A Crash Program Scenario for the Canadian Oil Sands Industry

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Publication date: 2007-03-01
First Published in Energy Policy
Authors: B. Soderbergh et al


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 global 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 Canada’s oil sands. The objective of this article is to investigate and analyze 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 today’s dependence on natural gas. It is possible to use bitumen as fuel and for upgrading, although it seems to be incompatible with Canada’s 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, Canada’s 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.

Published in: Energy Policy, Volume 35, Issue 3, March 2007, Pages 1931-1947
Available from: ScienceDirect

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