The first nine months of 2019 saw 7,000 fewer workers on Alberta’s oil and gas drilling rigs thanks to low commodity prices, full pipelines, and investors increasingly skittish to bankroll further expansion of the infrastructure necessary to get fossil fuels to market.
According to a report by ATB Financial, the number of active drilling rigs between January and September stood at 92, down 48 from the same time period last year, writes Star Calgary.
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The job losses on the rigs—each of which provides 21 direct jobs and 124 indirect ones, according to the ATB report—are part of a larger projected decline in oil and gas employment numbers, the paper writes. An April report from Energy Safety Canada’s petroleum labour market information division predicted the industry would shed 12,500 jobs by December 2019.
Star Calgary says a lack of pipeline capacity in Western Canada—which “industry leaders and politicians alike continue to bemoan”—is not the sole driver of industry job losses. As fossils continue to aggressively automate and digitize their processes to cut costs, other workers who depend on the industry for their living, like heavy haul drivers, will find themselves out of a job.
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