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Texas: Experts deliver another round of Eagle Ford bullishness

Welding crews are busy laying pipelines such as this one east of Karnes City, Texas in order to get oil and gas extracted from the Eagle Ford shale formation to market. Pipelines are critical because hauling by truck is more expensive. JOHN DAVENPORT/jdavenport@express-news.net

Welding crews are busy laying pipelines such as this one east of Karnes City, Texas in order to get oil and gas extracted from the Eagle Ford shale formation to market. Pipelines are critical because hauling by truck is more expensive. JOHN DAVENPORT/jdavenport@express-news.net

Posted on by Dan X. McGraw

SAN ANTONIO – The development of the Eagle Ford shale continues to prompt dazzling assessments and predictions from experts, who said at an energy symposium Wednesday that in four years, the oil-rich formation could become the nation’s second-most productive shale play.

Production in the Eagle Ford could reach 1 million barrels a day by 2016, said Trevor Sloan, director of energy research at ITG Investment Research in Calgary, Alberta.

Read More: Fuel Fix » Experts deliver another round of Eagle Ford bullishness.

OPEC and Obama Team Up to Fight Major Energy Breakthrough

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The world’s energy markets are being completely transformed.

The results of the changes will affect the global power structure, and America is going to be a major benefactor of it all.

If you believe we’re going to live in a utopia of solar panels and windmills, think the world is coming to an end because of carbon dioxide, or happen to be an Arab sheik that’s made a fortune off of America’s endless thirst for oil, you’re not going to like the change.

But if you want to invest in the future of American energy — and make some “evil” profits by helping accelerate the real American energy boom — then you’re going to like where things are headed…

Environmentalists on a Mission

Our helicopter touched down in the middle of a remote forest in the Western Canadian countryside.

The pilot asked, “How long you guys planning to be here?”

“Maybe four or five hours.”

He breathed a sigh of relief.

“That’s good?” we wondered.

“Yes. Last time some people wanted to come out here, I ended up sitting here for 14 hours. A bunch of college kids… they were looking for a rare bird, or a salamander — any kind of animal, really.”

“I take it they weren’t successful.”

“Nope. If they had found what they were looking for, none of what we flew over would be here right now.”

We were up in Northern Alberta, just outside Ft. McMurray. The pilot was talking about the flying he was hired to do for a group of environmentalists on a mission.

They were scouring the region for any reason to shut down all of the oil sands projects. Their last desperate hope was to find a cute, cuddly animal they could use to turn the public against more oil, lower gas prices, and an ample supply of conflict-free energy…

They didn’t find anything, and the boom followed.

As Nick Hodge shows you in this video, the town is absolutely booming. Waitresses are making $20 an hour; mobile homes are on the market for $600,000 — and getting multiple bids!

It’s been building for five years. And there are still new projects being built, expanded, and discovered.

More importantly, it’s just part of what’s changing the future of American energy.

America’s Real Energy Future

America’s energy future will be much different than what most people picture today.

Al-Falih, President and CEO of state-owned Saudi Aramco, summed up what’s really going on in America’s energy industry best when he said earlier this week:

The confluence of four new realities — increasing supplies of oil and gas, the failure of alternatives to gain traction, the inability of economies to foot the bill for expensive energy agendas, and shifting environmental priorities have turned the terms of the global energy dialogue upside down. Therefore, we must recast our discussion in light of actual conditions rather than wishful thinking.

He’s absolutely right.

We won’t be surrounded by solar panels and windmills. The cover has been blown off the scam, and the world is waking up to this fact fast.

But hopes for more energy independence aren’t dying as a result. They’re actually becoming more of a reality than they’ve been in decades.

The U.S. currently imports just 46% of its oil from foreign countries. That’s down from 60% a few years ago. On top of that, less than 20% of those imports come from outside the Western Hemisphere.

Great news, right?

It is for many who want more secure fuel supplies and (eventually) lower prices.

But it’s not good news for everyone. And some very powerful interests are fighting this change every step of the way.

Winning Fighting the Future

The few but powerful are fighting the transformation and breaking out all the old cronyist tools to do so: political influence, fear mongering, etc.

The biggest (and most ridiculous) example came last week when the Obama administration announced it was punting on a “controversial” pipeline.

The project, known as the Keystone XL Pipeline, is to stretch from the oil sands in Alberta down to the refineries on the Gulf Coast. It would also pick up oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota…

In all, the pipeline would add a steady flow of 435,000 barrels per day to the United States and create as many as 20,000 jobs to build it.

Sounds perfect. A slew of jobs and energy, all paid for without a single dime of government “investment.”

But there’s a problem.

Groups opposing the pipeline claim one of the nation’s largest and most important aquifers — the Ogallala Aquifer, which accounts for 78 percent of the water used by residents and industry and 83 percent of the state’s irrigation water — would be greatly harmed by a spill.

They claim a single spill from the proposed pipeline would endanger the Heartland’s water supply and well over half of the nation’s food supply.

Inside Climate News reports:

Even a fairly localized spill could cause serious problems. The Ogallala is already under threat from over-depletion, because people are pumping out groundwater faster than it can be replenished by rain and snow. The strain is apparent in northern Texas, where some fear another Dust Bowl as the water table continues to drop.
When TransCanada evaluated the risk of spills on the pipeline, it found that over the next 50 years there could be 11 spills, each releasing more than 50 barrels of oil. (A barrel holds 42 gallons.) But a recent research paper by John Stansbury, a professor of environmental and water resources engineering at the University of Nebraska places the risk at 91 such spills over 50 years.

Sounds ominous, I know.

We’ve got to stop a pipeline from going through this aquifer.

The risks don’t justify the rewards…

What they don’t tell you, however, is that the aquifer is already crisscrossed by pipelines (see map below.)

Ogallala Aquifer Pipeline Map

There are dozens of pipelines carrying oil, natural gas, petrochemicals, and more through the aquifer. And they’ve been there for decades.

It makes you wonder, is it really the aquifer they’re fighting?

Of course not. They’re fighting the oil.

And there are a lot of powerful interests on board…

Saudi Arabia probably has the biggest stake in preventing the Keystone XL from ever being built. And it’s only going to get worse.

In order to prevent the riots and upheaval that have swept through many of its neighboring nations, Saudi Arabia has lavished cash on its citizens through public works projects, services, and handouts to the tune of $130 billion.

The aggressive spending has pushed the oil-rich nation to the point at which it needs oil to trade above $88 a barrel just to break even.

But that break-even price is only going higher as its best customer is becoming less dependent…

The United States is now important less oil from Saudi Arabia than it has in ages.

The percentage of oil imports coming from Saudi Arabia have declined from 11.2% to 9.3% five years ago.

The successful completion of a rapid, cost-effective transport system for the massive amount of oil being pumped out of the ever-growing supplies in the Bakken and Canadian oil sands would only further reduce Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical stronghold in the energy industry.

So Long, Wishful Thinking… Hello, Growth and Prosperity

One of the things we like to do in Freedom & Capital is to look back from the future. We do this to put current events in perspective and in the context of a bigger picture.

That’s why we can see these current events from 20 years down the line as the point when the energy world really changed.

Old entrenched interests fought against change and advancement…

Governments and their cronies tried to prevent new energy sources from coming online…

Environmentalists tried anything they could to advance their vision of what the future will look like, regardless of how inefficient and costly…

In the end, simple economics won out.

The old energy companies responded to demand and high prices and they pushed forward, developing everything they could.

And investors who looked beyond the week-to-week madness of the markets, politics, and other events made absolute fortunes.

Good investing,

Andrew Mickey Signature

Andrew Mickey
Editor, Wealth Daily

 

 

Obama’s Indefensible Pipeline Punt

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CARPE DIEM

Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance

Some excerpts from Vaclav Smil‘s article in the American.com:

“With a total length of close to 3,000 kilometers, the new [Keystone XL] pipeline would add just over 1 percent to the already existing network of crude oil and refined products lines that crisscross the United States and parts of Canada. Why, if pipeline safety is a key concern, have we not seen waves of civil disobedience focused on more than a quarter million kilometers of existing pipelines?

Long-term statistics show convincingly that there is no safer way to transport large masses of liquids over long distances than a pipeline. Moving the same amount by trucks or rail would be much more risky, in addition to being vastly more expensive. So would be moving the oil from Alberta to British Columbia and then shipping it by tankers via the Panama Canal to Texas.

Here comes the craziest twist: if the opponents of the XL succeed and prevent its construction, there is a strong possibility that Alberta’s oil sand-derived oil will be piped westward to Canada’s Pacific coast and loaded on supertankers going to Asia, to feed China’s grossly inefficient industries.

By preventing the oil flow from Canada, the United States will thus deliberately deprive itself of new manufacturing and construction jobs; it will not slow down the increase of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion; it will almost certainly empower China; and it will make itself strategically even more vulnerable by becoming further dependent on declining, unstable, and contested overseas crude oil supplies. That is what is called a spherically perfect decision, because no matter from which angle you look at it, it looks perfectly the same: wrong.”

Source

Crimp in Keystone XL plans may help Houston’s Enterprise

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by Loren Steffy
Posted on November 14, 2011 at 6:37 am

The Keystone XL pipeline may be the first shovel-ready project buried by foot-dragging.

While the Obama administration allows the proposed pipeline, which would move oil from Canada’s oil sands region in northern Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries, to languish, market demands will ensure the oil is transported south by other routes. By the time Keystone gets the green light from the State Department, there may be no demand for it.

Last week, the administration said it would consider alternative routes for the Keystone project to avoid environmentally sensitive areas. It’s a political non-decision that avoids angering key Democratic constituents before next year’s presidential election. Approving the pipeline would have angered environmentalists; rejecting it would have angered labor unions.

Keystone’s stagnation, though, is good news for Houston-based Enterprise Product Partners, which has teamed with Canada’s Enbridge to build its own Alberta-to-the-Gulf network.

Enbridge already has lines to move oil from Alberta to Chicago – avoiding the need for State Department approval – and from there to Cushing, Okla.

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Enterprise’s proposed Wrangler line would transport the oil from Cushing to the Houston area.

“Wrangler becomes the only game in town if Keystone’s going to be pushed back a year,” said Jeff Dietert, an analyst with Houston-based Simmons & Company International. “Producers and shippers are going to be interested in moving crude sooner than that.”

Pipelines don’t compete the same way that, say, retailers do. Demand is measured by long-term commitments for oil and other products. But Enterprise CEO Mike Creel acknowledged that with Keystone on hold, more people may see Wrangler as the best option for moving oil to the Gulf.

“We’ve had a very good reception so far,” he said. “We’ve got the right support from producers and shippers.”

As I wrote this summer, increased oil production from Canada and shale formations in places like North Dakota have resulted in a glut of oil at the pipeline hub in Cushing. That oversupply is keeping prices on West Texas Intermediate crude lower than the world price, which is what most refiners are paying.

The question is how much additional pipeline capacity is needed to bring prices into balance, which would, in theory, result in lower gasoline prices at the pump.

“There’s been a lot of debate about how much really needs to be built,” said John Cusick, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities in New York. “You just hear so much about all of the crude that’s stranded in Cushing.”

In addition to the Wrangler project, other companies are considering ways to get more oil to the Gulf. Houston-based ConocoPhillips, for example, has put its share of the Seaway pipeline up for sale. Currently, the line moves oil from the Gulf Coast inland to supply ConocoPhillips’ Midwestern refineries.

But with the sale – Enterprise owns the remaining interest in the line – the new owners may decide to reverse the flow.

As other companies move in, last week’s delay leaves Keystone’s future far more uncertain than either the administration or the company behind the project, TransCanada, are willing to admit.

“We remain confident Keystone XL will ultimately be approved,” TransCanada’s chief executive, Russ Girling, said in a statement. “This project is too important to the U.S. economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed.”

But it’s not likely Keystone will seem as important a year from now, or that TransCanada or its customers will stick with the project through the latest delay.

With Keystone buried in uncertainty, Enterprise and Enbridge have gained the upper hand.

Source – Fuel Fix

Birthplace of pipeline controversy

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By Paul Hammel

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta — Even those in the Canadian oil industry will tell you that mining oil sands isn’t pretty.

At the Syncrude strip mine north of town, huge scoop shovels gnaw garage-size bites of the dark sands from the terraced walls of the largest open-pit mine of its kind — a 1.5-mile-wide, 300-foot-deep hole scraped out of the boggy forest.

Dozens of dump trucks as big as barns rumble and groan up and down dusty roads, hauling away 400 tons at a time to processing buildings the size of grain elevators.

After a trip through a steam-belching “upgrader” plant — a maze of metal pipes, centrifuges and towers — that 400-ton load of sand eventually becomes 20 barrels of synthetic crude oil.

The mining area stretches as far as the eye can see.

Bright yellow dried sulfur, a waste product removed from the oil sands, is stacked in piles as big as shopping centers.

Nearby is a muddy mile-wide pond that holds the wastewater from the upgrader plant. It’s dotted with floating scarecrows and ringed with radar-activated, propane-powered cannons to scare off any waterfowl pondering a deadly landing in the oily water.

Roughly 7,000 workers a day labor for Syncrude.

They arrive in a 24/7 conveyor belt of buses from Fort McMurray, a boomtown known as “Fort McMoney” for its high wages, huge bonuses and expensive cost of living.

Wages average nearly $180,000 per household, which helps pay the bills for housing: A typical two-story house costs $740,000 here, more than double the price for a home in Edmonton, a four-hour drive to the south.

Depending on your point of view, Syncrude’s massive North Mine at Mildred Lake, amid the jack pines, yellowing birch and boggy muskeg of Canada’s vast northern forests, is either America’s best answer to its energy future or its worst nightmare.

It’s the birthplace of a controversy burning red-hot in Nebraska and the United States.

A visit to the oil fields offers a window into what is at the heart of the high-stakes, big-money fight over the Canadian oil industry’s need to process and transport its product. The clash pits environmental interests in both countries against those pressing for jobs and a U.S. ally’s alternative to Middle Eastern and South American oil.

***

Canada’s oil sand deposits cover an area the size of Florida. They are estimated to hold the world’s third-largest reserves of oil, behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The deposits are called “tar sands” by most locals because of their thick, tarry appearance and “oil sands” by the more publicity-conscious. Canada plans to double production of such oil by 2020 and needs somewhere to send it.

The best bet is the United States — still the world’s largest consumer of oil and the recipient of 99 percent of the oil mined out of the oil sands.

Canada is eyeing increased pipeline capacity to its west coast so it can sell more oil to China, which owns 9 percent of Syncrude. But those projects face stiff opposition from western Canada’s First Nations, or native tribes, and aren’t expected to happen for at least five or 10 years.

That puts a lot of chips on a pipeline furthest along in the planning and permitting process: the Keystone XL.

The 36-inch pipe would connect this remote corner of northeast Alberta to the world’s largest concentration of oil refineries, along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. The Keystone XL would double Canada’s pipeline capacity to the United States.

Those U.S. refineries are operating under capacity and face declines in the heavy crude oil they get from Venezuela and Mexico.

So they’re looking to Canada, which is already the largest U.S. oil supplier, providing more than one in five barrels of oil.

Alberta, the prairie province, has staked its future on continued demand for fossil fuels and is glad to oblige.

Officials in Canada maintain that while they support the development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, those sources aren’t well developed enough to meet future world energy needs, which they project to grow by 51 percent by 2035.

Canada and its oil sands are the answer, they say.

“At the end of the day, oil and gas will be a big part of our energy future. At least in our lifetimes,” said Travis Davies of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Davies, Alberta officials and others in the oil sands industry are in a public relations battle royal to prove they are mining the oil sands responsibly and addressing concerns about environmental and health impacts.

Companies such as Syncrude, Shell and Suncor that operate open-pit mines are stepping up efforts to reclaim the pits and to turn “tailings” lakes into budding forests and ponds that support ducks and local wood bison.

Newer technologies are being developed to mine deep oil-sand deposits in a way that doesn’t require pit mining and the wholesale stripping away of forests.

Such in situ, or “in place,” mining disturbs only a few acres of land per mine and can reach 80 percent of the remaining oil, which is too deep for pit mining.

While it takes a lot of energy for such mining, officials say they’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions and working to further reduce them and operate more efficiently.

Critics say the environmental costs of stripping away the fragile forestlands and the extensive processing needed to turn oil sands into bitumen — the thick, tarlike oil recovered here — are too high.

The breakneck speed of development, they say, is outpacing environmental monitoring and research into increased levels of contamination in local rivers and slightly increased levels of cancer downstream from the mines.

Even some Albertans say a moratorium is needed on new development so regulators and scientists can catch up with a mining process that they say has left behind 223 billion gallons of toxic waters and requires 3.5 to 4 times more greenhouse gas emissions than extracting conventional oil.

Those statistics, and the gaping pit mines, are why environmental groups call this the world’s “dirtiest oil.”

“It’s clear to a lot of people that there are significant environmental impacts that haven’t been addressed,” said Nathan Lemphers of the Pembina Institute, a Calgary-based environmental think tank.

“The Keystone XL pipeline will provide a strong market signal for accelerated oil sand development,” Lemphers said. “While that will be good news for a small group of companies, it’s bad news for Albertans, bad news for the environment and potentially bad news for consumers in the state, because they’ll see higher prices at the pump.”

***

The headquarters for the booming oil sand industry is Fort McMurray, a former fur-trading post along the wide and winding Athabasca River.

Some workers here say sarcastically that the best thing about Fort McMurray — where shifts are typically 10 to 12 hours long and temperatures can range from 80 above to 40 below — is seeing it in the rearview mirror.

But for tens of thousands of workers, from across Canada and as far away as Pakistan and the Philippines, it’s a “mini Dubai” of the north, where hard work can be rewarded with oil riches in a town where the northern lights dance in the night sky.

The big boom has come in the past 15 years, transforming Fort McMurray from a sleepy village into a city of 80,000. And that doesn’t include the 35,000 temporary construction workers living in remote camps carved out of the woods.

In town, you can whet your whistle at the Oil Can Tavern, cheer on the Oil Barons hockey team and then sleep it off at the Oil Sands Motel.

The faint smell of oil in the air reminds you where the money is coming from.

Luring workers to this formerly roadless wilderness has always been a huge problem. But they come, mostly younger people (the average age is 31.8 years) drawn by the $100,000-plus-a-year paychecks, bonuses and housing allowances, for agreeing to work for a period of years. There’s even a federal tax break for working in the remote north.

“The money’s here, and so are the jobs,” said 24-year-old Hillary Woodhead.

She hops aboard a company-chartered jet every month at the Pacific Coast town of Powell River, British Columbia, to come to work.

Woodhead works a three-week-on, one-week-off shift as a janitor/clerk at a remote work camp north of Fort McMurray.

Workers live in a maze of interconnected steel trailers that look like the shipping containers from oceangoing freighters. Inside, pool and foosball tables and big-screen TVs provide recreation. A well-stocked cafeteria provides dinners, cookies and gourmet coffee.

The food and lodging are part of Woodhead’s compensation. She figures her salary is double what she could earn in her old job as a licensed beautician back home.

“A lot of people my age are up here,” she said. “British Columbia is beautiful, but, unfortunately, there’s no money there.”

Americans, too, are drawn to the work created by the rapid mine expansion.

Mike Foster of Aurora, Colo., works for a Colorado-based contractor that does laser surveying and sells mine-planning software. Half of his work is now done on the road in Canada, and he expects to spend more and more time in the oil sands region.

Foster said the Syncrude pit mine is the largest he’s ever seen, and he’s worked with every kind of mining, from coal to uranium. People need to realize, he said, that such industries are heavily regulated and that they are required to reclaim mined lands.

“Sometimes I think we’re environmentalizing ourselves out of jobs,” he said as he boarded a plane to return to the States.

Half of the residents of Fort McMurray work in the oil sands business, and nearly 11,000 new residents arrived in the past year.

You can spot pit-mine workers by their pickup trucks. They are fitted with 10-foot-tall “buggy whips” that fly a fluorescent-orange plastic flag.

The flags provide an eye-level warning for drivers of the huge dump trucks in the pit mines so they know that far below, a tiny pickup is driving by.

Longtime regional Mayor Melissa Blake said Fort McMurray has moved past the days when workers slept in tents and campers because of the lack of housing.

Now there’s a Walmart Supercenter in town, along with a beautiful indoor recreation facility. There are enough Subways, Burger Kings and Tim Hortonses (a Canadian-based fast-food/doughnut chain) along major streets to make you feel like you’re in any major suburb instead of an isolated rural outpost at the edge of Alberta.

Now Fort McMurray is bracing for another influx. With the expected doubling of mining, an estimated 200,000 people will be living in the area by 2030.

Orange road-construction barrels are everywhere. The four-lane freeway is being expanded, a new bridge is going up across the Athabasca, and a new water-treatment plant is being built.

Housing is rising as fast as the Crown — the provincial government — releases new land for development, said Blake, who is something of a Canadian Sarah Palin, with her spunky personality, rapid-fire responses and vigorous promotion of her remote community.

Blake, whose region includes 10 villages that are home to Canada’s First Nations, readily admits that without the oil sand mines, there would be nothing here.

It was the mines that lured her father to Fort McMurray. She was a recruiter for Syncrude before she got involved in politics.

Everyone here, Blake said, wants “the cleanest, healthiest environment we can have.” Indeed, Fort McMurray has a progressive law that bans plastic bags at grocery stores.

She urges visitors to look past “the rhetoric” of those who oppose oil sand development.

“There are risks in just about any endeavor,” Blake said.

That goes, too, for a project that will help speed along the expansion of oil sand mining here, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

“Even if it doesn’t exist,” Blake said, “we’ll find a way to move forward.”

Source

Greens want terror oil in your gas tank

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By Bernard L. Weinstein

Canada, not the Middle East, is the No. 1 supplier of oil to the United States, a symbiotic relationship that has existed for decades. What’s more, the Canadian province of Alberta is home to the world’s third-largest petroleum reserves. Viewing America as the most logical market for its expanding production, the government of Alberta and the TransCanada Corp. are proposing a pipeline called Keystone XL to bring crude oil from Alberta to refineries along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Although the State Department concluded in August that there would be no significant negative environmental impacts from the pipeline, it has hosted a series of hearings in communities from Montana to Texas in recent weeks. A final hearing is scheduled for Washington on Oct. 7.

The economic benefits from constructing the pipeline have been well publicized: $20 billion in new investment, 13,000 new American jobs in construction and related manufacturing, and more than 100,000 spinoff jobs during the two-year construction period. But more important than the short-term stimulus, which certainly is needed in today’s moribund economy, the completed pipeline will help increase America’s energy and national security.

Today, most of the crude oil processed by Gulf Coast refineries comes from Mexico and Venezuela. Production in both countries has declined in recent years, and while U.S.-Mexico political relations are friendly, U.S.-Venezuela relations are anything but. By contrast, Canada is a strong and reliable American ally, as well as a key North American Free Trade Agreement partner.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline certainly is not unique. TransCanada already operates a pipeline from Alberta to Cushing, Okla., and the XL would simply shorten the route while adding an extension from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. Lower transportation costs associated with the XL would save Gulf Coast refiners almost $500 million annually, which, in turn, could mean lower prices for consumers at the gas pump. What’s more, the planned route of the XL would link oil producers in the booming North Dakota Bakken region to the national pipeline network, providing efficiency gains of $36 million to $146 million annually, according to a recent study by the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

Despite the strong economic and energy security case for permitting the Keystone XL, opposition to the project has been growing. Last month, several hundred protesters were arrested in front of the White House, including a number of Hollywood celebrities. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have expressed their opposition to Keystone XL (in full-page newspaper ads paid for by the Natural Resources Defense Council) as has New York Times food critic Mark Bittman. Both pro- and anti-pipeline advocates are back on the streets of Washington as the Oct. 7 hearing date approaches.

Although opponents argue the pipeline is inherently dangerous because of potential harm to farms, wildlife and water aquifers as it cuts across Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, in truth, the anti-XL campaign is aimed against expansion of the Alberta oil sands. Environmentalists claim production in the oil sands is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, destroying the arboreal forests and killing migratory birds. On a recent visit, I saw no evidence of these claims. Indeed, relative to both the geographic and carbon footprints of most onshore and offshore oil production, the Alberta oil sands compare quite favorably.

If the Keystone XL project is blocked, the pace of oil sands development in Alberta won’t diminish. Recent investments by Chinese companies suggest a growing alternative market across the Pacific. But without the pipeline, America will be unable to benefit from cost-efficient Western Canadian oil while Gulf Coast refiners remain dependent upon unstable suppliers.

Bernard L. Weinstein is associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute and an adjunct professor of business economics at Southern Methodist University.

Original Article

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