Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

More Firms moving into the Tarsands

This article is quite notable in that it comes from Qatar, and it is basically a Middle Eastern tip of the hat to peak oil. As the world continues to search for new sources of bitumen to make [mock] oil from the tarsands, this description of the mini rush for nation-states and companies to diversify their portfolios to include tarsands oil is yet more indication less and less people in positions to know about it believe that oil prices will drop below "economical levels" for the tarsands. That is roughly $30 barrels.


More firms moving into costly oil sands
Published: Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 10:57 AM Doha Time

LONDON: More oil firms are joining the rush to tap oil from sands in Canada’s Alberta province, a costly process that may secure future output but needs higher oil prices to make money.
Norway’s Statoil last month agreed to buy a privately held Canadian oil sands venture for nearly $2bn, following deals by the likes of France’s Total and China’s Sinopec.
The moves into oil sands offer access to oil reserves that rival those of Saudi Arabia and lie outside the volatile Middle East. But Statoil’s deal looks expensive and the rewards lie far in the future, analysts say.
“I’m slightly sceptical about large new positions in Canadian oil sands,” said Jason Kenney, oil analyst at ING in Edinburgh, who has a “hold” rating on Statoil.
“My view of the Statoil deal is it’s a huge expense for a company of that size. It will be capital intensive. Cash-flow rewards are possible but they are a long way away.”
Unlike conventional oil, oil sands are deposits of bitumen, a heavy, viscous oil that must be converted into an upgraded crude oil before refineries can use it to make gasoline and other fuels.
The rise in investment comes as companies face growing challenges in finding big sources of conventional oil. Saudi Arabia is off-limits to foreign oil investors and areas like the North Sea are in decline.
While conventional crude oil flows naturally from reservoirs or is pumped out, oil sands are mined or recovered “in situ” by injecting steam into the ground.
The separation of oil from sand uses large volumes of natural gas, contributing to emissions blamed for causing climate change. Nuclear power has been proposed as an alternative.
Statoil in April said it agreed to buy North American Oil Sands Corp, aiming to broaden its production away from ageing oilfields in the North Sea.
“We are building a large resource base in a stable region which will provide long-term growth after 2010,” Statoil chief executive Helge Lund told Reuters.
Still, rising costs and uncertainties such as oil-sands projects’ vulnerability to future efforts to curb carbon emissions could hit returns, particularly for new entrants, according to Citigroup.
Major oil companies that have shunned oil-sands projects so far can live without them, the investment bank argues.
“Should those that have missed this play redouble their efforts to access the oil sands? Not necessarily,” Citigroup said in a research note.
“The appeal of the resource base is not enough, we argue, to make this play essential to the majors.”
Among larger oil companies, ConocoPhillips has the most exposure to oil sands, which will account for 8% of its production by 2010, Citigroup said.
Unlike peers Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, BP has avoided investing in oil sands and is expected to have no production from such ventures by that time. – Reuters

Oilsandstruth.org is not associated with any other web site or organization. Please contact us regarding the use of any materials on this site.

Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

User login


Syndicate content