Dr. Anna Bettini is a postdoctoral research associate at the Calgary Institute for Humanities at the University of Calgary. Her research interests include anthropology of energy, environmental history, processes of deindustrialization, and social and environmental justice. Originally from Italy, she completed her university studies in the U.S. and in the U.K, where she received a double B.A. degree in Anthropology and Primate Behavior & Ecology from Central Washington University and her M.A in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent. In 2021, she successfully defended her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Alberta, Canada. In her doctoral research titled “Voices from a Fractured Landscape: Fracking, Senses of Places, and Risks in Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand”, Dr. Bettini explored the perspectives about hydraulic fracturing in Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, to understand the changes and the impacts people have experienced around their senses of place and belonging. Her ethnographic study unveiled the risks and living conditions experienced by those living in fossil fuel-dependent regions, where new or unconventional extractive techniques occur. Her current multi-sited ethnographic research in Canada and New Zealand examines the displacement of oil and gas workers resulting from the changes occurring in the fossil fuel industry as energy transition processes are being strategized and taking place.

PROJECT STATEMENT

After oil and gas—A fairer transition for workers: A comparative study of Canada and New Zealand

The oil and gas industry is facing transformational change. The 2020 oil market price crash has deepened existing challenges, and the various strategies to decarbonize economies and lower CO2 emissions have resulted in job cuts and displacement of oil and gas professionals. In regions where the oil and gas industry has been the main source of income, workers have struggled to identify alternatives for their future, to maintain their current livelihood, and to satisfy their basic needs. A more in-depth analysis of the challenges the oil and gas workforce faces and what educational and professional programs could be made available and/or can be implemented to redeploy displaced skilled workers from the sector is required. In my proposed research, I aim to investigate this displacement, by listening directly to the workers to learn what they envision for their future. For my project, I will focus on two main geographic regions: Taranaki, New Zealand, and Alberta, Canada, both areas considered the centers of oil and gas production in their respective countries. In both jurisdictions, the energy sector has become one of the prevalent sources of employment, especially for those belonging to Indigenous populations, including Maori, First Nations, and Metis. Many are the challenges and uncertainties presented to these communities to transition to cleaner and greener forms of energy. By using in-depth interviews and collecting oral histories, my goal is to explore which educational and professional tools are in place for workers to assist in their transition, and what could be eventually improved or be created to allow a fair opportunity for their inclusion in the shifting labor market. Listening to those directly affected by layoffs and those currently employed in the oil and gas section of the energy sector will contribute to public policy by adding valuable information and perspectives on related topics of equity, social justice, and energy ethics.