“The COVID-19 crisis has posed challenges to producers because it takes a large number of bodies to keep oil and gas operations going and that work can’t be done remotely,” says Pat Maguire, vice chairman and Calgary managing partner at Bennett Jones LLP. “As a result of the oil price crash a few years ago, producers implemented significant cost reduction strategies already, so there is not a lot of fat to trim, but prices for services will go down as demand goes down, so there’s some opportunities for companies there.”
In what Maguire describes as “a couple of bright spots,” two major projects look set to continue. Despite objections from environmental activists and First Nations, work continues on Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which aims to almost triple the capacity of the existing pipeline system. The Alberta government has invested in TC Energy Corporation’s Keystone XL oil pipeline, which is expected to transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Western Canada to terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast.