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Fire shuts key Canada-U.S. pipeline

Erwin Seba, Reuters
An explosion crippled the main pipeline supplying Canadian crude to U.S. Midwest refineries on Wednesday, forcing operator Enbridge to halt nearly a fifth of U.S. imports and sending crude prices as much as $4 higher.

One of the set of four lines will require repairs and regulator inspections, while the largest is “not likely” to start up any time soon, Larry Springer, a spokesman for Calgary, Alberta-based operator Enbridge Inc, said on Thursday.
(29 November 2007)

Big Gav on shale oil

Big Gav, Peak Energy
…In his book”The Control Of Oil”, John Blair was very optimistic that significant amounts of shale oil could be economically produced in the western US once the price of oil reached a certain level.

As a result, I had a look into this several years ago but decided that shale oil was probably better renamed snake oil – the prospects of producing large amounts of oil from shale seem to be bleak (or pleasingly low, if you are more concerned about global warming) – the extraction processes are energy intensive, and there are huge problems with water availability and waste disposal to overcome.
(1 December 2007)
Links, excerpts and commentary from Down Under. -BA

Massive Canadian Oilfield Could Be Exploited Using New System

University of Bath, ScienceDaily
A new method developed in Britain over the past 17 years for extracting oil is now at the forefront of plans to exploit a massive heavy oilfield in Canada.

Duvernay Petroleum is to use the revolutionary Toe-to-Heel Air Injection (THAI™) system developed at the University of Bath at its site at Peace River in Alberta, Canada.

Unlike conventional light oil, heavy oil is very viscous, like syrup, or even solid in its natural state underground, making it very difficult to extract. But heavy oil reserves that could keep the planet’s oil-dependent economy going for a hundred years lie beneath the surface in many countries, especially in Canada.

Although heavy oil extraction has steadily increased over the last ten years, the processes used are very energy intensive, especially of natural gas and water. But the THAI™ system is more efficient, and this, and the increasing cost of conventional light oil, could lead to the widespread exploitation of heavy oil.

… THAI™ uses a system where air is injected into the oil deposit down a vertical well and is ignited. The heat generated in the reservoir reduces the viscosity of the heavy oil, allowing it to drain into a second, horizontal well from where it rises to the surface.

THAI™ is very efficient, recovering about 70 to 80 per cent of the oil, compared to only 10 to 40 per cent using other technologies.
(29 November 2007)
Contributed by Mike Benz.