Monday, November 16, 2009

Digging for Oil; Canada Is Unlocking Petroleum From Sand

Summary: In Canada, less than 1% of the available oil sands have been used to produce oil. “According to Canada's National Energy Board, there are at least 300 billion barrels of recoverable oil within a 250-mile radius of this northern city, about 15 percent more than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia.” Canada’s oil sand production is expected to grow drastically in the next few years thanks to the new advancements in technology, which make the production of oil sands easier and cheaper.

Comment: As we already know, Canada is the largest oil supplier country of the United States. This means that if Canada’s oil sands production is going to increase drastically in the next few years, the amount of oil coming from oil sands in the United States is obviously going to increase as well. This is a really good thing because we need to take advantage of the other ways we can produce oil rather than just from petroleum, which we know is already running out.


Orbi Dayrit said...

I do think it is a good idea that Canada is trying to find a way to obtain and make us of the unconventional oils available to them, but I don’t think that they should drastically shift their focus on their oil sands. The main reason I say this is that the environment is closely linked to energy and how we obtain it. If Canada were to start operating to make use of these sands, there will be much harm to the environment. Like all mining and non-renewable resource operations, oil sands will have negative effects on the environment. The land in Canada, where the sands are located, will be stripped and the overburden discarded. Also the opportunity costs of roughly two tons of oil sands only produce one barrel of oil is a payoff that will impact that region much more heavily. The water used for the separation process will have large deposits of chemicals in them, which will drain into the rivers and ponds. Lastly, more carbon will be released into the atmosphere when transporting the sands and through the use of the oils these sands produce. However, I see that with the newer technology, that will decrease production price, and increased interest of the world’s obsession to cure their addiction to Middle Eastern Oil, that scientists will have more funding to find a way to minimize all these risks.

WattsUp03 said...

The oil sands in Alberta alone surpass the proven oil reserves of every country besides Saudi Arabia. This older article makes some good points and grabbed my attention when I read that oil was $30 dollars a barrel. The price of oil has made this a very economical source if the companies were able to maintain production costs of around $9 a barrel. Now Alberta alone is producing 1.31 million barrels per day (2008), and hopes to produce 3 million a day by 2018. Mr. Carter, the Syncrude president, hopefully bet right on the oil sands because they became much more economical to produce with oil being at about $78 per barrel today, and did not have to worry about making money with oil prices dropping back to the teens. The Canadians want to continue to sell their oil to us and do not really care about destroying about 1 ten thousandth of their land in order to produce the oil. This was a good article to look back at and think the low cost of oil only nine years ago.

Sources (oil sands production at 305,000 bpd for Suncor last quarter) (site for joint venture in article, Suncor, Conoco etc.)