Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Evidence that the Price of Oil Will Not Go Sky High over the Next 20 Years

The Emirates Economist links to this article in Fortune Magazine, which jumps on the bandwagon, noting the phenomenally huge oil reserves available in the Alberta tar sands.

Canada's Alberta province has oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia's, but they're not a liquid asset.

... Unlike the smooth crude oil that spurts from wells in Kuwait and Texas, oil sands are essentially black mud. "It's like you took a bucket of sand and dumped your old motor oil in it," says Peter Duggan, a manager at the Aurora mine, which is operated by Syncrude, a partnership of Exxon, ConocoPhillips, and several other companies. Through a complicated series of steps (see following diagram) the mud is transformed into gas you can put in your car.

... "The oil-sands potential is huge," says Frederick Lawrence, a vice president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Oil & Gas Journal estimates that Alberta has 174.5 billion barrels of recoverable reserves in its oil sands, enough to meet Canada's needs for 250 years. That figure is second only to Saudi Arabia's estimated reserves of 264 billion barrels. All told, including deposits beyond the reach of today's technology, there could be 1.6 trillion barrels of oil embedded in Alberta.
Add the oil shale of the Western US to the Alberta tar sands, and it is easy to understand why oil futures decline over the next five years.
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