Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Another big year for Alberta tar sands

Another big year for Alberta oil sands

By QMI Agency

Last Updated: June 7, 2010

Alberta oilsands production could see another big year as the economic recovery puts global crude demand back on track.

Overall production in the region ramped up 14% in 2009 despite the widespread economic downturn, unstable crude prices and global criticism aimed at Fort McMurray operations.

In 2009, Alberta squeezed out 1.49 millionbarrels per day of raw crude bitumen from the oilsands for a total of 544 million barrels, according to the province’s Energy Resources Conservation Board.

Meanwhile, conventional oil production in Alberta fell 8.6% in 2009 from 2008.

Higher yields from already established oilsands developments, such as the ones run by Suncor, more than compensated for the significant drop in spending on oilsands from some other key players, ERCB said.

Industry capital expenditures fell by roughly $8 billion last year, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The International Energy Agency estimates global crude oil demand will increase by 2% this year.

The recovery of the world economy has resulted in world oil demand resuming its long-term growth trajectory, the IEA has said.

That’s good news for Alberta, which was sitting on an estimated 1.5 billion barrels in 2009, though access to much of it is limited until technology improves.

By 2019, overall Alberta production will reach 3.3 million barrels per day, 2.9 million barrels of which will be marketable crude bitumen or synthetic and non-upgraded bitumen, according to the ERCB.

“The ability to increase bitumen production has offset the continuing decline in conventional crude oil,” it said.

It is still too early to tell if Alberta will exceed the gains it saw in 2009, ERCB spokesperson Darin Barter said in an email to QMI Agency.


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