Thank you again, Mr. Chair. It's great to be back.
I hope the weather improves on the island so you can get those wonderful potatoes out of the ground. We have experienced some interesting weather here in Alberta, as well.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to address the committee. I represent oil and gas well drilling and wells servicing contractors from across the country. These are the hard-working men and women who spend their days on drilling and service rigs, drilling holes in the ground that eventually become the producing wells that supply us with affordable and reliable energy.
Canadians are proud of their oil and gas industry, and the majority of us support its responsible development. This industry has a long history of building Canadian businesses and allowing Canadian families to prosper. They recognize that new pipelines represent thousands of jobs, a bright future for Canada's economy, and a safer way to transport our ethical resources, both domestically and to the rest of the world.
The lack of market access for Canadian oil and gas is an enormous short-, mid-, and long-term liability to the Canadian economy. Without new pipelines, we are not competitive in global markets, and we are losing investment opportunities.
Over the past 18 months, our members have moved over 20 high-spec drilling rigs, including Canadian skilled labour and management teams to the United States. We are losing jobs, talent, market share, margins and our industry, because we cannot compete.
In 2014, there were approximately 800 drilling rigs and 1,200 service rigs in Canada. Today, there are only 600 drilling rigs and 900 service rigs, a difference of 500 rigs. In 2019, we are estimating the rig fleet count to decrease again, to only 550 drilling rigs, a 30% reduction since 2014.
These statistics should alarm policy-makers, because every active drilling rig represents 135 direct and indirect jobs. It means that an estimated 54,000 high-value jobs have disappeared from the Canadian economy and are not coming back because of the relocation of these assets.
Unfortunately, given Canada's recent track record and the looming prospects of Bill C-69 and Bill C-48, we do not see a bright future for the competitiveness of the Canadian oil and gas industry. What perhaps is worse is the fact that as we sit paralyzed, fretting over the most regulated, safe and environmentally conscious hydrocarbon jurisdiction in the world, countries such as the United States have incentivized investment in their own oil and gas sector. For example, the recent tax reforms in the United States have provided businesses with the ability to immediately expense 100% of investments in machinery, equipment and qualified approved property in the same year of purchase.
With our world-class standards, Canada has an opportunity to play a significant role in shaping the world's energy future responsibly, yet, rather than enabling our industry, we continue to place roadblocks in front of it. In addition to falling behind regarding market share and investment, our egress challenges cost Canadians $40 million per day in pricing discounts. Canadian lose up to $50 per barrel compared to WTI, depending on the grade of crude, and the majority of these discounts are due to transportation bottlenecks.
In 2016, the federal government removed the fuel excise tax exemption on heating oil from my members. This decision had an effect of increasing costs at a time that our membership could least afford it. We're asking the federal government to reinstate this exemption.
The carbon tax in Alberta and British Columbia, as part of Canada's climate plan, has increased operating costs significantly. A prominent oil and gas producer in Canada stated that it cost over $100,000 in carbon taxes alone to drill a single well in British Columbia. The increasing cumulative costs, however, do not factor in the lost jobs and opportunity costs that are missed as our industry begins to dig itself out of the downturn.
In the meantime, our equipment, people and capital are being redeployed to other oil and gas-producing jurisdictions, such as the United States. Over-regulation has shuttered Canadian oil and gas firms, and in turn harms, not advances, global action on climate. A failed Canadian oil and gas industry cannot help to assist in the reduction of global emissions through the displacement of hydrocarbons from jurisdictions with lagging environmental standards.
In summary, our association is calling on the federal government to do the following. First, defeat Bill C-69 and Bill C-48 in the Senate. Second, reinstate the federal excise tax exemption on heating oil for drilling and service rigs. Third, consider incentives such as allowing firms to expense 100% of their investment capital in the first year.
Fourth, focus Canada's climate strategy around reducing global emissions and not just domestic emissions. Fifth, defend and promote the benefits of our industry, including our world-class standards and technical expertise. Sixth, appeal the lower Federal Court's decision on the Trans Mountain project to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Finally, stand firm in the position that pipeline construction falls under federal jurisdiction and that getting Canadian oil and gas to Canadian and world markets is a priority.
Thank you very much.