NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The drop in oil prices has helped plenty of consumers, but it's hurt Canada, an economy that's heavily dependent on oil production.
Investments in Western Canada are declining by as much as one-third, said Tim McMillan, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
McMillan, speaking at the IHS Energy CERAWeek conference in Houston, said the drop in investing has hit the conventional oil producers more so than oil sands producers. Nonetheless, it's a big decline across the board, he reasoned.
Current projects will continue, especially those that take five to seven years or more to complete. These projects have "sunk costs," or money that's been invested and can't be recovered, he said.
The other projects that haven't been started may start to get pushed back, at least until there's more clarity on where oil prices are headed.
Regarding the U.S., increased oil production has created more competition for pipe space, he said.
As oil production continues in areas like the Bakken, which spans across both countries, pipeline space is harder to come by. One of the challenges is finding more access to pipelines and rail transportation, he explained.
Regarding the Keystone pipeline, a topic that has been debated for several years. "We're in a waiting game right now," McMillan said, adding that he hopes it gets approved since it will benefit both Canada and the U.S.
Even without the Keystone pipeline, there are several Canadian pipelines going to both Eastern and Western Canada, as well as the East Coast and West Coast of the U.S.
Rail lines and pipelines continue to expand as production increases, but the hope is that oil prices eventually rebound, McMillan concluded.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.