Technology & Science

Oilsands wealth grew 23-fold since 1990

The value of Canada's oilsands grew 23-fold to $441 billion from $19 billion between 1990 and 2009, Statistics Canada reports.

The value of Canada's oilsands grew 23-fold to $441 billion from $19 billion between 1990 and 2009, Statistics Canada reports.

That put the value of crude bitumen from the oilsands higher than the value of coal, crude oil and natural gas combined, according to a report on the economy and the environment released Tuesday. The oilsands only became Canada's highest value energy resource in 2006, when they surpassed natural gas.

The value of the oilsands has grown faster than their development. The amount of reserves under active development increased eight-fold to 4,300 million cubic metres from 500 million between 1990 and 2008. The report credits improvements in extraction technology, new discoveries, and an increase in global demand for crude oil.

Overall, the value of Canada's natural resources (not including fish and wildlife, water, wetlands and parks ) tripled to $3 trillion between 1990 and 2009, the report said. Per capita, the value of land, timber, and energy and mineral reserves increased from $33,000 to $89,000 from 1990 to 2009. That was largely due to increased prices, the report notes.

The value of "produced wealth" such as buildings, machinery and equipment and other goods remained higher, increasing to $130,000 from $68,000 between 1990 and 2009. However, its value did not grow as quickly as the value of natural resources.