Question: The future Saskatchewan oil market

Research paper worth 70% (10% for the draft outline, and 60% for the final paper) of Final Grade:

You have the choice between two research paper topics as outlined in detail at the end of the syllabus. Your paper should be no more than 2,500 words in length (approximately 6-8 double-spaced pages) for the body of the text. Papers longer than this word length will be penalized. Also include a title page and list of works cited/bibliography employing an established academic format; the paper should be typewritten and in 12 pt. font. To facilitate your writing the paper, you are to formulate a 1-page outline of your paper (due Tuesday June 2).

     The draft outline of your paper will be submitted by email through URCourses by 13:30 on Tuesday June 2.

     The Research paper will be submitted by email through URCourses by 13:30 on Monday June 22, which is the date of the final exam. Note, there is no final exam.

The research paper will be graded on the basis of the following factors:

•      Has the student stated a clear, concise, argumentative position on the value/merit of the strategy (versus being descriptive)? Is the position one that requires support (e.g., others would not see it as obvious, trivial, or non-controversial)?

•      Quality of research: Has the student adequately researched the issue and used appropriate scholarly sources and credible journalistic sources (where needed)?

•      Strength of Support & Evidential Relationship: Are the arguments presented clear and complete (for example, do ethical arguments have both a moral and a descriptive premise)? Individually are they good arguments? Are important objections considered and responded to? Do the arguments collectively provide a good case for the overall position advanced? Are smooth transitions maintained throughout the paper? Are examples employed useful and illustrative?

•      Interest/Originality: Is the paper interesting (i.e., would a person want to read this paper?)? How original are the ideas and have they been expressed in a creative way?

•      Mechanics and Essay Format: Does the author use good grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and an appropriate writing style? Are sources properly cited when referenced within the paper, and included in a List of Works Cited/Bibliography?

•      And as a reminder: Students must complete the research paper to pass the course. Failure to complete the paper will result in a grade of NP (Not Passed) for the course.

Please note that the final paper is a significant part of this course. The ability to research and write effectively is important. Students should take this into consideration when registering for this class.

Research Paper Options

The future Saskatchewan oil market – Option #1

1.     The mineral extraction, oil and gas sector represents approximately 17% of Saskatchewan’s GDP. The next largest sector is real estate at 10.4% and agriculture at 8.9%. Source: The Government of Saskatchewan Economic Review 2018, Number seventy-two.

2.     The value of oil produced in Saskatchewan in 2018 was 9,565 (millions of $). Out of a labour force of 570 thousand people approximately 23.5 thousand were employed in the sector. Again, for comparison sake the trade sector employed 89 thousand people; over 78 thousand people were employed in healthcare; 49.5 thousand in construction and 43 thousand in education. Seven thousand people were employed in Saskatchewan’s utilities. Source: ibid

3.     The oil market can be volatile. This can be because of either demand or supply shocks. This volitivity, given points 1 and 2 above, has a significant impact on the Saskatchewan economy.

4.     How this volitivity will play out in the long-run is uncertain. However, it is the nature of public policy that one must prepare for the future; one must plan, and set policy, in the face of uncertainly. Economics is the language of policy.

5.     Given this, your paper will explore the forces (global and domestic) that you think will have the most significant impact/inform the Saskatchewan oil sector. Given what you believe the market is going to look like in, let’s say 15 years, it is your task to recommend an economic policy strategy for the province in order to make sure Saskatchewan is in the most advantageous position possible in 15 years and beyond.

The future Saskatchewan energy system – Option #2

As Bhattacharyya states in the text’s introduction “Energy plays a crucial role in our life, allowing us to perform our daily routines and to undertake economic, social and developmental activities. In fact, we are so dependent on energy that it is hard to imagine a modern living condition without affordable, reliable and adequate supply of energy”. Without putting too fine a point on it: our energy system is important.

But it has to do more than just “a system”. In order to allow us to perform our daily routines it needs to a system that balances being: safe, secure, and reliable. While at the same time minimizing its environmental impact, all at the lowest cost possible. Yes, there will be trade-offs.

This is made clear in Nova Scotia’s electricity plan Our Energy Future 2015-2040:

In choosing a technology for electricity production today, governments must balance a variety of factors such as citizens’ satisfaction, economic outcome and environmental impact. These key issues must be evaluated in the selection of appropriate energy generation technologies, and must all be weighed against the positives and negatives of each technology option based on the individual country goals and desires…

…In choosing a technology for electricity production today, governments must balance a variety of factors such as citizens’ satisfaction, economic outcome and environmental impact. These key issues must be evaluated in the selection of appropriate energy generation technologies, and must all be weighed against the positives and negatives of each technology option based on the individual country goals and desires…

…In the next decade and beyond, more and more energy – including for heat and transportation – is expected to come from clean electricity. Nova Scotians want an environmentally responsible energy future, with stable power rates in an accountable and transparent electrical system. They support innovation, but not at any price.

Given this, your paper will propose an energy system for Saskatchewan in 2040, that balances safety, reliability, security, environmental and cost considerations as you see them. You are not constrained by the current system, that is its current energy mix and ownership, but you are constrained by technology and other realities. In other words, you do have to meet whatever you think future demand with realistic technologies. So, saying that you will meet forecasted demand with wind technology isn’t realistic in that it probably won’t meet reliability objectives. Not to mention that there may not be sufficient wind capacity in the province.

Solution:

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