The unconventional liquid fuel industry, like oil sands and shale oil, is projected to grow 4.6 per year through to 2035, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The government agency released its International Energy Outlook 2011 last week. The report states that geopolitics and regulation will help the unconventional liquid fuel sector sustain growth for the next 20 years and beyond.
Keystone Oil Sands Pipeline Mining News
Weak manufacturing data from China and a US economy deemed to have "significant downside risk," saw benchmark North American crude futures drop more than $5 to just above $80 a barrel, bringing the discount to international oil prices to more than $25. The biggest oil sands player, Suncor Energy (TSE.SU), tumbled 6.8% to C$26.21 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, bringing its year to date losses to more than 30%. Canadian heavy oil – all of which goes to the US – sells for $15 less than US crude, meaning oil sands developers have to deal with an effective oil price of $60-$70 a barrel that puts at risk many of the $100 billion of projects on the go in Alberta.
U.S. conservationists are using an obscure American trade law to pressure Canada over how they manage the oilsands. An environmental coalition has filed an application under what's known as the Pelly amendment.
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he can't imagine the Obama administration rejecting the proposed Keystone XL oilsands pipeline, arguing the final decision should be a "complete no-brainer." Harper made the comments in an interview with Bloomberg News during his trip to New York for meetings with US business leaders and at the UN. The proposed $7 billion, 3,190km Keystone XL pipeline connecting Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast should help Canada move closer to the international benchmark for crude instead of US pricing which trades at a discount of more than $25. Canada currently pumps 2 million barrels per day to the US, with more than half coming from the oil sands.
EthicalOil.org ran commercials about the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia on the Oprah Winfrey Network late August and has now been dragged in front of Canada's advertising authorities by the Kingdom, handing the controversial website a PR victory just as it was beginning to look as if its message was being drowned out by Hollywood celebs protesting oil sands pipelines.
Huffington Post reports that iconic Canadian comedian, Dave Thomas, is opposed to the Keystone pipeline. Dave Thomas played Doug McKenzie on the hit comedy program SCTV. (Doug is pictured on the right.) The Keystone pipeline is a proposed $7 billion project that would connect Alberta with US Gulf Coast refineries.
TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, told the EnergyNow program airing on Sunday that the proposed $7 billion, 3,190km Keystone XL pipeline connecting Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast is “absolutely” going to happen and the show quotes US Energy Secretary Steven Chu as saying "having Canada as a supplier of our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil.” The oil sands industry feeding Keystone XL has tripled in size since 1995 and the US government estimates that Canada may double its current output of heavy crude by the end of this decade. Canada currently pumps 2 million barrels per day to the US, with more than half coming from the oil sands. A final decision on Keystone XL by US President Obama is expected before the end of the year.
The former premier of Alberta says he doesn't support the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project because it will take away jobs from Albertans. I would prefer...we process the bitumen from the oilsands in Alberta and that would create a lot of jobs and job activity," Peter Lougheed told CBC morning radio talkshow host Anna Maria Tremonti. "That would be a better thing to do than merely send the raw bitumen down the pipeline and they refine it in Texas that means thousands of new jobs in Texas."
EthicalOil.org, which stated goal is countering inaccurate and unfair criticisms of the oil sands, this week launched their first television ad as debate about the Keystone pipeline intended to carry Canadian crude to refineries on the US Gulf coast intensifies. The treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is the focus of the new ad running exclusively on the Oprah Winfrey Network in Canada and comes on the heels of demonstrations in front of the White House where celebrities had themselves arrested to persuade President Barack Obama, who has the final say, of oil sands' dangers and influential environmental voice Al Gore calling oil sands the "dirtiest fuel on the planet."
The Globe and Mail reports on Friday that MEG Energy, a small oil sands developer partly owned by China's CNOOC, has ponied up $100 million to join another Chinese state-owned firm Sinopec as financial backers of a planned pipeline from the oil sands to the northern British Columbia coast. Slowing demand in the US is adding pressure for a go-ahead on the Northern Gateway pipeline that will stretch for more than 1,100km at a cost of $5.5 billion affording Canada world prices for its oil, currently priced against heavily discounted US crude. Regulatory hearings are scheduled to start in January.
Canadian Natural Resources said on Tuesday its Horizon oil sands operation has resumed production after a seven month gap caused by a fire. The Calgary-based company said expects to reach full capacity of 110,000 barrels per day of syncrude – a light oil manufactured from bitumen – by next week. The Horizon outage led to a shortage of syncrude which helped Alberta’s producers attract a premium of $18 above benchmark US oil. That premium is now shrinking and is set to return to normal levels of a slight discount. Last week the spread between US crude and North Sea Brent reached a record margin of $26 a barrel. Western Canada Select in turn trades at $13 a barrel below US levels which on Tuesday was $84 a barrel.