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Canada Helps Create an Oil Sands World

Geoff Dembicki, The Tyee

Alberta is showing the way for nations with similar reserves. Brace for a global ‘age of tough oil.’
Modified from 'Oil Sands of the World: Their Origin, Occurrence and Exploitation' by Paul L. Russell and UNITAR Heavy Oil & Oil Sands DatabaseModified from ‘Oil Sands of the World: Their Origin, Occurrence and Exploitation’ by Paul L. Russell and UNITAR Heavy Oil & Oil Sands Database
Efforts to develop oil sands in Alberta are serving as a model for many other nations eager to exploit similar reserves within their borders.

Huge unconventional fuel reserves — extra heavy crude, oil sands and oil shale — lie untapped across the globe. These resources emit much more carbon than regular oil, causing green groups to call them climate killers. So far, only a small fraction of the planet’s unconventional oil has been tapped. Most countries lack the necessary capital, technology and expertise.

But Canada is helping to change that. The Alberta oil sands — where sludgy bitumen is mined or steamed from the ground, then cooked or diluted with chemicals — have become an unconventional oil extraction classroom.

Energy companies from around the world are learning valuable lessons in the northern muskeg. They’re now eyeing reserves in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the U.S. and the Middle East. Some operations have begun producing. Others could start shortly.

Pushing the trend is a growing consensus that conventional sources of fossil fuels will become increasingly scarcer.
(9 September 2010)
Suggested by EB contributor Bill Henderson.

South Africa is nearing peak coal, say scientists

Kevin Davie, Mail & Guardian (SA)
South Africa has more coal than it can ever burn, right? If you think this, as many of us do, think again.

Research by international and local scientists has shown that coal, like other resources, is finite and can be expected to comply with peak resources theory. The theory shows that production in commodities such as oil grows until a peak is reached, whereafter production declines.

In the case of South African coal, the studies show production has already reached its peak, or soon will.

“It is commonly believed that South Africa has abundant coal reserves which will last 200 years or more,” says Jeremy Wakeford, chair of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (Aspo) in South Africa, in the organisation’s latest newsletter.

“But recent research [from] three scientific journals suggests that usable reserves are much smaller than previously thought, and that annual production could reach a peak and begin to decline within a decade — or might even have peaked already.”
(24 September 2010)

Peak Oil Interview With Robert Rapier

Robert Rapier, Oil Price
Back in June, I gave a presentation on Peak Oil at the Global Footprint Conference in Siena, Italy. Following my presentation, I was asked to do a pair of interviews. One was for an upcoming documentary called Critical Mass. The second was for the conference itself, and that interview has just been made available and is embedded below.

Some of the ground covered in the interview includes:

– The misconception that Peak Oil means we are running out of oil
– The idea that oil will be very difficult to replace, and impossible to replace solely with biomass
– The danger posed by false solutions
– The difficulty the developing world will have in attaining a ‘First World‘ standard of living
– What will happen if oil peaks soon and declines rapidly
– The reasons for the rise in oil prices over the past decade

(23 September 2010)

Chicken Little Updated for the Age of Peak Oil and Climate Change

DWG, Daily Kos
The Chicken Little fable* was created as a cautionary tale against panic and mass hysteria in uncertain times. But there are times when the sky is failing and Chicken Little needs to be careful of taking advice from smooth talking strangers wearing Wall Street tweed. On to our story.

Once upon a time, there was a Fox named Loxy, a shrewd little fellow with a big appetite. One fine summer’s day, Foxy Loxy was on the prowl for unlocked henhouses when he overheard Farmer Brown proclaim to her husband that their well was running dry. Without water for the corn, feeding the hens was going to be a big problem.

Foxy Loxy had a plan. Pass the bad news to the hens and con them to take a little journey to his den.

Before we return to our story, note that Foxy Loxy in this enactment will be played by Charles Maxwell, senior energy analyst at Weeden & Co.

… In our story, Foxy Loxy told the truth about the crisis, but lied about the solution to the detriment of Chicken Little and friends. Charles Maxwell did the exact same thing in the interview with Forbes magazine regarding Peak Oil. No one should be surprised to find half-truths about the energy sector in Forbes, but it does illustrate the obstacles we face in moving towards a low carbon energy policy and attracting investment in clean energy. You should read the interview for he what he says about Peak Oil.
(22 September 2010)