The Promise of Canada's Oil Sands The Canadian oil sands, which are producing one million barrels per day, could perhaps reach Saudi production levels in the near future. Can these deposits help America overcome its dependence on Middle Eastern oil?
We may be hearing a
lot more about Canadian oil sands in the coming years. Alberta has dirt saturated with
oil, known as “oil sands” – and the country has a lot of them. It is estimated
that the oil deposits in Canada rival those of the Middle East. A modern day oil rush has
started to take place, and approximately $100 billion will be invested over the
next decade to increase production capacity, according to a CBS interview with
Brian Jean, a Canadian government representative for the region.
The process to extract the oil from the sand is a lengthy one, but with oil
prices at current levels, it becomes feasible and profitable. It takes
approximately two tons of sand to yield just one barrel of oil. Yet Alberta now is producing close to a
million barrels a day with a target to reach three million by 2020, according
to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Many might say this is a sure thing, but implications of Canada's "Trillion-barrel
tar pit" – a phrase coined by Wired
magazine – have yet to be played out. Will this be the catalyst to reduce America's dependence on Middle
Eastern oil? Will the environmental impacts be sustainable? A recent film
entitled "Pay Dirt Alberta's Oil Sands - Centuries in
the making," takes a deeper at look at the resource the Canadian
government has claimed is second only to Saudi Arabia's oil reserves.
According to noted international trade authority William Dabaghi, "The oil
sands in Alberta are a geopolitical play at
the highest level. There you find both security and abundance which do not
exist together in most parts of the world."