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(yeah, yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be gone. Remember that my plane is tomorrow. Expect another diary before I take off! And I'm still at work today. It's not like I'm taking time off my family...)

Canadian oil sands have been touted as the big hope of the oil industry, and if you look at reserve statistics, Canada is now presented as having the second largest reserves around, thanks to the Alberta oil sands:

so we don't need the Saudis anymore, right?

Hmmm...


Canada's oilsands rush hits the buffers

The bitumen-like deposits - estimated to contain more oil than anywhere but Saudi Arabia - have drawn oil giants and investors from around the world.

(...)

Excitement over the spiralling oil price has given way to frustration over shortages of labour and equipment and soaring costs. The stampede has also driven up land prices for new oilsands projects.

To make matters worse, the gap between the price of light crude oil and the heavy product yielded by the oilsands has widened from about $6 a barrel a few years ago to $17 now.

Not long ago, most projects were viable at prices of $25-$35 a barrel. Now, says Doug Leggate, analyst at Citigroup in New York, "a lot of oilsands projects don't look particularly compelling if you look below $50". A growing list of companies are now coming to the same conclusion. Last week, Royal Dutch Shell and its partners said they were reviewing the economics of the first phase of a planned C$13.5bn expansion of their Athabasca project.

Western Oil Sands, with a 20 per cent stake, said the budget for the first phase could be 50 per cent up on last year's C$7.2bn estimate. The project includes expansions to a mine and an upgrader that converts bitumen into heavy crude. (...)

The bottlenecks and cost pressures have prompted CAPP to include a "constrained development case" for the first time this year in its production forecast.

The association estimates that total western Canadian oil output will grow from 2.2m barrels a day in 2005 to 4.7m b/d in 2020. But if the bottlenecks continue, output would hit only 3.9m b/d.

The association hopes to ease the labour shortage with looser visa rules for temporary workers and more apprenticeship programmes. In the meantime, says Greg Stringham, a vice-president of CAPP , the shortage "is acting as a natural governor on the pace of development".

Even the most optimistic scenarios do not expect Canadia oil sands to represent more than 5% of global oil production in 2020. And these optimistic scenarios keep on bumping against unexpected (to some) obstacles.

I've pointed out repeatedly that the transformation of oil sands into usable liquids requires lots of energy and lots of water, not to mention lots of other inputs, including engineers that need to be trained, housed, paid and have kids that need to be schooled. Thus the price of the useful "barrel of oil equivalent" keeps on rising as the cost of all these inputs keeps on going up. Some of that (housing costs, local infrastructure) can be attributed to growing pains, but the rest (energy, water, equipment, trained workforce) are structural problems that will ensure that the industry will never be more than barely profitable, as its costs roughly mirror oil prices - quite simply because the thermodynamics are not great (if you need half a barrel of oil, in addition to other inputs, to produce one barrel of usable oil, that puts a very real damper on your profitability).

The Oil Drum has had a very enlightening series on oil sands which you can find starting here.

To sum it up:

  • Canada does have a lot of oil in the form of oil sands;
  • that oil is pretty expensive to produce - indeed, its price increases with that of oil itself, and it has very real environmental consequences locally;
  • even in the most optimistic scenarios, oil sands will only be able to provide a small portion of world oil production (les than 5% of world output, or less than a quarter of US demand), making them welcome, but by no means sufficient to ensure North American self-sufficiency.

The only solution to our energy crisis is on the demand side: we must use LESS. It's possible, it's smart, and it will create local jobs. So what are we waiting for?

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 06:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar - July 10 (125+ / 0-)

    In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
    Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

    by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 06:34:30 AM PDT

    •  Energize America (32+ / 0-)

      May I remind everybody that there is an off-the-shelf, Kossack-generated alternative to our energy crisis: Energize America.

      Can I count on all of you to keep on promoting EA in my absence this summer?

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 06:41:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, yes! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne

        I'm going to give the url to the local Bruce Braley guy when I go in to do volunteer work Wednesday.  (I mentioned it to him last week, and he wasn't familiar with it.)

        Sig: A rose by any other name would probably be "deadly thorn-bearing assault vegetation".

        by RunawayRose on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:20:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wall Street Journal article today (10+ / 0-)

      (thanks to lale for sending it over)

      Saudi Arabia Tests Its Potential For Unlocking Heavy-Oil Reserves

      While there is still plenty of oil left in the ground, most of the supplies that are easy to reach already have been developed, forcing the global petroleum industry to turn to oil deposits that are trickier to recover. Heavy oils, which can be the consistency of molasses, or even denser, are costlier to bring to the surface than light oils. They also typically contain more contaminants like metals and sulfur.

      Because refineries need special equipment to remove these impurities, heavy oil is priced lower than light oil. But a growing number of refineries around the world can handle heavy oil, turning it into such products as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil, and Saudi Arabia recently announced plans to build more of them.

      Earlier this year, in a critical trial of Saudi Arabia's heavy-oil potential, U.S. oil giant Chevron Corp. began a field trial of a technique designed to pump out heavy oil that was previously considered unrecoverable. In the pilot project, which it plans to expand to additional wells, Chevron is injecting steam to loosen up sludge-like heavy-oil reserves in Wafra, a field in the so-called neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Oil from the neutral zone is shared equally by the two countries.

      Chevron and the Saudis say initial results are promising and that the technique could greatly enhance recovery at some huge fields.

      Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said many heavy-oil fields in his country aren't currently included in its official tally of 260 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, the world's largest. If steam injection works in these fields, it would add "tens of billion of barrels" to Saudi reserves, Mr. Naimi said in an interview.

      Chevron has used steam injections successfully for decades to greatly boost production in heavy-oil fields in California and Indonesia. Now, the Saudis and Chevron want to see if the technique will work in the more porous rock formations common in Middle East.

      In addition to the Wafra test with Chevron, the Saudis are also considering developing the gigantic Manifa field, which is believed to have a large component of heavy oil. As its lighter components are pumped out, Manifa could also be a candidate for steam injection.

      Without steam, heavy oil can be very difficult to pry out of the earth because it is so thick it barely flows. Heavy-oil fields sometimes yield as little as 5% of their oil with conventional pumping, compared with 35% or more in a light-oil deposit.

      In some ultra-heavy-oil fields -- like the massive Canadian tar-sands deposits, where production is rapidly gearing up -- the oil is far heavier than in Saudi Arabia. Oil companies there are using a similar steam-injection technique, with even more heat, to make the oil extractable.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:07:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Self-contradicting WSJ (7+ / 0-)

        That WSJ article appears on the front page and opens with the statement that

        ...if it succeeds in overcoming the technical hurdles, the effort could significantly increase Saudi Arabia's oil reserves over the next several years, potentially adding some slack to tight energy markets. It would also be a blow to so-called peak-oil theorists who have forecast that world oil production is on the brink of peaking.

        I find this bizarre.  Isn't the article about how we're, in effect, licking out the bowl?  

        •  Not entirely (7+ / 0-)

          The thing is this, the cost of heavy oil extraction is much higher than light oil extraction.  This means that while it can theoretically extend where the peak is, it will mean a permanent shift upward in the cost of oil.  

          But here's the thing about peak oil: we're already there.  If you look at production figures you can see that the amount of oil getting pumped out of the ground isn't going up anymore.  Now granted, some of that is due to bumps in the road like Iraq, Nigeria, etc, but the reality is we're running into practical limits of availability right now.

          So while oil sands are a possible compensator, it's not coming on-line fast enough to make a difference in overall oil production.  If you have to burn half a barrel of oil to get a  barrel out of the ground it means that you have to bring new heavy oil capacity on-line twice as fast as existing light-oil capacity just to keep pace.  That isn't happening.  

          So even if our economy can operate on a higher base cost of energy (which isn't clear), oil sands aren't coming on-line fast enough to deal with the fact that we're already at the peak.  So what we might see is rather than a steady drop downward in capacity, a plateauing of capacity, but plateauing is almost as bad as a decline given increasing demand.  Has oil sands been developed more a good 10 years ago, maybe it would have a more significant effect, but right now I suspect it's probably too late.  

          --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

          by sterno on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:55:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZAPatty, Catte Nappe

            Although I think you could say "Had ______ been developed more a good 10 years ago, maybe it would have a more significant effect, but right now I suspect it's probably too late."  and put wind, solar, coal gasification, oil sands, in the blank.

            •  The difference (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lale

              Actually wind, solar, etc, are more feasible already than oil shale as a raw energy source.  The technology is available and well understood.  The cost to develop it was too high before, but now with oil going up, it's more beneficial.  Oil shale, oil sands, etc, on the other hand, are still somewhat of an R&D project.  

              Though this brings up another issue.  A big problem we have with oil is that there's a lot of infrastucture that requires oil.  If you get electricity from coal, you can just as easily get electricity from nuclear.  You need to build a different power plant, but the distribution infrastrucutre is the same.  So it's easy to add in wind, solar, etc.  But your car can't use wind and solar as designed today.

              --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

              by sterno on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 10:39:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  As designed today (0+ / 0-)

                is the key phrase there. If we had plug-in electric vehicles, one of the effects would be to shift more personal transportation energy use from petroleum to electricity - which can be generated through wind, solar, etc.

                The only thing Republicans do well is take our tax dollars and transfer them to the rich, instead of providing the services we thought we were paying for.

                by Janet Strange on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:35:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  OPEC Has Certainly Peaked (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jerome a Paris, skralyx, lemming22

            I'm always keeping my chart based on MEES's figures current as they release figures on the freebie section of their site:

        •  No. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rktect, lale

          Fields not considered economical are not listed as reserves, even if discovered.  It is an artifact of the classification of reserves that massive amounts of oil can be added to reserves without a single finger being lifted exploration or production-wise.

          •  No, they are listed, you can get a breakdown here (4+ / 0-)

            world oil reserves

            The table above compares estimates by the oil industry and the US Department of Energy of "proven" reserve estimates (two yellow columns) with US Geological Survey estimates of identified reserves (first blue column) and USGS ultimately recoverable reserves (second blue column). Links and references are below the table.

            and ARAMCO reserves by type of oil
            Aramco Oil Reserves

            ARAMCO provides less than 10 million of the 84 million barrels a day we use but the light sweet crude (gasoline) is gone.

            Light crude as opposed to heavy crude contains a low content of wax. The clear cut definition of 'light' and 'heavy' crude is hard to find, simply because the classification so made is based more on practical grounds than theoretical. Since crudes with high viscosities are more difficult to transport/pump, those with apparently lighter wax content are referred to as 'light crude' and the ones with substantially more wax are classified as 'heavy crude'.

            The CIA World Factbook lists the reserves as projected by oil companies rather than other government agencies and includes projected reserves presently under a mile of ice in Antartica. If the oil companies manage to speed up global warming enough they may be able to get at it at the cost of raising sea levels by 100m.

            1 World  1,349,000,000,000  1 January 2002 est.  
            2 Saudi Arabia  262,700,000,000  2005 est.  
            3 Canada  178,900,000,000  2004 est.  
            4 Iran  133,300,000,000  2005 est.  
            5 Iraq  112,500,000,000  2005 est.  
            6 United Arab Emirates  97,800,000,000  2005 est.  
            7 Kuwait  96,500,000,000  2005 est.  
            8 Venezuela  75,590,000,000  2005 est.  
            9 Russia  69,000,000,000  2003 est.  
            10 Libya  40,000,000,000  2005 est.  
            11 Nigeria  36,000,000,000  2005 est.  
            12 Mexico  33,310,000,000  2005 est.  
            13 Kazakhstan  26,000,000,000  1 January 2004  
            14 Angola  25,000,000,000  2005 est.  
            15 United States  22,450,000,000  1 January 2002  
            16 China  18,260,000,000  2004  
            17 Qatar  16,000,000,000  2005 est.  
            18 Brazil  15,120,000,000  2005 est.  
            19 Algeria  12,460,000,000  2005 est.  
            20 Norway  9,859,000,000  1 January 2002  
            21 European Union  7,294,000,000  1 January 2002  
            22 Oman  6,100,000,000  2005 est.  
            23 India  5,700,000,000  2005 est.  
            24 Indonesia  4,600,000,000  2005 est.  
            25 Ecuador  4,512,000,000  2005 est.  
            26 United Kingdom  4,500,000,000  31 December 2004  
            27 Yemen  4,370,000,000  2005 est.  
            28 Australia  3,664,000,000  1 January 2002  
            29 Malaysia  3,100,000,000  2005 est.  
            30 Argentina  2,950,000,000  2005 est.  
            31 Egypt  2,700,000,000  2005 est.  
            32 Syria  2,500,000,000  2005 est.  
            33 Gabon  1,921,000,000  2005 est.  
            34 Tunisia  1,700,000,000  2005 est.  
            35 Sudan  1,600,000,000  2005 est.  
            36 Congo, Democratic Republic of the  1,538,000,000  1 January 2002  
            37 Colombia  1,492,000,000  2005 est.  
            38 Brunei  1,255,000,000  1 January 2002  
            39 Denmark  1,230,000,000  1 January 2002  
            40 Romania  1,055,000,000  1 January 2002  
            41 Burma  1,000,000,000  2005  
            42 Mauritania  1,000,000,000  2005  
            43 Trinidad and Tobago  990,000,000  1 January 2004  
            44 Uzbekistan  600,000,000  1 January 2005  
            45 Vietnam  600,000,000  2005 est.  
            46 Azerbaijan  589,000,000  1 January 2002  
            47 Italy  586,600,000  1 January 2002  
            48 Thailand  583,000,000  November 2003  
            49 Equatorial Guinea  563,500,000  1 January 2002  
            50 Cuba  532,000,000  1 January 2002  
            51 Bolivia  458,800,000  1 January 2002  
            52 Germany  395,800,000  1 January 2004  
            53 Ukraine  395,000,000  9 November 2004  
            54 Peru  370,000,000  2005 est.  
            55 Pakistan  341,800,000  2005 est.  
            56 Turkey  288,400,000  1 January 2002  
            57 Turkmenistan  273,000,000  1 January 2002  
            58 Guatemala  263,000,000  1 January 2002  
            59 Cote d'Ivoire  220,000,000  2005 est.  
            60 Albania  185,500,000  1 January 2002  
            61 Papua New Guinea  170,000,000  2005 est.  
            62 Philippines  152,000,000  1 January 2004  
            63 Chile  150,000,000  1 January 2004  
            64 Suriname  150,000,000  2005  
            65 France  144,300,000  1 January 2002  
            66 Poland  142,400,000  December 2004  
            67 Bahrain  124,000,000  2005 est.  
            68 Hungary  110,700,000  1 January 2002  
            69 Morocco  100,000,000  2005 est.  
            70 Croatia  93,600,000  1 January 2002  
            71 Congo, Republic of the  93,500,000  1 January 2002  
            72 New Zealand  89,620,000  1 January 2002  
            73 Netherlands  88,060,000  1 January 2002  
            74 Cameroon  85,000,000  2005 est.  
            75 Austria  84,300,000  2004  
            76 Serbia  38,750,000  1 January 2002  
            77 Japan  29,290,000  1 January 2002  
            78 Bangladesh  28,450,000  1 January 2002  
            79 Czech Republic  17,250,000  1 January 2002  
            80 Spain  10,500,000  1 January 2002  
            81 Ghana  8,255,000  1 January 2002  
            82 Bulgaria  8,100,000  1 January 2002  
            83 South Africa  7,840,000  1 January 2002  
            84 Greece  4,500,000  1 January 2002  
            85 Slovakia  4,500,000  1 January 2002  
            86 Benin  4,105,000  1 January 2002  
            87 Taiwan  2,900,000  2005 est.  
            88 Israel  1,920,000  1 January 2002  
            89 Barbados  1,254,000  1 January 2002  
            90 Jordan  445,000  1 January 2002  
            91 Ethiopia  214,000  1 January 2002  
            92 Afghanistan  0  1 January 2002  
            93 Rwanda  0  1 January 2002  
            94 Tanzania  0  1 January 2002  
            95 Namibia  0  1 January 2002  
            96 Somalia  0  1 January 2002  
            97 Mozambique  0  1 January 2002  
            98 Ireland  0  1 January 2002  
            99 Madagascar  0  1 January 2002  

            Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

            by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 10:22:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Point... missed. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rktect

              Oil reserves are the oil in place that is economic to recover.  It is not the same thing as the oil in place.

              •  Both conventional and unconventional reserves (0+ / 0-)

                are shown in the first graph. If we allow that there is a tipping point when the cost of gas makes it uneconomical to commute to work and to do business as usual, and that point is coming soon, then rich nations will probably continue consuming oil longer than poor nations but oil companies won't make more profit to allow them to recover some reserves they presently assume to be recoverable.

                Even if we work with projections that considerably exceed what is in place now what we have to look at is not the point where we run out completely, bu the point where there ceases to be enough to keep the engines of industry from seizing up.

                Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:44:33 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Does anybody here really think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, lale

          the oil companies have underestimated the available reserves? Oil is a business, if you want investors you need to promise them the moon.

          As to steam recovery of heavy oil, that works fine where there is a high proportion of wax as in the difference between light crude and heavy crude, but that stuff has already been exploited. What they are talking about now is asphalt through shale oil essentially the same composition as a paved street.

          Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

          by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:06:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Couple questions Jerome... (11+ / 0-)

      Right now, Canada's oil reserves are listed at 179 billion barrels. However, that's the recoverable amount at today's prices, however when was the last adjustement to account for today's prices?

      Also, peak theory being correct, another problem with the oil sands is that they cannont grow any faster. With conventional oil all around the world dropping, Oil Sands are growing as fast as possible and even with higher and higher oil prices, cannot increase output any further.

      Something like $110 billion dollars has been invested in Alberta Oil Sands but now the companies can't find enough workers, equipment or ressources (like construction goods) to furfill their project goals. So how will the companies like Petro-Canada, Oil Sands Limited Trust, Imperial Oil, etc. keep increasing output?

      Next question is that water is critical to the production of oil from oilsands. Even with companies recycling water 17 times now, there's already water shortages occuring (if you've ever lived in Alberta, you'll find that it's a very dry place) and so water limitations will also limit future oil production.

      •  you flag all the right issues (7+ / 0-)

        Peak oil is not so much a reserve problem as a flow problem: i.e. how fast can you get the relevant production online.

        Oil sands show that this is by no means simple to bring production on line, even if the reserves appear massive.

        And as to your question about "economic reserves", the current evolution of production costs would suggest that oil sand reserves are not going to be that sensitive to oil prices, as energy is one of the major inputs to get a usable liquid out.

        In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
        Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

        by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:47:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the fundamental question (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oil CEO

          Even if you can get the flow moving sufficiently, can you do it at a price low enough that it matters?  Our economy operates on certain assumptions about energy costs.  We can sustain it within a certain range, but once oil climbs past a certain cost it won't be cheap enough to be usable.  That is, if you have to pay $5/gallon for gas, can you afford to drive  to work every day?  $10?  $20?  $30?  

          Given that even with cutting edge techniques it will cost half a barrel of oil to get a barrel of heavy oil out of the ground, it means that just to keep pace, you'd have to bring effective capacity on-line twice as fast.  Given that it's all still rather experimental this seems very unlikely even in the long run.  

          Even if it is possible, it will clearly cost more per barrel because of higher input costs.  So if today's oil is $75/barrel, can we afford $125-150 barrel?  Will it still be a viable energy source at that price level?  Unlikely.

          --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

          by sterno on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:22:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This sounds biased. (0+ / 0-)

            We're seemingly neglecting elasticity of demand at rising costs of energy.

            Plastic junk from WalMart; big car commuting; McMansions; goofy travel for no reason; distant food consumption. They are all elastic.

            High oil prices are a GOOD thing, especially if they prompt carbon taxes, both for global warming AND general fairness considerations.

            Faith or evidence. You decide. 94801

            by ormondotvos on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:26:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What elasticity? (0+ / 0-)

              If anything, it's negative: prices have tripled in the past couple years, and yet demand is increasing faster than it ever has. We're not talking about demand reduction, and we're not even talking about demand growth slowing. Demand growth is accelerating.

              In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
              Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

              by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:33:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  They're elastic in the long run (0+ / 0-)

              They are elastic, but only in the long run.  Our entire infrastructure is set up on the assumption that gas is cheap.  People can live far away, stores can use just in time logistics, etc.  Cheap oil leads to all of those things being the most costs effective way to live.  

              The problem is that most of that isn't easy to work out overnight.  You have to completely rethink logistics and the structure of urban areas.  You have to invest a lot more in public transit, etc.  These can all be done, but they can't be done overnight where as gas prices can go up overnight.

              There will be a huge economic cost from this.  If you bought a home far from work and now need to move, you can't just move very easily.  You have to sell your home, likely at a loss, to move to a new place that's likely going to be more expensive because of increased demand.  Many of those homes will likely end up simply abandoned because nobody wants them.  Banks will fold as they find themselves with tons bad loans for houses nobody wants.  

              The worst part is that poorer people will feel the greatest pain for this.  The majority of people living far away from work aren't living in McMansions.  They are living in simple homes equivalent to suburban tract homes built in the 60's and 70's.  They live far away so that they can afford a yard for their kids, etc, not to live in luxury.  Though yards may become a luxury.

              --- If trickle down economics worked, Marie Antoinette wouldn't have lost her head

              by sterno on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 03:00:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Equipment can't be manufactured fast enough (5+ / 0-)

        I work for a company that is the world's sole producer of a giant (25 ft tall) oilfield drilling blocks.  We sell them at about $90k and have companies literally begging on hands and knees to give us $90gr.  The problem is the castings used for making the block can't be made fast enough for us to produce the finished products.  
        It all has to do with the skyrocketing demand for forged steel goods around the world.

        "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

        by don the tin foil on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:59:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for this. I recently saw a program on tv (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, Oil CEO

      regarding the Canadian oil sands.  Sorry that I don't recall what channel.  

      You mentioned "real environmental consequences locally" in your diary.  If I recall correctly, the landscape they had decimating looked as bad as, if not worse than, strip-mining sites.  They promised when finished they would make it all lovely again, but man traditionally has NOT been able to replace the animal and plant-life destroyed.

      Another point that was made, IIRC, during the program was the air pollution resulting from the processing of the sand oil.  

      Boone T. Pickens, of Texas oil infamy, said years ago that processing these sand oils was NOT worth the investment, but since oil has passed the $50/barrel price, he has now become an investor.  

      I think the program mentioned that Japanese investors were also interested and flocking to the area to take a look see as well.

    •  Hey Jerome.. (8+ / 0-)

      Sorry to direct reply this, but this is kinda important to go with it.

      There's a good chance that the costs of those sands are much higher than even that. The Premier of Alberta is retiring, and in the heavily Tory province, the leadership race is being lead by the old federal Reform party leader, Preston Manning.

      I recently read an interview with him regarding the oil sands, and he said that he thought that it used far too much water to be worth it. That in the long run water is a more valuable resource than oil. And that for future potential Tory supporters, environmentalism was very important.

      The big clash is inevitably going to be in the oil sands, isn't it? You're either going to use most of the water in northern Alberta for those operations or you're not. How do you deal with that?
      Well, at least pose the questions. Is there a way to deal more responsibly with, first of all, how we energize the oil sands extraction? We can't continue to use a high-premium clean-burning fuel like natural gas to energize the production of oil sands, so the faster the scientific community, the technological community, the industry -- and people are working on this night and day -- can improve that situation the better. We can't continue to use the volumes of water Alberta is using at the rate we're doing, and is there a place for market mechanisms there to start valuing that resource at its true value and measure our use of it and price it correctly? There are no simple answers to these questions, but I think they're ones that should be front and centre.

      From Mcleans.ca

      This is our story...

      by Karmakin on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:15:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Preston announced that he wouldn't run (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        True North, Sarkasba

        At least, I haven't heard otherwise since mid-May.

        CALGARY (CP) - Preston Manning has ruled out a run to replace Ralph Klein as premier of Alberta.

        After weeks of soul searching, the founder of the Reform party said Wednesday he can have a bigger impact on Alberta and Canada by training the next generation of conservative thinkers than entering provincial politics. "Yes it's tempting, yes it's a great short-run opportunity and maybe it would have a big, long-term impact," Manning told reporters Wednesday.

        Also of interest, current (and sooon-to-retire) Alberta Premier Ralph Klein slammed Al Goreregarding the oilsands thsi past week.

        Klein, who was recently in Washington to promote the oilsands as a reliable source of energy for the U.S., said Gore's views are simply not realistic.

        "I don't know what he proposes the world run on, maybe hot air," Klein told reporters Tuesday. "I don't listen to Al Gore in particular because he's a Democrat. And not only that, he's about as far left as you can go.

        "The simple fact is America needs oil. They need gas. And unless he can find some other source, fine."

        Wow! Even further left than Canadian politicians? You just know Ralphie boy was playing to an American audience there.

        The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

        by FrankFrink on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 10:21:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We are already beyond saving (0+ / 0-)

      World production is now exceeded by word demand.

      Demand is rising at a rate of 30% because of a modernized China and India at least in the sense of addiction to cheap fossil fuels.

      If our world requires 84 million barrels a day and we have 1141 bBo in reserves (about 500 bBo of which is proven, 250 bBo of which is pie in the sky ie; might be under the antartic ice cap after it melts, and 391 attributable to overestimates of reserves by OPEC so that it could be produced at a faster rate, then we  may well have used every drop of proven reserves within about a decade and a half.

      There may be some hope in that as production begins to drop sharply and demand causes the price at the pump to rise wickedly we will be paying a lot more for our commutes to work until finally we can't afford to go to work at all meaning demand may drop so we won't be using the oil as fast.

      World competition for oil reserves among people with hair triggers and short fuses plus many starving and angry people among their population make nuclear proliferation a bad bad idea.

      Global Warming will probably reach its tipping point before we run out completely but what happens to our hopeful future of alternative energy schemes after we reach the point where people can't afford to commute to work?

      Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

      by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:44:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not quite (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rktect

        Demand is not rising at 30%. It is more like 1.5 percent.

        •  I guess it depends on where you sample the data (0+ / 0-)

          Does demand rise if production drops and there isn't enough to go around or we just assume there will always be enough oil and that people will be able to pay whatever price oil companies ask no matter how bad the economy gets?

          In the IEO2006 reference case, world oil demand increases by 47 percent from 2003 to 2030. Non-OECD Asia, including China and India, accounts for 43 percent of the increase.

          In the IEO2006 reference case, world oil demand grows from 80 million barrels per day in 2003 to 98 million barrels per day in 2015 and 118 million barrels per day in 2030.

          Demand increases strongly despite world oil prices that are 35 percent higher in 2025 than in last year’s outlook.

          Much of the growth in oil consumption is projected for the nations of non-OECD Asia, where strong economic growth is expected. Non-OECD Asia (including China and India) accounts for 43 percent of the total increase in world oil use over the projection period.  

          Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

          by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:34:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's still 2006 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rktect

            I don't know what the case will be in 2030. I do know that global demand/production/supply, whatever you want to call it has increased by about 1.5% annually over last decade.

            Of course, if you know and understand Peak Oil, you know that even this is unsustainable.

            Here's a diary I wrote on oil sands

            Tar Crazy

            •  I don't think the rate of increase is linear (0+ / 0-)

              any more than global warming is. Maybe for the last half century while we pumped out the light sweet crude it has been, but just as since 2000 Bush Co. has increased the national debt as much as the cumulative total of every president who preceeded him, so the oil companies have increased th eworld demand for oil.

              We should both recognize the exponential curve involved and the fact that right now the rate of increase is increasing at an increasing rate for every observable social trendline.

              That not too suprising given population is increasing and no matter where you go in the world you encounter the desire of people to have as much technology as their neighbors even if it makes the air thick and visably yellow.

              Since only in pure mathematics can an exponential curve go to infinity the breakpoint is undoubtedly both near and inevitable.

              Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

              by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:51:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rktect

                Actual demand is actual product supplied which can never be higher than product produced. For at least the last 18 months, production has been flat. See theoildrum.com for extensive discussions of this subject. One can argue that real demand is higher and is what has been pushing the price up dramatically over last 3 years, but what we can actually measure is about 1.5% - meaning on average, it actually fluctuates quite significantly from about 0 to 4%.

                •  The real demand can be higher than production (0+ / 0-)

                  when there is a small group of haves and have mores and a large group that just don't get theirs.

                  I would argue production is actually going down because refineries have been drawing from reserves to meet demand.

                  There is a lot of oil in the pipeline right now, but not necessarily much left in the oil pan.

                  My sense is that we pay a lot of attention to US demand but not a lot of attention to the demands on this resource from the rest of the world.

                  If we factored in the demand of nations which have more than 12 hours a day of brownout, due to lack of energy and what it would take in terms of an increase in demand in order to provide clean water, clean air, adequate food, healthcare and raise people's quality of life around the world  ro adequate survival levels demand would double.

                  Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                  by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 04:10:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Looking at supply, as opposed to just production (0+ / 0-)

              US production is dropping sharply. As US production drops we need more foreign oil to hold the line.

              Getting more foreign oil diverted to the US instead of say China or Europe is harder than it sounds. The rest of the world has the same problem.

              Thanks to Bush Co., we are rather universally seen as a paper tiger and an overextended one at that so we don't have the ability to stamp our feet and get our own way any more. That happens to bully's sometimes.

              If we were to let the oil company's drill in Anwar the oil wouldn't come to the US but rather go to Japan.

              China has gone to Russia and negotiated a pipeline, gone to Venezuala, Cuba, Canada, Ecuador, Nigeria and many other oil producing nations and offered them a bigger and better deal.

              The increase in US consumption during the Clinton years doesn't seem to be reflected during the Bush administration.

              Oil Sands in Canada - some point to so-called oil sand deposits in Canada, believing such can help meet USA oil needs in coming years right next door. The following statement points out that oil sands offer nil to no relief:

              "The bad news is that oil derived from these oil sands is extremely financially and energetically intensive to extract and thus suffers from a horribly slow extraction rate.

              Whereas conventional oil has enjoyed a rate of "energy return on energy invested" - "EROEI" for short - of about 30 to 1, the oil sands rate of return hovers around 1.5 to 1.

              This means that we would have to spend 15 times as much money to generate the same amount of oil from the oil sands as we do from conventional sources of oil.

              Where to find such a huge amount of capital is largely a moot point because, even with massive improvements in extraction technology, the oil sands in Canada are projected to only produce a paltry 2.2 million barrels per day by 2015. That's not much oil considering we currently need 83.5 million barrels per day, are projected to need 120 million barrels per day by 2020."

              I find that hard to explain since most of us can observe that there are many more cars on the road causing much more traffic congestion and longer slower commutes in which the engines are not running as efficiently.

              Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

              by rktect on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 04:58:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Oil Drum (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rktect

                My Friend,

                Do you post on the Oil Drum? You really should. I think you would fit in well there. You would be appreciated. This is not to say it is not a tough environment. You have to know your stuff. But your style suggests you are more than capable.

                www.theoildrum.com

                •  I really know nothing about the subject (0+ / 0-)

                  I haven't been OFT since we brought in Hawtah back in 93, that was the last big conventional field.

                  When it comes to unconventional resourcesit looks like the new math to me.

                  Total crude oil and other petroleum demand is projected to grow from 20.74 MMbopd in 2004, to 27.65 MMbopd in 2030, but growth in domestic production will not keep pace, meeting only about 38 percent of the demand growth.
                  ...
                  The percentage of oil and natural gas production from water depths over 1,000 feet, and
                  in some cases over 7,500 feet, has steadily increased over the past decade, now accounting for 63 percent of the GOM’s oil production and 35 percent of the natural gas production. In the mature shallow water areas of the GOM, the rapid decline in production, especially for shallow-depth natural gas, means that deepwater output and production from other oil and natural gas-prone areas will have to increase significantly to help offset declines and help meet the projected growth in U.S. demand.

                  Lets say we multiply 21 Mbo a day time 365 days
                  and find that we are presently using 7.665 Bbo a year.

                  As I read the chart below we have recovered from domestic fields 14.12 Bbo to date, and we have reserves of 8.55 Bbo.

                  To me it doesn't look like we are going to acheive energy independence any time soon.

                                        OIL (Billion Barrels)
                  OCS Regions:           Known Resources:
                                        Cum Prod   Reserves    Res App
                  Alaska                 0.01       0.03        0.00
                  Atlantic               0.00       0.00        0.00
                  Gulf of Mexico     13.05      7.06        6.88
                  Pacific                1.06       1.46         0.00
                  Total                  14.12     8.55      6.88

                  (mean estimate)
                  Undiscovered Resources 85.88
                  Total Endowment 115.43

                  What exactly are undiscovered resources? They appear to be the equivalent of theories of global cooling. The thinking seems to be if we throw out all the science and just go with the wishful thinking of the politicians they will probably continue to keep giving us subsidies no matter how high we drive up the price of gas.

                  Of the total endowment, about 29.6 Bbo and 213.8 Tcfg (approximately 30 percent on a BOE basis) is represented by resources in known fields— the total of cumulative production, remaining proved and unproved reserves, and reserves appreciation.

                  Cumulative production on the OCS through 2002 was 14.1 Bbo and 153.6 Tcfg; 97 percent of which was produced in the GOM. Historical production represents 18 percent of the estimated mean total endowment.

                  Estimates of the discovered resources remaining to be produced (reserves and reserves appreciation) total 15.4 Bbo and 60.2 Tcfg.

                  The MMS estimates that reserves remaining within the 1,151 fields discovered as of January 1, 2003, total 8.6 Bbo and 29.3 Tcfg.

                  An additional volume of reserves growth or appreciation—the projected increase in current estimates of reserves within existing fields based on historical trends—totaling 6.9 Bbo and 30.9 Tcfg is also forecast to be ultimately recoverable from this same set of existing offshore fields.

                  This growth occurs primarily from the discovery of new reservoirs and an increase in the estimate of the recoverable portion of in-place hydrocarbons within known reservoirs, due to future advances in technology, an increased understanding of reservoir performance and improvements in economics.

                  Resources: Concentrations in the earth’s crust of naturally occurring liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons that can conceivably be discovered and recovered.

                  Normal use encompasses both discovered and undiscovered resources.

                  Undiscovered resources: Resources postulated, on the basis of geologic knowledge and theory, to exist outside of known fields or accumulations. Also included are resources from undiscovered pools within known fields to the extent that they occur within separate plays.

                  Undiscovered technically recoverable resources (UTRR): Hydrocarbons that may be produced as a consequence of natural pressure, artificial lift, pressure maintenance (gas or water injection), or other secondary recovery methods, but without any consideration of economic viability.

                  The UTRR do not include quantities of hydrocarbon resources that could be recovered by enhanced recovery techniques, gas in geopressured brines, natural gas hydrates, or oil and gas that may be present in insufficient quantities or quality (low permeability “tight” reservoirs) to be produced via conventional recovery techniques.

                  Also, the UTRR are primarily located outside of known fields.

                  Undiscovered economically recoverable resources (UERR): The portion of the UTRR that is potentially recoverable at a profit under imposed economic and technologic conditions.

                  Reserves: The quantities of hydrocarbon resources anticipated to be recovered from known accumulations from a given date forward. All reserve estimates involve some degree of uncertainty.

                  Proved reserves: The quantities of hydrocarbons estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable from known accumulations under current economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations.

                  Current economic conditions include prices and costs prevailing at the time of the estimate. Estimates of proved reserves do not include reserves appreciation.

                  Unproved reserves: Quantities of hydrocarbon reserves that are assessed based on geologic and engineering information similar to that used in developing estimates of proved reserves, but technical, contractual, economic, or regulatory uncertainty precludes such reserves being classified as proved.

                  Reserves appreciation: The observed incremental increase through time in the estimates of reserves (proved and unproved) of an oil and/or natural gas field.

                  It is that part of the known resources over and above proved and unproved reserves that will be added to existing fields through extension, revision, improved recovery, and the addition of new reservoirs. Also commonly referred to as reserves growth or field growth.

                  Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                  by rktect on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 10:08:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The site definitely has a lot of information (0+ / 0-)

                  and some great graphs. This was posted on oil.drum July 7, under the title "Linearize this"

                  If I'm right we are looking at Dahrahn and the eastern region up through Wahriyah being pumped just about dry up through 1974, then there was new field development at Ghawar southwest of Abqaig down through Hofuf and Ain Dar and an increase of capacity at Abqaig coming on line in 1984.

                  Now thats about gone and we would have seen the same trendline repeat except for Hawtah which began to be developed in 1993. Thats a smaller field and the last of the light sweet crude so despite refining capacity being increased, the next time we see that line head down for all practical purposes ARAMCO is through developing resources in Saudia Arabia and is done pumping.

                  Saudi Arabia's five giant oil fields, which have produced 90 percent of all Saudi oil from 1951 to 2000, were discovered between 1940 and 1965. All five have been using water injection to produce "fabulous wellhead oil flows" that "defied normal depletion." But the era of easy oil is over.

                  While Saudi Arabia has over 300 recognized reservoirs, more than 90 percent of the oil comes from only a small number of reservoirs.

                  Saudi's "king" of oil fields, Ghawar, is the world's largest oil field. Wildcat discoveries there from 1948 to 1952 proved reserves estimated at 170 billion barrels of oil in place and 60 billion barrels recoverable. Those numbers remained unchanged in Aramco's 1975 reserve estimates. Ghawar has accounted for 55 percent to 60 percent of all Saudi oil produced. If these numbers are correct, Ghawar's oil is 90 percent gone.

                  Ghawar is also very expensive to maintain. As you take the oil out there is a tendency for the land above to fallout from below the wells and pumps. To prevent this a line of 5'diameter pipelines and pumping stations is used to inject seawater to replace the volume of the oil that has been removed, so probably the best way to but the situation is that we are on rinse cycle.

                  Simmons points out that 20 percent of the world's oil supply comes from 14 fields that are an average of 60 years old. New giant oil field discoveries, he says, ended in the late 1960s to early 1970s

                  Outsiders have not had access to detailed production data from Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company, for more than 20 years. But interviews in recent months with experts on Saudi oil fields provided a rare look inside the business and suggested looming problems.

                  An internal Saudi Aramco plan, the experts said, estimates total production capacity in 2011 at 10.15 million barrels a day, about the current capacity. But to meet expected world demand, the United States Department of Energy's research arm says Saudi Arabia will need to produce 13.6 million barrels a day by 2010 and 19.5 million barrels a day by 2020.
                  ...
                  Saudi Arabia's reported proven reserves, more than 250 billion barrels, are one-fourth of the world's total. The most significant is Ghawar. Discovered in 1948, the 300-mile-long sliver near the Persian Gulf is the world's largest oil field and accounts for more than half of the kingdom's production.

                  When people talk about proven reserves its important to draw the distinction that some reserves are 90 % depleted.

                  Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

                  by rktect on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 10:53:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  One big constraint... (21+ / 0-)

    People.  Companies working the tar sands have found it darn near impossible to get people to work in these extremely remote, extremely northern areas.

    These areas are remote, and sub-arctic.  Several potential projects have flat out been crippled by inablity to convince potential workers to put up with the isolation and rough conditions.

    So if you've always had an itchin' to get out to somewhere desolate -- a place where your job is to remove the last trace of scenic beauty while the snow piles ever deeper -- you know where to apply.


    Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

    by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 06:39:44 AM PDT

    •  Don't you know (11+ / 0-)

      that market forces can solve these issues just like that?!

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 06:52:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I dunno (12+ / 0-)

      The oil workers in Alberta go anywhere. They're a hardy bunch. You underestimate them.

      Having lived among them, I know that they think nothing of leaving their families for nine or ten months to work in remote locations. The trade-off is that their families are well provided for.

      You'd be amazed what kind of conditions people will accept to make a very good living. Just look at the Alaskan king crab industry.

      Have you heard about the truck drivers who make more than a years wages in four months driving trucks loaded with mining supplies across frozen lakes? You can't stop. You can't slow down. The only thing between you and the icy water is a sheet of ice that will buckle and swallow your truck whole if you do not maintain a perfectly constant speed.

      So there ya go. If you pay them, they will work.

      -- We need more trees and fewer Bushes

      by Sarkasba on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:09:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hugely disagree (11+ / 0-)

      Weather and environment have no impact on companies hiring policies, it just means they'll have to pay more. The real problem with all of Northern Alberta (including Edmonton where I lived for many years) is that there's no god damn houses to live in! Seriously, I've friends in the real estate business in Edmonton and now must houses are being sold in 4 hours or less after listing! And the further north you go, the worse it gets. Fort McMurray is terrible, thousands of people living in Temporary shelter because there's no houses  available. I'll find the stats later but Fort McMurray has doubled in size in the last 4 years. Add to the housing shortage lack of entertainment and off work activities with rampant crime, drug, prositution problems and it's a hell hole.

       

      •  From USA Today (12+ / 0-)

        From this article that came out last week.

        But even as boom towns rise, the ambitious venture still faces some tough hurdles. Chief among them: finding about 30,000 skilled welders, electricians and pipe fitters willing to relocate to a remote corner of Canada to transform the oil sands dream into reality.

        "That's probably the biggest constraint. It's a matter of, 'Can we get the people to build all these projects at the same time?' " says Neil Camarta, senior vice president for oil sands with Petro-Canada, one of several companies already at work in oil-rich Alberta province.


        Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

        by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:36:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What you are talking about (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        means are the ends, Oil CEO

        Reminds me of some of the old, now abandoned, mining towns here in the west. Hubby and I used to make a weekend of driving out into some of the more remote parts of our state to the ghost towns of Utah. We would bring our books and maps and check them out. Most of them would qualify for "hell hole" status. They all started with tin roof shacks, saloons and brothels. Most of them died out, some thrived and grew like Park City.

      •  You lived in Edmonton? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FrankFrink

        Hey, I'm from Edmonton!

        High five!

        And yeah, housing prices ARE significantly rising in Edmonton, but we're nowhere near the huge shortage that exists in Fort Mac.  Not even close.

        •  Bonniedoon BABY! (0+ / 0-)

          HIGH FIVE!

        •  hi! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FrankFrink

          I'm in Lethbridge. Housing at an all time high even in the forgotten part of Alberta. Restaurants and other businesses are closing due to being unable to get workers.  The University has less young men signing up as students so enrollment has gone down.  Workers from every part are streaming to the north. There are designated flights bringing workers from the east coast to work for a time and then back to their family for a few days of rest. But money money money rolling into the Alberta coffers is being planned for investing in higher education and savings for bad times that have come before.
          Peter Lougheed the former premier has been critical of using cheap and cleaner gas to heat up the water that is being used to loosen the oil form the sands.

          http://lfpress.ca/...

          http://www.theglobeandmail.com/...

          a freeper version
          http://worldnetdaily.com/...

          I was in D.C. for the Smithsonian thing it was fun.  But Ralphie "I never touch another drink" was drinking.  In his defense he had just given a excellent speech about how much the American people meant to Albertans in spite of persistent anti Americanism back in Ontario.  that part is true! Even before the Iraq war.  For years we had to put up with terrible anti American bigotry even during the Clinton years.  It is refreshing to live in Alberta even if the air sometimes stinks of cattle poop hell it makes me nostalgic for Texas.

          •  Don't worry... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            True North, FrankFrink

            From what I've heard... his "Ralph Bucks" have pissed off absolutely everyboy in Alberta.

            The conservatives are pissed because they wanted tax cuts and are pissed because all those people that don't pay taxes (kids, ppl on EI, etc.) received the same amount as them.

            While the left are fuming because they wanted the money poured into social programs that are in desparate need of funding after a decade of provincial and federal budget cuts.

          •  water under fire video (0+ / 0-)

            on tar sands pollution of water.

            go here
            Produced by professors at the University of Lethbridge

            http://www.waterunderfire.com/

            check out the clips
            http://www.waterunderfire.com/...

          •  I'm not so keen on Ralph. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankFrink

            Especially lately with his slamming of Al Gore for being a Democrat!  Can you believe that?  He said he'd never listen to the man's environmental concerns because he's a Democrat.  He's trying to sell Alberta as a "red"/Republican province.  It infuriates me.  I understand why he wants good relations with the US, but all he does is bash the rest of Canada and 50% of America in the process.

            •  Ralph & Karma (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FrankFrink

              Ralph Klein has said, and done, so much that I've disagreed with (vehemently)--but now his time is almost over. He obviously assumed that he would be premier for as long as he cared to have the job, and he was stunned when his own party decided that the time had come for him to head for the golf course on a permanent basis. He'll be gone by the fall--let's see who the Tories come up with to replace him.

              Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! -- www.votefromabroad.org.

              by True North on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:21:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  No shortage of workers - there's no housing. (6+ / 0-)

      There's no shortage of workers willing to work in Northern Alberta. In fact, it is becoming a problem for parents who want their kids to go to university (a friend has this problem) because any 18-19yo kid can get a job where they will train the employee in whatever skill is required (welders, truck drivers, heavy equipment, etc.) while paying them very, very well. At this point, anyone in Canada can get a job in Alberta or northern BC for the asking. This has created a labor shortage in both BC and Alberta in the construction and sevice industries. One company that fabricates truck trailers in Edmonton had to close shop and move to Ontario because they couldn't hire or keep employees.

      The real problem is that there is no housing. At all. Employees are living in motorhomes, trailers, tents, pickups, and out in the open (weather permitting). Housing isn't being built because there are few construction workers available. The entire region is is working above capacity and the labor shortages are causing wages to increase across both BC and Alberta. These are very, very good times for blue-collar working people in Canada.

      -6.38/-3.79::'A man is incapable of comprehending any argument that interferes with his revenues.' Descartes

      by skrymir on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:42:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boom and Bust in Wyoming (5+ / 0-)

        I'll certainly defer to all the folks living into the area for the cause of this.  Best I've ever done is make a couple of visits to mines in the region so I certainly have no inside knowledge, and all the reading I'm getting (mostly from the business pages) more closely reflects what the CEO's think is the problem (not enough workers) than the root causes (no decent places to live).

        For what it's worth, I've seen eastern Wyoming and the southest corner of Montana go through similar cycles.  Oil booms came in that turned Gillette into the largest trailer park in North America.  Construction ramped up, then the oil boom faded and suddenly housing was cheap.  Then a uranium boom started and people were paying $1000 a month to sleep in someone's garage.  Then that boom faded and housing prices collapsed.  Then a coal boom started and housing prices soared as new towns and subdivisions (with housing quality ranging from very good to laughable) sprouted all along the axis of the basin.

        People there long enough to ride out the ups and downs have found themselves property rich.  Those trying to come in at the start of a boom find the costs daunting.


        Theobromine -- does that come in chocolate?

        by Mark Sumner on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:02:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Working conditions (4+ / 0-)

        These are very, very good times for blue-collar working people in Canada.

        I know someone who is working in Fort McMurray now. He has long experience in the trades. Yep, good times from his point of view.

        His living conditions are better than the bad situation you describe for those who can't find housing. He lives in what is referred to as "camp" -- which sounds primitive, but it isn't. The employer provides comfortable single rooms, with maid service, and provides all meals in a cafeteria. Excellent food, he reports. This being Alberta, steak is on the menu all the time.

        He works for ten days (including lots of overtime), then gets four days off, with free bus transportation to Calgary and back.

        Incidentally, one of the things he likes about working for his company is that they have a zero tolerance policy for drugs, booze, and harassment. and that policy is enforced. For those who work in construction, the conditions are definitely better when co-workers are sober and non-abusive.

        Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! -- www.votefromabroad.org.

        by True North on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:38:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So buy a motorhome here and sell it there. (0+ / 0-)

        Rinse, repeat.

        Faith or evidence. You decide. 94801

        by ormondotvos on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:34:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Does Canadian Citizenship (0+ / 0-)

       and national health care come with the job?
      In some people's situations, they would love to apply for the jobs ---

  •  Wow... (2+ / 0-)

    The most important thing you said: It takes half a barrel of oil to produce one barrel of oil from the tar sands.

    I didn't realize the costs were that high...  Very useful point to make next time a wingnut uses oil talking points.

    •  Wait (8+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure that's the actual number

      I used that number as an example, but I would not say that it is the number to be quoted. In some cases, it may actually be worse (if you need a lot of natural gas to process the tar goo and transform it into oil), but in some cases it may be better.

      The important thing to note is that in any number quoted as the "cost" of a barrel of oil form oil sands, a big chunk of it is directly dependent on final oil prices, and thus that cost will rise with these prices. Also, as the article points out, the oil coming out of these processes is not that highly valued (see the massive discount quoted)

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 06:55:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks... (2+ / 0-)

        So, may be better, may be worse...

        Kind of like the ethanol thing.  Really not the best energy alternative... very inefficient.

        •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

          See this very recent thread on biofuels over at European Tribune:

          Biofuels & Petro-fuels = Liquid Fuels

          In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
          Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

          by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:31:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Stop, please (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sam I Am, skralyx, FrankFrink

          When you talk about ethanol being inefficient you need to remember that you are talking about corn ethanol.

          Unfortunatly too many people repeat this line without making that qualification.

          Cellulosic ethanol (produced from switchgrass, wheat residues, etc.) shows promise of having a very high energy return.  Of course, it has not yet been developed on a large scale, so we shall see.  But we should seperate the discussion of cellulosic ethanol from that of the inefficent and environmentally dangerous corn ethanol industry.

          "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

          by tmendoza on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:00:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, but what are we going to do with all (0+ / 0-)

            that corn that no countries will take because it is polluted. We just have to burn it.

            Haha!
            Don't forget about hemp.

            But really, don't we need to get past burning shit?

            It's the 21st century. Duck Dodgers time, you know?

            Can't we start working on something that doesn't burn, and can't be commoditized?

            Ignore the base, hide our values, and chase the swing voter and we not only lose, but we fall farther behind.

            by k9disc on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 10:01:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Right there with you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmendoza

            I'll too take a stand against the ethanol bashers!

            After all, I live by a gas station with leaky tanks and thank god that awful smelling MBTE is gone.

            Of course, the tanks still leak, but now they leak ethanol into my drinking water - I calculate at ~ 0.1 v/v % - so I only have to drink 10-12 liters a day to have a perpetual buzz going.  And the naysayer's want to deny me that for thermodynamic considerations (that, in any event, the Republican congress will probably declare null and void soon enough)?  WFT ?!?!?!?!

      •  Canada decided against clean-energy extraction (3+ / 0-)

        Originally the tar sands were going to be processed using energy from a nuclear plant, which would have emitted zero greenhouse gases.  

        But instead coal will now be burned to provide the power.

        So--a dirty business all around.

        ...it always turns out that no one is in charge of the things that really matter.--Deborah Eisenberg, Twilight of the Superheroes

        by Plan9 on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:01:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nuclear Energy is a big part of the energy answer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plan9, Enufacas

          Good friend has a MS from Stanford in Mech Eng studying energy issues. He says that they have found engineering solutions for building safe Nuclear power plants (safe from melt down) and that a french method creates waste with only a 250 year half life. In other words, you can bury the waste 5000 feet underground from where you generated the electricity.

          Bio-energy,
          Wind Energy
          Nuclear Energy
          Coal based liquid energy

          Conservation

          Better Public Transport

          A little bit of this and that and the next thing you know the energy problem is resolved. That leaves only the polution problem.

          But rational responses to problems is passe. We are headed back to the dark ages.

          •  Indeed, and not only nuclear power (0+ / 0-)

            But before today's political correctness movements became enshrined, visionaries of the Project Plowshare, ilk suggested that nukes could also be used for extraction

            SYNOPSIS: In 1959-1960, the cabinet of Premier Ernest Manning seriously considered allowing the underground detonation of a 9 kilotonne atomic bomb in northern Alberta in an experiment to determine if nuclear power might help remove oil for the oilsands. The site chosen for the blast was Cheechum Crossing. Dr. Michael Payne sets the scene for this bizarre tale from Alberta's oilsands history. It began as part of Project Ploughshares, an American scheme to find peaceful ways to use nuclear bombs

            kinda makes one pine for the "good ole days" . . .  seems like today very few of us are still striving for peaceful uses for nuclear bombs . . .

          •  Do you have any links (0+ / 0-)

            For only having a 250 year half life? If that is so, then it would make a huge difference to me on whether I would support it.

            •  I googled and found this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Plan9

              http://www.pbs.org/...

              with this quote:

              French technocrats had never thought that the waste issue would be much of a problem. From the beginning the French had been recycling their nuclear waste, reclaiming the plutonium and unused uranium and fabricating new fuel elements. This not only gave energy, it reduced the volume and longevity of French radioactive waste. The volume of the ultimate high-level waste was indeed very small: the contribution of a family of four using electricity for 20 years is a glass cylinder the size of a cigarette lighter. It was assumed that this high-level waste would be buried in underground geological storage and in the 80s French engineers began digging exploratory holes in France's rural regions.

              My friend said the method came from France. 250 year half life. Bury deep in the ground under the reactor. Reactor's are now melt down proof because Engineers have built in heat diffusing architecture.

              This is the future. People won't open their minds until we have $5 gal oil. Well we are almost there.

              •  You have presented no facts at all. (0+ / 0-)

                This leads me to believe they are not facts.

                Besides, there is also the hugely polluting reprocessing center at La Hague:

                France Acknowledges Massive Radioactive Pollution at La Hague

                So their nuclear power doesn't come without a price.

                Earlier this year, an article in the British Medical Journal reported an abnormally high rate of childhood leukemia within a 35 km radius of the French nuclear fuels reprocessing plant at La Hague, Normandy. The French Health Ministry’s radiation protection office denied any possible connection between leukemia in children and radiation at La Hague, on the grounds that any radiation hazard would have been detected by the thousands of environmental measurements that have been made. Subsequently, however, the Commission of Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity (CRIIRAD), a private agency, reported that, at low tide, tourists collecting seashells near a pipe carrying nuclear waste out to sea were exposed to 300 microsieverts per hour, which amounts in 4 hours to “more than the annual maximum dose.” In addition, CRIIRAD found abnormal concentrations of highly toxic iodine-129 in moss within a 7-km radius of the plant. Altogether, CRIIRAD claims, authorized outputs by the La Hague plant exceed the total discharge of all the world’s nuclear reactors combined.

                Nothing is free, my friend. And all the shilling in the world by Plan9 and Roadbed Guy can't change the facts of nuclear power, which is that the waste is toxic for long periods of time. And reprocessing isn't a "get out of jail free" card.

                •  I got the info from a friend who I trust implicit (0+ / 0-)

                  He's an engineer, he got his masters in mechanical engineering from Stanford, he sain, he's rational, he's in his early 30s and lives off of his investments after working only 10 years as a software engineer.  He doesn't dabble in fiction, he is informed. I've known him for 6 years. And I've learned after our share of discussions that if he says something its true.

                  I don't have any skin in this game or point to prove. Neither did he. (his speciality was in studying wind energy). I don't have to look it up. If I want I suppose I could call or email him.

                  I don't know who you are talking about when you say 'roadbedguy' or 'plan9'

                  Doesn't matter. I am satisfied. I don't know more about these issues, and have other fish to fry right now so I can't know more about them. I have learned that where problems show up, often an engineering solution can be found.

                  I would wager to bet that Nuclear Energy is in our future and they will find a way to make it reletively safe. .

      •  I've heard that it's something more (0+ / 0-)

        like a barrel of oil to produce a barrel and a half of oil.

        The extraction porcess also uses a high volume of natural gas.

        The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

        by FrankFrink on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 10:29:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And... (0+ / 0-)

        the impact of that reality is so huge because we have such varied and broad uses for oil, anytime extracting it goes up in cost, even as it makes it unprofitable, its prevalence in our lives makes it impossible to not pay ever increasing prices for it.  Remember also the costs of changing to other materials as substitute is also not cheap.  This will be not only an economic crisis, but a fundamental socio/cultural crisis.

        ..Don't ask "where are the leaders. WE are the leaders!

        by SwimmertoFreedom06 on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:12:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not to mention (7+ / 0-)

    that 3 of the 5 worst polluters in Canada are tar sands projects (and tar sands is a more accurate term than oil sands) and that there is now talk of building nuclear power plants to provide the energy the tar sands projects need.  It isn't that this is not a partial solution but too many people portray it as a solution with easily manageable costs which it isn't.  The tar sands projects are a large part of the reason why the Canadian record on air pollution is worse that that of the US.

    •  Nuclear Reactors for Oil Sands (0+ / 0-)

      One problem I've heard is that nuclear reactors are stationary and can only provide heat for a limited area. What are the economics of either distributing steam or building more reactors?

  •  There's a fair amount of comment on the (5+ / 0-)

    environmental aspects of expoiting tar sands in Canada, with even Ralph Klein's Tory government in Alberta, where most of the tar sands are found, expressingconcern.

    -Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all- -9.50, -5.74

    by redstar on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:00:54 AM PDT

    •  even more amazing (4+ / 0-)

      Since the Alberta tories have governed continuously for 50+ years.  It is a one-party Province for all intents and purposes.  So not like they seriously fear losing the next election.  It's just a question of how many inner city Edmonton and Calgary ridings will the opposition get.

      This comment was screened and authorized by Kos. All hail the King of the Blogosphere.

      by Scientician on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:06:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Serious fear (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scientician, MarketTrustee

        It is a one-party Province for all intents and purposes.  So not like they seriously fear losing the next election.

        I'm not so sure about the fear issue.

        Compare the last two elections:

        2004.
        Tories - 47% of the vote - 63 MLAs
        Liberals - 29% - 17 MLAs
        NDP - 4.79% - 4 MLAs
        Alberta Alliance - 9.10% - 1 MLA

        2001
        Tories - 62% of the vote - 74 MLAs
        Liberals - 27% - 7 MLAs
        NDP - 8% - 2 MLAs

        The Tories usually do extremely well in rural ridings, so they can't be happy that the Alberta Alliance is moving into that territory, and attracting 9% of the vote, to boot. AA is to the right of the Tories--the offspring of Social Credit and Reform/Alliance.

        In Calgary, where the Tories had gotten accustomed to winning all, or all but one, of the ridings--three Liberals were elected.

        A Liberal, Dr. David Swann, who was running for the first time, soundly thumped the Tory MLA. Indeed, you could say that Dr. Swann out-performed Premier Ralph Klein, since he got 7155 of the 13,125 votes in his riding (about 54.5%), whereas Klein got 6868 of 13,515 in his (51.5%).

        Dr. Swann cannot be confused with the Tories, either. He is a public health doctor who had been fired from his job as a medical officer of health for publicly supporting the Kyoto Treaty. He spoke as a doctor about potential health benefits that would emerge from implementing Kyoto. He also was actively involved in efforts to end sanctions in Iraq, and he had visited Iraq to evaluate the public health situation there. Before the war began, he had spoken out about how war would impact on all aspects of public health for Iraqis. His voice, as a candidate, was a distinctive one.

        I suspect that the reason that the Tories decided to put Ralph Klein out to pasture on the nearest golf course is that they were looking at these numbers and remembering that whenever Alberta voters have decided to change government--which is rare--they tend to do it by sweeping out one party en masse and sweeping in the new one.

        Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! -- www.votefromabroad.org.

        by True North on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:57:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hmmm... (0+ / 0-)

          know of any polling that supports a serious decline in provincial tory support?  Remember, the federal conservatives just swept the province too.  

          I just think it was Ralph's time.  Just like the Liberals kicking out Chretien - who likely would have won his next election, but his opponents inside the party gained enough support to push them out.

          I wasn't aware of the AA party though, if there is a possiblitiy of a serious right wing schism, then perhaps the grits can eke out a minority government.

          I won't hold my breath though.

          This comment was screened and authorized by Kos. All hail the King of the Blogosphere.

          by Scientician on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:17:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  polling (0+ / 0-)

            Scientician, I haven't seen any poll results, so that I can't answer.

            As to it being Ralph's time to go: just about everybody seemed to think it was his time to go except for Ralph, the people closest to him--and, it appeared, most of the people in his party who had a say in these things.

            The provincial Tories have really appreciated a system which allowed them to get 80% or 90% of the MLAs, with a vote share of, say, 55%. They've governed as if they got 85% of the votes.

            Not only has the Klein government acted as if they had overwhelming support--but the media and other Canadians act as if that other 40%, or 45%, or, in 2004, other 53% of Alberta voters don't exist.

            I do believe that provincial Tories are pretty worried about the threat from the right: the Alberta Alliance. They got about 10% of the vote, and one MLA--but that riding is one that used to be a completely safe Tory seat. They could move to the right to make the Reform/Alliance supporters happier with them, but that would no doubt lead to the alienation of some other Albertans.

            If the Liberals should ever win in Alberta, I expect it will be because the Tories and the AA have split the conservative vote, at a time when the Liberals have their act together.

            And don't forget the Green Party. They haven't elected an MP or an MLA in Alberta yet, but there is a lot of support in some ridings. I know people who support the Greens now, who previously voted NDP, Liberal, or Conservative.

            I'm not holding my breath about Alberta politics, either, but I can tell you that a lot of us are seeing  changes underway in Alberta. And I am very much aware of that 40% or 50% or 53% of the electorate who doesn't vote Conservative.

            Do you know Americans who live outside the U.S.? Tell them to register to vote! -- www.votefromabroad.org.

            by True North on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:42:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Alberta - labour shortage (6+ / 0-)

    Alberta is the Canadian province with the vast majority of our oil, and the oil sands.

    They're already in the midst of a labour shortage, which is driving up wages, prices, inflation etc etc.

    The govt and industry are straining to keep up with demand for housing, schooling, sewers, roads etc - especially in the oil rich areas where the engineers are most needed.  But even Calgary is undergoing significant growing pains.  

    But yeah, unless some genius manages to find an awesomely cheap and easy way to separate sand from tar and make sweet crude out of it, this will always be a less than ideal energy source.

    This comment was screened and authorized by Kos. All hail the King of the Blogosphere.

    by Scientician on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:03:15 AM PDT

  •  You make the case forcefully... (0+ / 0-)

    But I must ask, was there ever anyone who ever did think of the oil sands as a panacea to the problem?  (Or, should I say intersecting problems of limited resources, ever-increasing gluttonly, and a concomitant refusal to face the objective facts?)

    Cheers:)

    Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

    by wgard on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:03:39 AM PDT

    •  Those looking for easy fixes? (11+ / 0-)

      The "I make my own reality" crowd?

      The fact that Canada's reserves are now being counted in the oil rankings is a very recent development, strangely simultaneous with the emergence of peak oil as a theme discussed in public, so yes, I think some people are hoping that oil sands will be the "market based" solution for some (in power) that will avoid doing anything about our energy (non) policies

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:20:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A definitely correct observation, IMHO. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris, splashy, FrankFrink

        Should I say, touche'?  Whatever, you are spot on, as usual.  Keep the thoughts coming, compadre.  There is hope yet that the voices of reason will trumph the voices of Shell and Halliburton and Bush... in fact, the conclusion that it will happen is inevitable, if you look at the logic of possible outcomes.  Time, however, is of essence, I think.  You are doing your part, and more.  Now, if only the rest of us can muster to do ours?

        Keep up the good fight, Jerome.  You have fellow believers, allies.  Aside from that, the stakes are simply too great to allow anything less than victory.  Cheers:)

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:44:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My dad the wingnut waxed poetic (4+ / 0-)

        about the oilsands several years ago. He said that they were going to solve all our problems, and that there was nothing to worry about. He talked about the huge trucks they use, etc. He must have read an article in the WSJ or something.

        I had no comeback at the time, having never heard of the oilsands.

        So, the Koolaid drinkers like my dad definitely see the oilsands as the ace up our sleeves, and talk it up big time.

        •  Big mining trucks (4+ / 0-)

          have no tyres to run on because of supply constraints... This is a very real limitation for a number of metals: there are no tyres available for the next 2 years!

          We're bumping against physical constraints all over the place.

          In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
          Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

          by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:18:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

            everybody want Ralph out badly!

          •  More then just tyre problems... (5+ / 0-)

            My dad works in the field. And the 320ton and 400ton trucks have more problems then just their tyres. The whole reason for the move from belt transport to trucks was that they were more reliable and should one truck break down, the entire operation doesn't come to a halt. However, the oil companies seem to have forgotten this, going after the biggest and baddest trucks around.

            Two problems that are immediately evident, first these big trucks are having massive reliability and longevity problems. This wouldn't be a major concern except that you can't just go and buy a "pick up truck" off the dealership lot.

            That's becaus prices for all minerals have gone through the roof. My cousin is an engineer for a mine in Wabush (Newfoundland & Labrador) and they're also desparatley trying to acquire as many trucks as possible. Now, there's a 18-24 month backlog for dump trucks worldwide I believe.

        •  Same here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          means are the ends

          My dad has exactly the same attitude towards the oil sands.  He also says the oil won't run out, and that they were talking about peak oil in the 70s and it never happened (apparently to him this means that, if "they" were wrong once, in the future they will always be wrong).  I suspect he's confusing peak US oil production with peak world oil production, since US oil production did in fact peak in the late 70s/early 80s.  

          There is no getting through to him, he believes in the oil sands with a religious ferver.  I think it is just too painful for him to contemplate a post oil peak future, so instead he denies it.  Americans are very good at this - refusing to believe "inconvenient truths".  

          My dad will be dead before the world oil peak hits, so he'll die a true believer.  Maybe that's what it will take for us to find a solution to the fossil fuel problem - all of the old generation that grew up with abundant oil will have to die off before real change can be realized.

          "I'm no booster of the Horse - I got off that pony a long time ago." ~ Stephen Colbert

          by Subterranean on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 01:44:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Peak 'Cheap Oil' is definetly upon us. (4+ / 0-)

        With the market price of Saudi light parked above $70/bbl it's a whole new unpredictable world from the standpoint of extracting lower quality hydrocarbons, alternate energy sources and conservation.

        IMHO we are currently pursuing the worst of all possible ways to access energy by haivng the bulk of the US Amry and Marine corp fighting an endless war/occupation in Iraq.

        I wonder how mnany US soldiers would rather be geting $100,000+/year to work in Albeta vs. $25,000 /year to patrol Iraq?

    •  Oh, yeah, they exist. (4+ / 0-)

      Go over to Redstate; they occasionally have an article about energy, and in between the "drilling the caribou will solve all our problems" comments you find a few "and Canada's oil sands will solve all our problems TOO!" ones. Plus a lot of "those darned liberals won't let us drill all the oil, have them killed," but you knew about that one.

      •  Hahaha... (4+ / 0-)

        I am not so brave as all you other souls... would never go to Redstate, as I try and hold down what I eat!  But I understand what you are saying.

        As an aside, having lived in northern Alaska, and enjoying a bit of caribou now and again (being the carnivore that I am), I find this amusing: "drilling the caribou will solve all our problems."

        Damned little oil in a caribou!:)

        Only having a bit of fun, for I know full well what you mean, and concur with your thoughts, completely.
        Cheers:)

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:53:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When Push Comes to Shove (3+ / 0-)

    Wasn't it the Canadian PM who said that if oil began to run out, it would be Canada first and the US could do without?  I think every oil producing country will be the same way.  Talk about oil wars!

    •  Our entire military runs on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, snacksandpop

      fossil fuels.  What do you think we'll be able to do about that situation if it comes to pass?

      Please note that I don't necessarily find this to be a negative.  I don't like our nation's recent aggression.

      However, we do need some provisions for defense.  In fact, I would suggest that the reorientation of our military forces (and a substantial portion of our domestic transportation needs) to a fossil-free energy source is Job One for having a functioning economy and national defense.

      "You menace others with your deadly fangs
      But in tormenting them, you are only torturing yourselves."

      Milarepa

      by Scarpia on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:13:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fuel (0+ / 0-)

        Hitler's German Army ran out of fuel.  They had a new jet fighter that would have made a huge difference in the war, but they didn't have sufficient fuel to fly them so the jets were scrapped.

      •  Military vs. Civilian (0+ / 0-)

        Between domestic production and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, we can probably keep our military supplied with fuel.   The civilian economy uses so much more oil. In that case, the military comes first and the civilian economy gets the rest. The question then is, how does the federal govenment pay the bills with an economy crippled by fuel shortages?

    •  NAFTA (6+ / 0-)

      forbids such discrimination.  And Canada honours the treaties it signs.

      Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.--Thomas Paine

      by peterborocanuck on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:14:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wind off topic (3+ / 0-)

    Jerome, as long as you're here,

    Is there any particular challenge, as far as you know, to siting a turbine farm in a really cold environment such as eastern Montana, North Dakota, or even northern Alberta? Or is winter temperature a non-issue?

    Thanks.

    •  Icing on the blades (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, count, kd texan, snacksandpop

      is an issue, but one that can be solved, AFAIK.

      Maintenance (i.e. access) in cold places might be an issue for costs, but it should not be an overwhelming one.

      I must admit that I have no idea if wind regimes are any better or worse in cold climates, but I know there are windfarms in Scandinavia, so it should be okay.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:00:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's extra equipment required (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        count

        Like other rotating equipment with forced lubrication of the bearings, the oil system has to be heated and purged.  This is mostly required for shutdown periods.

    •  I can jump on this (3+ / 0-)

      There are already many wind turbines in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. There is no great problem operating them there. If you get to actual arctic conditions, I'm sure there would be some higher design requirements, mostly related to the viscosity of bearing lubricants and possible prop icing remedies.

      Bear in mind that Minnesota boasts the coldest recorded temperature in the continental US for 2005 (Montana holds the all-time continental US cold temp of 70 on Jan 20, 1954. We must remember, however, that that was at an elevation of 5,470 ft. Minnesota's record low of 60 on Feb 2, 1996 was at 1,430 ft. I remember that winter. We had to put blankets on our LP gas tank. LP gas stays liquid at -40, causing your heat to shut down):

      Q: What was the coldest temperature recorded in the USA in 2005?

      A: So far this year, the coldest temperature was –62°, which was recorded in Chandalar Lake, Alaska, on Jan. 11. Chandalar Lake is near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. In the contiguous USA, the coldest temperature was –54°, recorded in the small northeastern Minnesota town of Embarrass on Jan. 17.

      We're pretty proud of our harsh climate here.

      Q: What are the coldest cities in the USA?

      A: The coldest major city in the USA is Minneapolis, which has an annual average temperature of 45.2 F. However, several other smaller cities are much colder, including Fairbanks, Alaska (26.7 F), Anchorage (36.2 F), International Falls, Minn. (37.4 F), Duluth, Minn., (39.1 F), and Caribou, Maine (39.2 F). In Fairbanks, for example, the average daily high temperature in January is -0.3ºF.

      From USAToday

      Mind you, last winter I think I only wore gloves twice. We had only one strong cold snap. The last several winter have been milder than I am used to.

      I like the cold, and if our climate is going to become like Illinois, I'll have to move to Alaska or Canada...

      •  Oops! (0+ / 0-)

        Sorry for the strikethrough! I didn't realize my "minus" temp signs would do that and I hit "post" before I really previewed! That'll teach me!

      •  When I want info on extreme-low-temp. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        evilpenguin
        lubricants, I head to Icebike.

        The best way to predict the future is to invent it. -Alan Kay

        by nu on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:01:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I worked around Duluth a couple of years (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        evilpenguin

        And we were told that it could frost or snow any day of the year. Very pretty, though. I enjoyed the area

        •  I too love Duluth (0+ / 0-)

          Duluth is a beautiful city and the only word for the feeling I get when I behold Lake Superior is "numinous."

          It is my hope to retire up there, or somewhere along the north shore (in a solar heated, solar powered home, of course -- I think fossil fuel heat will be quite scarce by the time I retire). Intellectually I don't believe in any of what I'm about to say, but in my "heart" (for lack of a better term) it is all true nonetheless. I feel that a person's spirit belongs in certain places and when you see those places, you know it. Mine belongs in the north woods of Minnesota. My reason thinks that's all utter crap, but I know it is so nonetheless.

          I've seen some of the world (not much, but some), and while there is beauty all over the world, nothing beats the Duluth harbor (the farthest inland seaport in the world), the pine woods of the arrowhead (which are endangered by global warming), and the rocky shore of the Split Rock Lighthouse.

          I am completely in love with that place. It haunts my dreams.

    •  northern wind (0+ / 0-)

      Wind turbines in the far north have some unique issues.  Two that come to mind are ice on the blades, and hydraulic systems freezing.  

      •  A corollary to the ice problem (0+ / 0-)

        From what I've read, turbines in cold climates "throw" ice off the blades after a melt. (This seems obvious I guess).  So you have to build the turbines further away from people, then otherwise, to avoid nasty accidents.  I believe this was an issue for VT wind farm where turbines were to be placed close to a ski resort.

        "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

        by tmendoza on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:05:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Alberta oilsands royalty rates (6+ / 0-)

    An Edmonton Journal editorial questions the net calculations for oil royalties paid to Albertans because traditionally royalties are calculated on a gross basis.

    "Time for Review of Royalty Rates"
    points out that:

    "Royalties on conventional oil are taken from whatever a barrel of oil sells for -- the gross price with no deductions.

    But in the oilsands the net price is used: the royalty is 25 per cent of what's left after the costs of production -- currently estimated by industry at $56 a barrel -- are deducted."

    http://www.canada.com/...

  •  No problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    means are the ends

    Not long ago, most projects were viable at prices of $25-$35 a barrel. Now, says Doug Leggate, analyst at Citigroup in New York, "a lot of oilsands projects don't look particularly compelling if you look below $50". A growing list of companies are now coming to the same conclusion.

    according to what you where saying two days ago

    Countdown to $100 oil (27) - 'Mission Accomplished' - High oil prices are here to stay
    by Jerome a Paris [Subscribe]
    Sat Jul 08, 2006 at 12:41:12 PM PDT
    Oil hit $75 per barrel again this week

    Are you now shorting oil sands stocks or trying to induce a bargain sale?

  •  Shhh (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJB, starm, means are the ends

    I feel like if we talk about this Bushco will want to invade Canada...

    Anyway, interesting and good diary.

    •  I worry about that when I imagine a move (5+ / 0-)

      to Canada.

      Soon they'll have a better climate, more oil, national health care, and a government of laws, while we have.....lots of weapons and a big military.  Sigh. Guess I'd have to move further away.

      •  I've thought about that too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, snacksandpop

        But you know what? I don't think we'd be safe moving any where. It's just like with Hitler, you can compromise and just give up a little bit of land thinking America won't want any more. But, then, America will just slowly move around the world. Just like Hitler did after acquiring the Sudetenland.

        My thoughts: we're all fucked and the world is going to end in 2012 just like the Mayan Calendar said. OR it's not and we can (more like we'd have to) move to the North Pole and hope that Global Warming warms it up just enough to make the temp. livable but not enough to burn us to death.

    •  yea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankFrink

      That's we/I thought when we were all planing this Alberta at the Smithsonian thing. But as it turned out many of the events became Albertan talking to Albertans in Washington.  Ralphie had a meeting with meeting with Darth. I was walking back to the hotel when "wee wa wee wa!" a policeman yelled at me to hurry up and cross the street cause Darth was coming.  I thought the headline were going to read "Very short little TexMex found flattened after entourage of Cheney passed". I didn't want that do I ran!

  •  Destroys the landscape (4+ / 0-)

    Not to mention that digging up the oil sands means totally destroying the landscape the oil sands are under. At least, that was the impression I got from a recent TV story on oil sands.

    I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

    by lesliet on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:52:08 AM PDT

  •  Gas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, snacksandpop

    I think the labor supply issue will be resolved - or at least it is not intractable.  The main problem with oil sands is the massive amount of water and natural gas needed to produce usable end product.  Using natural gas in this way is inefficient - much less efficient than just burning the natural gas as a fuel source.  The US natural gas production has peaked and Canada is currently filling the US shortfall.  The natural gas supply is of course finite, so ramping up or simply continuing the tar sands will mean problems for Canadian and US supply.
    Also- the "peak curve" for natural gas is much "nastier" for natural gas - there is a much sharper fall off versus the relative gradual decline for oil.

    The answer here is, as Jerome said, is to use less and diversify our energy sources.  Unfortunately that thinking has not really entered the political or social discourse.  Yet.

  •  WSJ Front Page Heavy Oil article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snacksandpop

    Jerome,

    Could you comment on the WSJ front page article that talks about the heavy oil the Saudis seem to think is now recoverable?

    The article specifically mentions peak oil and that this amount of oil may impact the calculations previously put forth by advocates.

    Here's the article - you will need WSJ access to see it, or the paper itself, I suppose.

    9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

    by Prof Dave on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 07:55:59 AM PDT

  •  Steep environmental costs (5+ / 0-)

    I have only a cursory knowledge of how tar sands are extracted and processed, but I think strip mining for oil is a pretty good way to describe it. The deposits are often close enough to the surface that they are accessed through open pit mining. That's ugly, but possibly even uglier is the steam injection process used to extract tar sand from deeper locations. 2 tons of tar sands have to be processed to yield one barrel of oil. The sand can be returned to the mine, but what happens to the thousands of gallons of adulterated water? There are dozens of object lesson to be found in mining locales like Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana and Colorado if one wants to see what can possibly go wrong.

    Also worth noting: the viscosity of tar sands is so high that lighter hydrocarbons have to be mixed into it in order to make it transportable by pipeline (which is the only practical method to transport it from remote locations). I.e.: To make use of the tar sands requires more oil. Personally, I think it's past time that we got off of this treadmill.

    •  The transporting oil (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snacksandpop

      can be sent to the tar fields and it will get returned mixed with the tar patch fuel.

      You just need to pay the pumping costs from a conventional Canadian oil field to the tar sands field.

      •  At what additional energy cost? (3+ / 0-)

        The thing that always gets me about this stuff is that everybody acts like this is simply an economic problem.

        Problem is, nature's own economy -- energy -- has some very real and inflexible numbers. With every additional bit of energy-requiring effort put into getting this stuff out of the sand, the net energy gain drops. That's not just about profit -- there's a point at which it doesn't matter what the price is anymore, because there's an absolute number to how much energy you can get out of a given amount of oil.

        Now, I don't know what the balance is there, how much oil could be gotten out at a reasonable efficiency. But I do know that I read a lot of commentary where the entire point seems to be based on whether it is economically feasible to use sand from here or there and at what price new fields open up. What hardly anybody ever seems to talk about is the energy balance -- at what point are you putting as many joules into extracting the oil as you get out of the oil as it combusts? And that's not something we can work around easily, BTW -- these are pretty hard and fast numbers, for the most part, not things we can fiddle with on paper to make it better the way we do with our human economy.

        •  There's a reason they don't consider it. (0+ / 0-)

          Basically, due to the use of energy in virtually every facet of the economy, it's impossible to have a net energy loss and a net profit gain.  That is, assuming a free market.  Sufficient government subsidies can cause possibly induce such a thing.

          What hardly anybody ever seems to talk about is the energy balance -- at what point are you putting as many joules into extracting the oil as you get out of the oil as it combusts?

          It would be uneconomical long before it was energy negative.  Currently, I believe the figure thrown about is the oil is $56 a barrel to produce.

  •  We're waiting for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MissInformation, North Central

    television to magically disappear so people will spend some time each day thinking about some of the problems we are facing.  Oh, look... Regis!

    A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

    by Paper Cup on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:11:11 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris, vansterdam

      Distractions like TV (most programming, anyway) are a major obstacle to solving our nation's problems.  Your comment reminds me of a book I've been wanting to read.  It's old, but I hear it's powerful and prophetic.
      It's called AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH

      By the way, I got a kick out of your signature line. :-)  I guess I relate. :-(

    •  Unthinking About the Thinkable (0+ / 0-)

      People who don't think about Big Issues today wouldn't think about Big Issues anyway, even if you took away all of their toys, and left them sitting in a darkened, empty room. The rest of us somehow manage to do more than one thing in any given day, where said list of things often includes television.

      Besides, on a purely practical level, any actual plan or framework for action which ignores the very real existence of The Power of Stupidity is doomed to failure; and there are few better ways to understand The Power of Stupidity than watching Regis.

    •  Bread and Circuses (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MarketTrustee

      You need both to distract the citizenry. No amount of TV and celebrity gossip will distract people from the $3.25/gallon staring them in the face.

  •  The real cost (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, MarketTrustee

    I recommend that you read this article about the real cost of tar sands oil.

  •  Listen to this... (0+ / 0-)

    If you ran your own oil company, and the only thing you cared about was billions and billions in profit a year, namely cheap Saudi oil. And had an almost "limitless" source of this quick profit resource. Would you push other initiatives that would save money to your consumers and drive this cheap way of turning big bucks away.

    The moral of the story is:

    • Corporations don't have to care about the collect good of the people, if this was the case Tobacco would be freakin illegal, cause it has killed more people than any other microbe in the history of human kind.
    • Government on the other hand is suppose to be nice and protect the interests of us, THE PEOPLE, but then there was Lobbyists and Special Interest Groups, that BUY our supposedly uncorruptible government and make it lie to us, THE PEOPLE, for what they consider a bargain price.

    DEMOCRACY = NO

    NEO-CON CAPITALISM AT ITS BEST: YES

  •  Energy is Not Scarce (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ari Mistral

    I wrote about this last week.  See this diary.

    The amount of solar energy sriking the earth is 10,000 times the total energy usage on the planet.  While I certainly do not suggest wasting energy I am most certainly stating that the statement that the statement "The only solution to our energy crisis is on the demand side" is categorically false.  The solution is a technological one and, in fact, one which is being worked on. See my referenced diary.

    Screw oil.  We will not need it in the long run.  Think solar, high tech betteries and maybe hydrogen and read my diary.

    •  Great! (0+ / 0-)

      Humongous opportunities to make several fortunes providing for our insatiable thrist for energy await you, then.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:41:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        I miss your point.  You said energy was scarce.  I pointed out that it was not.  You reply that "Humongous opportunities to make several fortunes providing for our insatiable thrist for energy await you."  

        While I most certainly appreciate your interest in my financial well being you totally avoided my point.  Energy is not scarce.  The fact that oil companies are currently making gigantic profits indicates that the economic incentive to produce energy is not lacking.

        I am a physicist by education.  Energy is defined as "the ability to do work."  With a plentious supply of energy and nanotechnology we may well be able to produce most anything without activities such as mining and oil drilling.

    •  Thank You, Finally Someone With A Clue (0+ / 0-)

      I still remember the last US president with anything resembling a clue, Jimmy Carter.  My dad put solar panels on the roof, got a tax credit, and didn't spend a dime on gas to heat water for a family of seven for the next 25 years.  Since the concept of principled energy policy has fallen from favor, there's no market for or knowledge of how to maintain the system components now, the trades are all too busy installing whirpool tubs, 50 gallon water heaters, and 30 amp clothes dryers in suburban aristocrat mc-mansions.

      Whanever I fly into any major city, I look out on all the paving and roofing we take for granted and wonder why this exposure is wasted.  Photovoltaics be damned if they're too inefficient.  Lost in the fog of the Iraq war and the pathological incompetence of our current administration are some real (and most likely, seriously underfunded) research projects such as the Sandia National Labratory Solar Thermal Test Facility

      As troublesome and expensive as producing hydrogen from solar may be, it's the future regardless of how much kicking and screaming we do as we're being dragged forward.  The product is storable, transportable, renewable, plentiful, and environmentally clean whether it's burned or used in fuel cells.

      •  Fallen from Favor? (0+ / 0-)

        I think that what happened after the 1973 (I think it was 1973) Arab Oil Boycott is that the darn price of oil went so far down that we stopped caring about alternatives.  In short, it was about the economics of energy.

        The dynamics are different now.  With less expensive solar and more expensive oil driven by demand maybe we can finally get off the stuff.

        I believe that we will see more effecient, less expensive PV and a significant perhaps massive proliferation of solar.  The economics are all in its favor. As I said in my original post the supply is gigantic.

  •  The 50 dollar number (0+ / 0-)

    Interesting you mentioned that, one analyst cited $50 as his near term projection for the cost of crude. Certainly a recession would slow demand, we seem to be heading that way, and the Saudis can pump sour, or they can just take less money for their oil, in order to keep the cost low, and discourage alternate supplies. When the central banks withdrew global liquidity last month most of the commodites fell hard, but oil did not.
    I imagine the oil sand project will more difficult to start and stop in a reasonable time frame in order to match output to market conditions. If oil goes to 49 and it costs 50 to derive oil from this method, then they are losing money. One thing they might do is store the oil they produce if it is unprofitable for certain periods of time, which could really play havoc with builds. The political fallout exists as well.
    i see this oil sand thing as a real boondoggle.

    "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

    by agent double o soul on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:38:36 AM PDT

  •  Only the Demand Side, huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MJB, North Central

    Anytime someone says an economic problem is only on the demand side or only on the supply side, you know for sure that person is only telling half the story.  Of course, tremendous energy savings can be made on the demand side.  We need much more efficient cars.  We need more public transport. Etc.

    But we also need solutions on the supply side.  Americans are going to continue to drive cars in enormous (and increasing) numbers.  Not to mention two billion Chinese and Indians.  We need new forms of energy for the transporation sector:  cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen or something.

    If we continue to rely on oil, we will ruin the planet.  But we also can't delude ourselves into thinking that if we all bought hyrbrids, everything would be ok.

    "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

    by tmendoza on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 08:55:16 AM PDT

    •  You are absolutely correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ari Mistral

      We are deluding ourselves if we think that the "demand" side can be solved if only Americans will drive their cars less.

      The Chinese and Indian demands for petroleum are going to skyrocket in the next 10-20 years.  And the typical car on the street in Shanghai or New Delhi is not going to be a brand-new hybrid.  It's going to be a smog-coughing, gas-eating thing, using technology that is several years behind the cutting edge.

      Further, the Chinese and Indian governments will likely look suspiciously at any U.S. or European push to limit Asian petroleum consumption or force more expensive hybrid or electric technology on them.  They will demagogue the issue and portray it as a U.S./European attempt to stifle Asian economic growth.

      We can definitely make things better for Americans by slashing our dependence on petroleum.  But we cannot by ourselves solve the worldwide demand issues.  Not even close.

    •  The major problem being (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Plan9, esquimaux

      that cellulosic ethanol or large-scale hydrogen production don't exist now and may never.

    •  Don't Agree (0+ / 0-)

      I would recommend that you read Winning the Oil Endgame by Amory Lovins.  If we all got 35 mpg, we would not even need to import crude oil.  

      •  Hard to believe that (0+ / 0-)

        In 20 years the Saudis are going to have some obscene pertange of global oil, as fields elsewhere dry up.

        But thats beside the point.  If every car on the planet got 35 mpg, we will continue to use more and more oil, as more and more cars come into use.  The number of cars on the planet is going to double over the next half-century, so even if we double efficiency we haven't got anywhere vis-a-vis climate change.

        I wouldn't argue that efficiency is not half of the problem.  It is.  But we need to work on the other half also.

        "Rick Santorum is Latin for Asshole."

        by tmendoza on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is that (3+ / 0-)

      we're currently trying supply side "solutions" for the most part, and never demand side solutions. All I'm saying is that it might be smart to start looking at the demand side, something sorely lacking for now.

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 10:13:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can't Grow Forever (0+ / 0-)

      I happened across a website which studied the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. They were fed on deforestation and cropping those cut-down forests with grain.

      The rise in ceramics, bronze and iron working supported their civilizations technologically, but also led to their territorial growth. When the forests ran out, and the ever-expanding distances for charcoal imports became impractical, the civilization's wealth diminished rapidly.

      I don't believe that technology will replace energy. It is energy which is the pillar of technology. They are not interchangeable Even if the holy grail of fusion energy materializes, we're yet facing an ever-inceasing population (demand).

      Demand for food, wood, cement, metals, living space, roads, water, clothing, etc.

      Peak oil is really a liquid-fuel crises, but the true crises in liquid fuels is overpopulation. Never before has humanity voluntarily reduced its population. Love and sex and family are so strong -- so basic to our lives, that we're likely going to continue to grow until we starve ourselves.

  •  Other Problems with Oil Sands (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink, MarketTrustee

    Include the incredible amount of sulfur and other metals that must be removed in order to have useful output.  If you'd like to see what a production facility actually looks like, check out slides 11 and 12 ofthis link.  The 100 foot high piles on slide 11 are extracted sulfur.

  •  But let's say they became American oil sands..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Ari Mistral

    just thinking out loud.  And looking north.  Across an unguarded border.  At a country that probably has WMD.

  •  Cheap Labor... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Canadian Reader, Jerome a Paris

    The association hopes to ease the labour shortage with looser visa rules for temporary workers and more apprenticeship programmes. In the meantime, says Greg Stringham, a vice-president of CAPP , the shortage "is acting as a natural governor on the pace of development".

    This shit just cracks me up!

    How come corporations are afraid to let the free market work for labour?

    If there is a labour shortage, wouldn't pay increase draw more labour?

    That is just lunacy! Labour getting freemarket treatment. We need to bring in some cheap migrant labor that we can hold over a barrel. That's what we need to do.

    Fucking scumbags.

    Rest assured that Canada's respect for the rights of their citizens to live as exemplified in their living wage standards is going to be put on trial very soon.

    You will hear Lou Dobbs, crying about how the Canadian government is hurting America by artificially keeping the wage high in Canada.

    I hope the Europeans and Canadians are able to hold the cheap labor lobby at bay and keep protecting their people. If they lose those basic protections, we are all lost.

    Ignore the base, hide our values, and chase the swing voter and we not only lose, but we fall farther behind.

    by k9disc on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 09:58:15 AM PDT

  •  i was not amused by (0+ / 0-)

    schweitzer's annual pitch.
    2006:Carbon Sequestration and Coal Gasification in the Energy Future

    2005:Montana's Black Gold

    or the short shrift given to scientific facts and business assumptions supporting cost/benefit analyses of extracting fuel from marginal stocks.

    there are no coincidences, where business opportunity and public policy meet in public.

    as early as 2002, alberta's politicians and industrialists jockied to unravel canada's obligations to the kyoto protocol. more recently, following conservative installation in parliament, former MP Rona Ambrose of alberta and current minister of the environment, demanded a "total rethink" of canada's obligation to the treaty to "allow Canada more flexibility in meeting emissions targets."

    more important to the economic equation in which marginal product is identified with political interests AND actual GHG reduction is ambrose's election as president of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), a working group of  IPCC, itself a "consultative" body to kyoto protocl enforcement and administration.

    she shares climate change formulary honors with Jonathan Lash jonathan lash and Jonathan Pershing jonathan pershing, both of which have been US delegates to undermining kyoto protocol AND instrumental in establishing an independent, US-based, cap-free emissions trading platform,   as well as the "regional greenhouse gas initiave" market in the NE corridor.

    see: when you know the facts will not bear dollar scrutiny, the next best thing is to structural improvement is always financial speculation marked by hope.

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by MarketTrustee on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:22:10 AM PDT

  •  Besides, China will be getting most of it n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 11:51:24 AM PDT

  •  Venezuelan heavy oils vs. Canadian tar sands (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarketTrustee

    The heavy oil deposits along the Orinoco River in Venezuela have the largest unconventional oil resereves.

    Are they cheaper to exploit than the Canadian tar sands?

    I have read somewhere that they are viable with a barrel of oil as low as $30.

    No wonder Hugo Chavez has a permanent smile.

    Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:20:19 PM PDT

    •  Here is some research on the Orinoco deposits (0+ / 0-)

      Here it says;

      Despite the environmental issues, and if the author's evaluations are directionally correct, by 2030-2040 the bitumen and extra heavy oil resources should have generated reserves more or less compensating for the oil consumption which has taken place between the early days of the oil industry and the present.

      Here  it states;

      Heavy oils, which can be pumped and refined just like conventional petroleum except that they are thicker and have more sulfur and heavy metal contamination, necessitating more extensive refining. Venezuela's Orinoco heavy oil belt is the best known example of this kind of unconventional reserve. Estimated reserves: 1.2 trillion barrels.

      The Chinese are making a move;  

      CNPC, China's largest oil company, has licences to explore Venezuela's Orinoco oil belt – a potentially vast, untapped source of crude. Chinese companies are able to exploit the Caracoles and Intercampo Norte oilfields, and have options on others. And China is building a plant to process Orimulsión, a heavy tar fuel used in its factories.

      Venezuela and Colombia may build oil pipeline to Pacific to supply China

      The Axis of Oil: China and Venezuela

      Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

      by Shockwave on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:34:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Alberta Oil Sands -- NO Hidden Security Costs (0+ / 0-)

    If you look at the speech of Milton Copulos given before the Senate Foreign
    Relations Committee this March,

    http://www.senate.gov/...

    the hidden security cost of oil from the Middle East is $825 Billion a year.  Clearly the Alberta Oil Sands are more than competitive when these hidden costs are considered.  

    The US should do everything in its power to deter Kinder Morgan and Enbridge from constructing pipilines over the Canadian Rockies to ship this oil to the West Coast of Canada so that it can be loaded on tankers bound for China and Japan.

    Almost every oil executive is now admitting that there is no way that world oil supply will grow fast enough to keep up with projected demand.  An interruption of the oil supply (e.g. a successful attack on Saudia Arabian oil refineries) would cost the US in excess of $5 Trillion (see Copulos testimony).  

    The Alberta Oil Sands could very well be a necessary but not sufficient part of the solution to our dependence on oil imported from outside North America.  Plug-In Hydbrid battery development is another.    

  •  All true but no Middle East Oil (0+ / 0-)

    We could cut all ties because imported Middle East oil is around 2-3 Million BBls a day. How many lives would that save? Wouldn't that be worth it even if costs stay the same?

    Diebold, the hand of God
    Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
    The Image Factory

    by Dburn on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:31:17 PM PDT

    •  US secures Middle East Oil for World (0+ / 0-)

      The price of oil is set by the worldwide supply and demand.  So our presence in the Middle East, although hardly effective, is meant to ensure the supply from Saudia Arabia in particular.  Remember where all the US troops were stationed after the first Gulf War?  And how it spawned Al Qaeda?  

      In any case, the US uses 21 million barrels of oil a day of which around 12 million barrels is imported.  Thus, even though only 2-3 million barrels of oil a day come from the Middle East, eliminating that would not make a dent in the the World dependency on the Middle East as a the primary source of oil.

  •  Some Oil Sands News (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarketTrustee

    Alberta oilsands losing some lustre? Some of the sparkle appears to be coming off what has been the jewel of Canada's energy sector, as the northern Alberta oilsands face runaway costs, unbridled development and mounting environmental concerns. Canadian Press. 10 July 2006.

    The price of prosperity. Alberta's oilsands are a vast source of wealth, a geological inheritance of incredible value, but they are also an environmental nightmare. Halifax Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia. 9 July 2006.

    Alberta premier spurns Al Gore's criticisms of oil sands. The premier of oil-rich Alberta scorned former US presidential candidate Al Gore over his scathing sketch of its massive oil sands industry as wasteful and a blight on Canada, said reports Wednesday. Agence France-Presse. 6 July 2006.

    Canada greens fight c$7 billion Suncor Oilsands project. Environmentalists want a C$7 billion (US$6.3 billion) expansion of Suncor Energy Inc.'s Alberta oil sands operations stopped, and are asking regulators to either block the project or impose tight conditions on the company. Reuters. 6 July 2006.

    Canada taps tough-to-obtain oil. Oil sands development is both more difficult and labor intensive than conventional oil drilling. A portion of the oil is recovered through strip mining; deposits deeper than about 200 feet are lifted to the surface by injecting steam under high pressure to liquefy them. USA Today. 5 July 2006.

    Energy bill bad for Colorado. Western Colorado shouldn't have to sacrifice its environment and recreation-dependent economy to oil shale production. Aspen Times, Colorado. Editorial, 5 July 2006.

    Synenco seeks OK for C$1.7 billion oil sands mine. Synenco Energy Inc said Thursday it has asked Canadian regulators to approve the mining portion of the C$5.3 billion Northern Lights oil sands project the firm is building with Chinese partner Sinopec Corp. Reuters. 30 June 2006.

    Klein to Cheney: Visit to oil sands could help with U.S. voters. It would be "politically wise" for Vice-President Dick Cheney to visit Alberta's oil sands this fall and show U.S. voters all the benefits of economic spinoffs and a secure energy supply, said Premier Ralph Klein. Canadian Press. 29 June 2006.

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:36:24 PM PDT

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