Canada is the fifth-largest producer of oil in the world. But when the price of oil plummeted in late 2014, the country's oil-rich western province of Alberta began hurtling toward a recession, with widespread layoffs and historic reductions in drilling activity.
The impact was felt across Canada, too. Crude oil is the country's number one export, and 99 percent of it is sold to the United States. But in recent years, the US has emerged as a major oil producer in its own right, following a revolution in controversial fracking technology that has increased US oil production and contributed to a global oversupply of oil. Now, Canada's energy sector faces the difficult question of how to meet new markets in a changing global energy landscape.
VICE News visited Alberta, known as Canada's "Texas of the North," in what is normally high season for drilling — just before the frozen ground thaws — to explore how the bitter sting of low oil prices is affecting the region's the economy.
In this excerpt, VICE News speaks with the Canadian Association of Oil Drilling Contractors to hear how oil and gas exploration is slowing down, and meets the CEO of a small oil and gas company who is keeping drills in operation on his site, despite the declining oil prices.