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The energy and resource sectors are crucial economic contributors to Canada

Canada's energy and resource sectors attract manufacturers from around the world, and for good reason.

A vast geography rich in natural resources is attracting businesses involved in oil and gas exploration, mining and wind energy, and the manufacturing supply chain in the country is benefiting.

Canada is a leader in oil and gas exploration and is the third largest natural gas and sixth largest crude oil producer in the world. The industry invested $51 billion in the Canadian economy in 2010, making it the largest single private investor in the country. Mineral extraction with oil and gas extraction contributed $49 billion, or almost 3.9 per cent to Canada’s GDP in 2011.

In mining, some 320,000 Canadians work in mineral extraction, smelting, fabrication and manufacturing. In 2011, mining contributed $35.6 billion to Canada’s GDP, with $8.5 billion devoted to mineral extraction and more than $27 billion to processing and manufacturing. Mining accounted for nearly 23 per cent of the value of Canadian exports in 2011.

The wind energy sector is relatively new when compared to oil and gas and mining, and represents one of the fastest growing energy sectors in the country. The country’s vast geography plays well into the development of wind turbines on wind farms. Industry estimates note globally 40,000 to 60,000 wind turbines will be put into operation annually through to 2020.

Many of Canada’s manufacturers have honed their skills servicing the energy and resource sector. TS Manufacturing, Lindsay, ON, is one. It manufactures large parts, such as a 250 ft-long, 12-ft (76 m-long, 4 m) wide tubular section it ships to customers outside of Canada, such as Paraguay.

Another example is Kubota Materials Corp., Orillia, ON. A typical flatbed truckload is about 40,000 lb (18,000 kg). The company supplies steel alloy foundry castings to customers in North and South America, Australia and Europe. “We make 300 tons a month of castings,” says Matthew Webb, manager. “Right now we have a three to four month backlog, and in the past that has extended to a year.”

What sets manufacturers in Canada apart is their unique ability to manufacture, deliver and service big parts in remote locations.

Saskatoon’s Standard Machine, active in the mining sector, suppliers gearboxes, large shafts and gears, some weighing up to 40,000 tons or more, that must then be delivered to clients as far away as South America.

These companies have overcome the challenges of manufacturing, shipping, assembling and maintaining large parts in far away places. TS Manufacturing, for example, uses a lot of hot rolled steel parts–pre-assembled as much as possible in its Lindsay facility–and sent in containers overseas.

Canadian companies have built a strong reputation for servicing the energy and resource markets around the world that they will be able to capitalize on for years to come. SMT

Written by Mary Scianna, based on published information from contributing editor Tim Wilson.


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