The number of Canadians working in the energy sector has dropped by nearly a quarter in the last five years, according to a report by Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI).

Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI), a division of Energy Safety Canada, came out with a report this week highlighting the aggressive decline in energy sector jobs. The report says employment of Canadians in the flailing sector has dropped by 23 per cent, or 53,200 jobs, since 2014.

It attributes low oil prices and a lack of pipeline capacity as prevailing reasons for this downward trend.

“Until such time as additional export capacity becomes available, the employment outlook for Canada’s oil and gas sector will continue to be impacted,” said Carol Howes, PetroLMI’s vice-president.

Howes added that the overall uncertainty in the market makes creating accurate forecasts for the industry very difficult.

“Many exploration and production and oil sands companies reported only limited capital and production guidance for 2019 because of the uncertain market conditions. Given PetroLMI’s reliance on capital and operating expenditures to project workforce requirements for our proprietary modelling system, we have for the first time limited our forecast to one year,” she said.

Between 2014 and 2019, PetroLMI estimates the energy sector workforce in Canada shrank from 226,500 jobs to 173,300 jobs.

Another report from PetroLMI on the energy labour market found that about 40 per cent of employees believe uncertainty in the industry will negatively affect their jobs.

As multiple pipeline projects have been cancelled or postponed, the Canadian oil and gas sector has been left barely surviving after crude oil price crash in 2014.

Canada requires increased pipeline capacity to sell to foreign markets, but so far that has failed to happen.

Since 2016, only one new pipeline project has been submitted for government approval, while in the United State 14 have been submitted, leading to what may be a permanent competitiveness crisis in Canadian oil and gas.

Until Canada can get new pipelines built or see a massive increase in prices, fear and uncertainty will be at the centre of the energy sector.

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