The chairman of ASPO Kjell Aleklett reports of a recent visit to the Canadian oil sands mining operation in Fort McMurray.
[Google Maps] – Fort McMurray
[aleklett.wordpress.com] – A visit to the heart of Canada’s oil sands industry – Fort McMurray
The road Fort McMurray to Fort McKay passes the heart of the Canadian oil sands industry.
I travelled from Fort McMurray to Fort McKay, a distance of 58 km. Along that route I passed near part of the heart of Canada’s oil sands industry including Suncore Mine, Syncrude Mine and Shell Mine.
En route impressions.
Before I arrived in Fort McMurray I had no real understanding of the size of the area from which oil sands are mined. If one draws a circle of 50 km radius then that will encompass the heart of the mining activity. A little less than I had imagined… Places where industrial activity is ongoing, especially where mining activity is occurring, are not pretty to look at. The oil sand mining along Highway 63 is a clear example of this. But they show also that it is possible to rehabilitate these areas.
Original undisturbed landscape. What an empty space!
The oil production rate is currently 1.9 million barrels per day (Mb/d). The current lower oil price makes it uncertain whether this production rate will increase. In our 2007 publication we predicted maximal possible production from the oil sands in 2015 at 3.5 Mb/d so it is clear that current production is not following our “crash programme scenario”. According to Canada’s prognoses production in 2025 will be 4.5 Mb/d, a rate that seems far from possible…. In the OSCA text on the oil sands they give Canada’s producible oil reserves as 173 billion barrels, of which the oil sands represent 168 billion. If the production rate increases to 2.7 Mb/d then sufficient oil sands exist for over 150 years of oil production.
Installed Wind capacity: 9 GW. Plan until 2025: 55 GW (20% electricity).
Hydro electricity: largest in the world.
Editor: report confirms that from an energy perspective, Canada is probably the country one needs to worry about least. Low population density, lots of hydro-power, lots of space with large wind power potential.
[youtube.com] – Fort McMurray