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Big Oil Worries Are High

Posted by mhudema on July 16, 2008

Technology, markets to drive rise in Canadian oil sands production
Steven Poruban
Senior Editor
CALGARY, July 16 — Production of Canadian oil sands bitumen will continue to rise in the coming decades but not without advances in processing technologies and the adoption by producers of varied strategies to market the resulting heavy crude blends.
These were some of the issues raised by speakers July 15 during the opening session of the second annual Oil Sands & Heavy Oil Technologies Conference & Exhibition in Calgary. The inaugural 2-day conference, held in July 2007, also in Calgary, drew more than 880 oil sands executives and senior personnel and more than 50 exhibitors.
Tensions were palpable at the opening session regarding one topic in particular—yet to be discussed fully by conference delegates—likely to serve as this year’s 900-lb gorilla sitting in the middle of industry’s living room: growing concerns in Canada about “finicky talk in the US about the type of oil it allows to cross its borders.
This hot-button topic has its impetus in a resolution adopted last month by the US Conference of Mayors modeled on a section in last year’s Energy Independence and Security Act that raised alarm about potential environmental drawbacks of oil sands. The resolution calls for bans on purchases for use in city vehicles of any fuel with life-cycle emissions of greenhouse gases deemed excessive (OGJ, July 7, 2008, p. 21). Canadian oil sands producers’ concerns hinge largely on such a resolution gaining serious political steam during an already strongly polarized presidential election in the US.
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