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Tar sands - March 17

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Report: Oil sands costs up 55 percent

Capital costs per peak flowing barrel of Canada's oil sands are up 55 percent, squeezing returns on investments, a report released Tuesday said.

Edinburgh-Scotland-based Wood Mackenzie, in its report, "The Cost of Playing in the Oil Sands," says despite high land prices, the cost of acquiring acreage is small compared to the investment required for commercial development.

...The report attributed much of the increase in costs to labor shortages and an increase in material costs.
(6 Mar 2007)

Oil versus tar: Here's where it gets sticky

David Ebner, Globe and MAil
George W. Bush uses "tar sands," though he doesn't mean it in a bad way. Most others, from energy companies to the average Albertan, know the massive resource around Fort McMurray as the "oil sands."

The terms are roughly synonymous -- there's no underlying technical or geological difference -- but the semantic divide is wide. The use of one or the other is a political declaration, especially with debate over greenhouse gas emissions and a spotlight on the booming oil sands region of Alberta. Oil sands is the standard phrase, but critics almost always say tar sands.

"They were always called the tar sands, when I was young growing up here in the 1970s and [former premier] Peter Lougheed was working to get Syncrude going," said Brian Mason, leader of the Alberta NDP. "Industry made a deliberate decision to call them oil sands, because it conveyed a cleaner image. The language of tar sands conjured up a sticky, smelly, dirty kind of petroleum resource."..
(12 Mar 2007)

Fort MacMurray Oil
Global Public Media
Fort McMurrray has the worlds attention fixed on it as it is quickly being exploited for the plentiful amounts of oil trapped in the ground there, but there is a story not heard in the press. Calls from the mayor to halt expansion. A failing infrastructure. Basic needs being ignored in the middle of untold prosperity.

Jason Melnychuk was born and lives in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a carpenter by day and father the rest of the time. Jason has a fascination with almost everything but chooses to specialize in construction, nutrition and hoola-hooping.
(16 March 2007)

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