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, social and environmental justice, and multi-species ethnographies. 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 on 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 and the general perspectives of community members resulting from changes in the fossil fuel industry as energy transition processes are being strategized.
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. 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 primary source of income, workers have struggled to identify alternatives for their future, maintain their current livelihood, and 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 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 central 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 principal sources of employment. 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, I aim to understand the impacts of workers’ displacement while investigating the community members’ perceptions and responses to the energy transition and gain a more in-depth understanding of the future of oil and gas-centred regions. Listening to those directly affected by layoffs, those currently employed in the oil and gas section of the energy sector, their families and their communities will contribute to public policy by adding valuable information and perspectives on related topics of equity, social justice, and energy ethics.