Emissions reduction was a big topic at the Heavy Oil Show in Lloydminster Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Estevan city councillor Tony Sernick was in the Border City on behalf of MANTL, where he works in business development.
He said the industry could do a better job promoting how much they adapt to tighter environmental regulations.
"No matter what the industry's faced with, if somebody tells us to reduce emissions, that's what the industry does... I bet you half the booths there were some sort of emission reduction, whether it's not flaring gas, and all sorts of solutions on that."
The technology required to meet government requirements can be costly, but can spur additional economic activity.
"It does create another industry, right? Equipment, ideas, and designs aren't free. There's a cost to everything at the end of the day."
The cost of oil has been in the mid-to-high $80s over the last week on the West Texas Intermediate. Prior to January 2022, they hadn't been in the mid $80s since late 2014.
Sernick said the industry is in a good position right now, though a couple factors are holding back production.
"Everybody's busy, but it's not over-the-top busy. Everybody's looking for employees to hire. That's probably the biggest drawback, or obviously the oil industry would be a lot busier."
Sernick said a lot of people that were working on the patch in 2014 went on to other careers and are content with where they are now.
Oil companies being slower to ramp up production than they were before the downturn has also affected the activity in the oilfield.
"Years back if the oil price was good - right now it's hovering in the 80s, which is still a good price - oil companies would be trying to increase production as fast as they can. But just being through a long downtown here, everybody's cautious with spending too much."
The Heavy Oil Show hadn't been held the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to the return of the Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Show in Weyburn, Sernick said it was great to see so many people from the industry in person again in Lloydminster.