Tar Sands:. A Future Energy?. Definition of Tar Sands. In a nutshell: gravels or sands that are saturated with very heavy crude oil. Think of a very soggy, new asphalt road. Tar Sands:. Process of Creation. Process of Creating Tar Sands.
A Future Energy?
In a nutshell: gravels or sands that are saturated with very heavy crude oil.
Think of a very soggy, new asphalt road.
Process of Creation
The petroleum is created in the same fashion as other petroleum.
However, over time, various processes have eliminated the lighter components of the crude oil.
Remote, very nasty location, cheap conventional crude oil, technology for extraction not yet developed:
Perfect formula for ignoring tar sands until recently.
Development of expertise in drilling for oil in nasty remote places has made their location not the problem it was 30 years ago.
Canadians, mostly, have worked on the technology since the 1970’s, with assistance from their government and increasingly, US oil companies.
Technology proven for the last 15 years.
Surge in price in the last decade, and issues of reliability, have suddenly made them much more popular.
Two known sites, of very large size:
Canada and Venezuela
Many other sites, of large size:
US, Russia, other countries
Converted to crude oil, can fit into existing system without change.
Canadian tar sands are estimated to have as much crude oil as Saudi Arabia has petroleum.
Ditto for Venezuela.
Ditto for Venezuela.
The technology is now developed, in place, and has been for at least 15 years.
All we need to do is expand production.
The final product is crude oil, same as crude oil from elsewhere.
All we have to do is build more pipelines and refineries, and plug it into our current system.
No change to anything!
Energy hog to develop.
Need to expand pipelines etc. in remote area.
Production process very polluting.
Contributes to global warming.
Different studies have produced different numbers, but all agree:
Takes enormous amount of energy to produce:
Anywhere from 20-50% as much energy as obtained.
Currently, uses natural gas for the process.
Does this make sense?
If we want to replace “foreign” oil with Canadian oil, we will need to dramatically expand the mining, refining, and pipeline system.
Quite a few billion dollars necessary.
Uses enormous amounts of water, only a small portion is recycled.
Very large scale strip mines.
Local air pollution.
Use adds more oil burning to rest of planet, with all the problems we talked about earlier: