Thursday, August 16, 2012

With New Technology Being Developed, Canada Could Soon Move to No. 1 in World Oil Reserves

Here's one more reason why Duke economist Mike Munger was correct when he wrote several years ago that "of all the idiotic things that people believe, the whole 'peak oil' thing has to be right up there."  Thanks to new, advanced oil recovery technologies currently being developed that would unlock Canada's vast oil sands deposits, our northern neighbor could soon surpass Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to become the No. 1 country in the world for oil reserves.  From a July 24 article in the WSJ:

"Ten years ago, new oil field technologies unlocked vast crude supplies from western Canada's oil-sands deposits, propelling America's northern neighbor to the top echelon of the world's petroleum repositories.

Now oil companies here are experimenting with technologies that could unlock even more reserves from what is some of the world's heaviest and stickiest petroleum. The new technologies could also drive down the cost of producing oil in Canada.

One consortium aims to get oil flowing to the surface by sending radio waves from huge antennae pushed through wells deep underground—adopting technology first developed for the U.S. government to eavesdrop on underground bunkers.

Another company is working on inserting electrical heating coils into wells to melt the oil, while other firms are tinkering with petroleum-based solvents they hope to pump into wells to get more oil out.

All the experimentation is aimed at improving a standard method of oil-sands extraction: so-called steam-assisted gravity drainage, or SAGD.

SAGD quintupled the amount of bitumen that may be possible to recover in Canada, and helped lift Canada's overall recoverable oil reserves to No. 3 in the world, behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

But those reserves are only a 10th of the 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen found in Canada. Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board estimates there are also more than 400 billion barrels of bitumen trapped in carbonate rock formations in Alberta, mostly in a large formation called the Grosmont that stretches across the center of the province.

"If we postulated that 25% of that can be recovered, Canada could move to No. 1" in world oil reserves, said Glen Schmidt, chief executive of privately owned Calgary energy-technology company Laricina Energy Ltd."

Related: Watch a WSJ video here that accompanies the article.  


At 8/16/2012 11:06 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

If Obama gets a second term, I sure hope he lets us get some of that Canadian oil.

At 8/16/2012 11:12 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

How much more than 100% do you want?

As of right now, every last pound of that grit comes South.

Just think how much we'll get when we start using that "Rossi cold Fusion" technology.

Or, the Yogi Krishna, "levitation techniques."


At 8/17/2012 1:46 AM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

I think we are on the cusp of secular declines in oil prices. At more than $60 a barrel, almost any field is worth developing. And we are $80 or more.

By bad luck, most of the world's oil is locked up in thug-monkey states, such as Russia, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Mexico, Nigeria, Libya etc etc etc.

Doesn't seem to matter, There is enough oil outside the money-thug states, and enough conservation going on, to put a lid on prices.

We could see a 20-year fall in oil prices, just as we did after 1980.

At 8/17/2012 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't much care about supply because demand is about to drop like a rock, over the next 5-15 years. I recently read an article about how IBM India moved a significant portion of their workforce to telecommuting in 2008. There is no reason most office work can't be done that way today: most workplaces only don't do it because they're fairly backwards in their thinking. With the great rise in competition in our globalized, internet-enabled world these days, it's only a matter of time for the cost efficiencies of telecommuting to lead to most companies embracing it. If they don't, they won't survive.

At 8/17/2012 9:42 AM, Blogger Ian Brett Cooper said...

An economist who doesn't believe in peak oil - there's a shocker! I wonder what other geological and scientific certainties he doesn't believe in - the Earth being older than 4,000 years perhaps? Dinosaurs? The Earth revolving around the sun?

At 8/17/2012 12:58 PM, Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

There is also technology now that allows bitumen to be upgraded to light crude that can then be transported through a pipeline.

Unlike older tech, it requires no natural gas. The energy source is the coke produced by the process. It is burned (as part of the process). Excess steam is used to get the oil out of the ground via a form of horizontal drilling, or used to make electricity.

At 8/17/2012 2:01 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/17/2012 2:12 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"An economist who doesn't believe in peak oil - there's a shocker! I wonder what other geological and scientific certainties he doesn't believe in - the Earth being older than 4,000 years perhaps? Dinosaurs? The Earth revolving around the sun?" -- Ian Brett Cooper

Thanks for playing. It's clear that you have hit "peak I.Q. points", probably somewhere in the low 80's.

At 8/21/2012 5:14 AM, Blogger White Rose said...

Abiotic oil is the name of the game. Albeit secret...

Polymers of methane, heptane and octane are not fossil made they are made by the mantle of the earth at specific temperatures and pressures and released in deep and not so deep pockets.
That is why some wells replenish themselves over a quite short period of time. Methane is very present on other planets and moons of our solar system. (Moons of Saturn & Jupiter (Titan))Polymerization is thus a natural occurence. Blocks make chains...

Fossil origin of fuel is bogus...

And yes "they" are lying to us about that as they do about other things.

At 8/24/2012 11:18 AM, Blogger firstfather said...

Are you guys serious? Are you really denying that oil is a finite resource on this planet? Even those with an IQ of 80 or less will be capable of seeing through this nonsense that the human population can go on using oil and not eventually use it all.

At 8/24/2012 4:04 PM, Blogger White Rose said...

Oil is a finite resource a&s is the planet but not by a long shot, because it is simply not fossil and thus as methane, produced by the mantle at a high rate and replenishing wells all the time especially large and deep ones which proves my point. That does not mean that you can spendthrift it, not at all, but it proves that peak oil is a big lie to keep prices up and up and up, just like sounds of war etc... That is the big big lie amongst many others, America. Wake up.

At 8/26/2012 9:17 AM, Blogger Nemeses said...

Peak oil... Isn't that one of aesops fables?


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