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Hypothetically speaking, of course. In 2007, the oil sands used around 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. In 2007, about one million barrels per day of tar sands is produced in Alberta. If oil production reaches 6 million barrels a day, thats 6 billion cubic feet of nat gas a day.

2.16 trillion cubic feet of nat gas a year. Once I did these calculations (assuming I didnt blow the math involved), I wondered just how much nat gas is in the Great White North.

According to the 2010 US Geologic Survey there are 27 billion barrels of oil and 114.36 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the NPRA.

Canada has 57.9 tcf according to a paper written by Micheal J. Economides and David Wood in 2008, but claim Canadas natural gas production has already peaked @ 18 bcf. I seem to remember reading about larger proven reserve estimates, in the area of 70 tcf. These reserve estimates do not include Shale and Coalbed Methane reserves which range in the 400 tcf to 700 tcf area. But fracking the western half of Canada doesnt seem viable especially at depths of 2 miles or more where recovery is far more difficult, and the required investment much higher.

I think we're looking at about 185 trillion cubic feet of natural gas between Alaska and Canada. If the Tar Sands uses nat gas at an annual rate of 2.16 tcf, then Alaska and Canada have enough to last about 85 years, at which point the Tar Sands should be depleted.

Now realistically these numbers I am throwing out are back of the envelope, and recovery techniques will undoubtedly improve over time. But even the Wiki article on the Tar Sands suggests that Canada would limit or halt nat gas exports to the US in favor of tar sands production.

What would the big man Al Gore say?

Over 200,000 people have signed the petition telling President Obama to stop the Keystone pipeline. If you haven't done so yet, please sign the petition to stop the Keystone pipeline.

11:29 AM PT: Companion diaries:

EPA: Tar Sands-82% more GHG than conventional oil.

Alberta Tar Sands: Canada missing its Kyoto targets

Tar Sands alternative, Light crude from Alaska, instead of dirty low quality oil

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