Fredrik Robelius

Canada’s oil sand will not prevent Peak Oil

in Peak Oil by

Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group, Uppsala University, Sweden, has made a study of a crash program scenario for the Canadian Oil Sand Industry. Even in a very optimistic scenario, Canada’s oil sands will not prevent Peak Oil. If a crash program were immediately implemented, it may only barely offset the combined declining conventional crude oil production in Canada and the North Sea. The article is accepted by magazine Energy Policy. Read the full article or the abstract below.

A Crash Program Scenario for the Canadian Oil Sands Industry

Bengt Söderbergh, Fredrik Robelius and Kjell Aleklett

Abstract

The report Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation and Risk Management, by Robert L. Hirsch et al., concludes that Peak Oil is going to happen and that worldwide large-scale mitigation efforts are necessary to avoid its possible devastating effects for the world economy. These efforts include accelerated production, referred to as crash program production, from Canadas oil sands. The objective of this article is to investigate and analyse what production levels that might be reasonable to expect from a crash program for the Canadian oil sands industry, within the time frame 2006-2018 and 2006-2050. The implementation of a crash program for the Canadian oil sands industry is associated with serious difficulties. There is not a large enough supply of natural gas to support a future Canadian oil sands industry with todays dependence on natural gas. It is possible to use bitumen as fuel and for upgrading, although it seems to be incompatible with Canadas obligations under the Kyoto treaty. For practical long-term high production, Canada must construct nuclear facilities to generate energy for the in situ projects. Even in a very optimistic scenario Canadas oil sands will not prevent Peak Oil. A short-term crash program from the Canadian oil sands industry achieves about 3.6 mb/d by 2018. A long-term Crash program results in a production of approximately 5 mb/d by 2030.

Kjell Aleklett is Professor of Physics at Uppsala University in Sweden where he leads the Uppsala Global Energy Systems Group (UGES).

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