The World Won’t Wait

Cana­dian en­ergy firms have much to of­fer the world. The time is right for them to go over­seas

Alberta Oil - - BIG PICTURE -

THE REA­SONS OIL SER­VICE FIRMS LOOK ABROAD

for op­por­tu­ni­ties are le­gion. The low loonie, the con­tract­ing do­mes­tic mar­ket, the rep­u­ta­tion of Cana­dian tech­nol­ogy— driven by world-class reg­u­la­tory regimes at home—cre­ate a pow­er­ful pull to­ward foreign mar­kets.

Ko­diak Oil­field Ser­vices has ven­tured as far afield as Ethiopia and Colom­bia, sell­ing its wire­line ser­vices. Stream-Flo put its Mid­dle East dis­tri­bu­tion hub in Dubai, which is just across the water from Iran’s vast emerging mar­ket. The Per­sian Gulf also has strong lo­gis­ti­cal and en­ergy in­vest­ment ties to In­dia, an even larger mar­ket with a rav­en­ous ap­petite for en­ergy, and one which the Pe­tro­leum Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada iden­ti­fies as a key mar­ket. Frack­ing spe­cial­ist Pack­ers Plus has set up shop in Ar­gentina, the U.S. and the Mid­dle East to tar­get shale gas. But the risks are also high in coun­tries that are prone to volatile gov­ern­ments, or where the law is re­garded as a vague ref­er­ence point. And then there’s the pub­lic re­la­tions risk if a firm gets en­snared in po­lit­i­cal, so­cial or en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues—even if they’re not of its own mak­ing. Emerging mar­kets are no place for firms that are risk averse. But the re­wards can be high, and fol­low­ing Cana­dian oil pro­duc­ers into new ter­rain is of­ten a good strat­egy.

Europe may be the world’s next frack­ing fron­tier. If ap­proved, the pend­ing Canada-Europe free trade agree­ment would elim­i­nate 98 per­cent of the tar­iffs be­tween Canada and the Euro­pean con­ti­nent. By then Cana­dian firms should be among the most ex­pe­ri­enced shale gas op­er­a­tors and ser­vice providers in the Amer­i­cas. The bea­con of global mar­kets burns brightly.

Like­wise, the syn­ergy be­tween the global en­ergy and de­fense in­dus­tries might not seem ob­vi­ous. But the Con­vergX con­fer­ence in Cal­gary ear­lier this year brought to­gether the two in­dus­tries to de­velop so­lu­tions to com­mon chal­lenges, such as haul­ing heavy equip­ment to re­mote and in­hos­pitable places. Cana­dian firms are world lead­ers in both in­dus­tries, al­though one sec­tor is al­most en­tirely re­liant on gov­ern­ment spend­ing, while the other is funded far more with pri­vate cap­i­tal.

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