Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Syncrude President: Industry Needs Massive Tax Breaks

Before you read on to the article below, I thought I would help to arm the reader with this link to some financial reports from Syncrude: "Selected annual financial information"


...so with those numbers in your head and a secret plan (not a proposal) to quintuple production almost exclusively to feed US markets' rapacious needs well known to Jim Carter of Syncrude, then see what the concerns really are.


Ottawa could break oil sands' back: Syncrude

CALGARY -- Canada's government needs to be wary of putting too many demands on Alberta's oil sands for fear of derailing the runaway success enjoyed over the past decade, one of the sector's most senior executives says.

Given relatively uncertain times for Alberta's energy companies -- with a provincial royalty review and new emissions legislation on the horizon, all in an environment of higher capital costs -- authorities need to exercise regulatory caution, Syncrude Canada Ltd. president Jim Carter said yesterday.

"We need to reflect on the strategy that's got us to this point," he said. "There are many straws being piled on this camel, and we need to make sure we don't break its back."

Mr. Carter is retiring after 27½ years at Syncrude, operator of the country's largest oil production facility, the 350,000-barrel-a-day Syncrude oil sands mine and upgrader. He's concerned that the increasing nature of demands on energy companies could disrupt further oil sands development.

"This is a very expensive business," he said. "It's not for the faint of heart, and never has been. It's important that we don't forget that a level playing field for royalties allowed the current investment and spending to happen."

That said, the biggest problem for the oil patch in the future is acquiring the workers to undertake the number of planned oil sands projects, Mr. Carter said. In addition, meeting ever-higher environmental expectations will also be a challenge for companies, he added.

On the positive side, Mr. Carter believes that the industry will continue to make technological breakthroughs that will bring down the costs of producing crude from the oil sands.

Syncrude has been conducting research into how to get its processing equipment closer to the oil sands mines themselves, reducing costs, and other advances are also on the horizon, he said.

"People will continue to find new and novel ways to extract bitumen from sand," he said. "It needs to be remembered that this industry is still very much in its early years."

Mr. Carter said he plans to move from the oil sands capital of Fort McMurray to Edmonton, where he plans to take up positions on company boards.

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