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Shale and oil sands - Sept 26

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Nuclear power required for oil sands production?

Shawn McCarthy, Globe and Mail
The much-touted potential for Canada's oil sands to offset projected declines in North American oil production remains highly questionable because of constraints on natural gas production and environmental problems, a group of Swedish industry experts concludes in a new report. ...

Writing in the influential European journal Energy Policy last month, the analysts for the Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group warned that the world should not count on Canada's massive oil sands deposits to meet future demand growth.

"While the theoretical future oil supply from the oil sands is huge, the potential ability for the Canadian oil sands industry to meet expectations of bridging a future oil supply gap is not based on reality," said the authors, who are led by prominent "peak oil" theorist Kjell Aleklett, a physicist from the University of Uppsala. ..

Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said domestic and French companies have visited the oil patch to promote the nuclear option. But he said the companies have yet to come up with a viable approach.
(25 Sept 2006)

Aboriginal support of oil sands fracturing over water

Patrick Brethour, Globe and Mail
Calgary — Aboriginal support for Alberta's oil sands boom is fracturing, as concerns mount that the escalating water needs of the sector will imperil the Athabasca River — and aboriginal fisheries.
The Athabasca Chipewyan, who live about 200 kilometres downstream from the epicentre of the oil sands sector, Monday withdrew from an environmental group set up seven years ago to come up with strategies for the sustainable development of the province's bitumen resources.
The withdrawal means that both of the aboriginal bands downstream from the oil sands are now publicly voicing opposition to the quickening pace of development of the massive industrial projects, a big problem for an industry that has always courted aboriginal support. ..
(25 Sept 2006)

Environmentalists want oil sands slowed

Edmonton Journal
The environmental group the Sierra Club of Canada is challenging the current pace and scale and development of northern Alberta’s oil sands.

The organization says that given the immense ecological, human and economic costs, the pace of oil sands development should be slowed and more alternative renewable sources of energy should be explored.
(25 Sep 2006)

Chevron, Los Alamos to Study U.S. Oil Shale Deposits

Stephen Voss, Bloomberg
Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, said it started a joint research project with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to study hydrocarbon reserves trapped in rock formations known as oil shales.

Oil shales are sedimentary rocks that contain a high proportion of organic matter that can be converted into crude oil or natural gas. The research will be based on formations in the Piceance Basin in Colorado and experiment with underground processing techniques that might mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, Chevron said in a statement.

``Today's unconventional energy sources, such as oil shales and other tight formations, will become part of the core energy supplies in the future, and our alliance can play a significant role in unlocking the potential of these resources,'' Donald Paul, Chevron's chief technology officer, said in the statement.
(25 Sep 2006)

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