Thursday, December 13, 2012

Canada's National Energy Board Energy Market Assessment

Oil Sands

What are the main conclusions of the Energy Market Assessment?
  • Alberta's oil sands collectively contain vast bitumen resources, one of the largest known hydrocarbon deposits in the world. Established reserves are estimated to be 178 billion barrels.
  • By 2015, production is expected to more than double to about 2.2 million barrels per day.
  • Supply costs of oil sands production have fallen dramatically although the industry recently has been through a period of cost over-runs. In the longer term, it is expected that continuous improvement and new technologies will lower supply costs further.
  • In the short-term, expansions in the traditional markets will occur for the additional supply and, in the longer term, new markets will need to be developed. The industry has been creative when seeking markets for its production.
  • To transport production to existing or new markets, pipelines will have to be expanded or new pipelines will have to be built.
  • The cumulative environmental effects of development are beginning to be considered in a coordinated manner, and companies are combining their individual management strategies. There is an opportunity for developers to be world leaders in long-term sustainable development of oil sands by adopting new technologies and in developing cooperative approaches which address issues such as air emissions and water use.
  • The economic benefits associated with the oil sands are considerable, and a significant portion of the income effect occurs outside of Alberta.
  • If poorly managed, the expansion of the oil sands has the potential to impose negative socio-economic impacts on communities surrounding the regions being developed.
  • Natural gas requirements for the oil sands industry are projected to increase substantially during the projected period from 0.6 billion cubic feet per day in 2003 to a range of 40 to 1.4 to 1.6 billion cubic feet per day in 2015. In response to higher and more volatile gas prices, producers are seeking ways to reduce their dependence on natural gas as the major sources of energy and hydrogen for their operations.
  • Co-generation of steam and electricity holds tremendous synergies for oil sands operations by lowering energy costs and improving electricity reliability.
How much money is being invested in oil sands?
Over C$60 billion in oil sands related projects have been proposed. Approximately C$20 billion has been invested to-date in completed projects.
It takes about 1000 cubic feet of natural gas to produce one barrel of bitumen.
The water requirements for oil sands projects range from 2.5 to 4.0 barrels of water for each barrel of bitumen produced.  (Canada National Energy Board)

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