highest of any province in Canada at C$74,825 (approx. US$75,000). Alberta's per capita GDP in 2007 was 61% higher than the Canadian average of C$46,441 and more than twice that of all the Maritime provinces. From 2004 to 2014 Alberta's "exports of commodities rose 91%, reaching $121 billion in 2014" and 500,000 new jobs were created. In 2014, Alberta's real GDP by expenditure grew by 4.8%, the strongest growth rate among the provinces." Beginning in June 2014 the record high volume of worldwide oil inventories in storage—referred to as a global oil glut—caused crude oil prices to collapse at near ten-year low prices. By 2016 West Texas Intermediate (WTI)—the benchmark light, sweet crude oil—reached its lowest price in ten years—US$26.55. In 2012 the price of WTI had reached US$125 and in 2014 the price was $100. By February 2016 the price of Western Canadian Select WCS—the Alberta benchmark heavy crude oil—was US$14.10—the cheapest oil in the world. Alberta's economy suffered with over 100,000 oil patch jobs lost. In spite of the surplus with the low price of WCS in 2015—99% of Canada's oil exports went to the United States and in 2015 Canada was still their largest exporter of total petroleum—3,789 thousand bpd in September, 3,401 thousand bpd in October up from 3,026 thousand bpd in September 2014.


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