07 March 2007

Umm...hello? Consequences?

Oilsands to supply 90% of nation's crude output

Alberta's oilsands projects are expected to account for 90% of Canada's total crude oil output by 2030, replacing the conventional sources which are already in terminal decline, a National Energy Board official said Tuesday. "Total oil output will increase to 4.6 million barrels per day and, of this, nearly 4.14 million will be from the oilsands," said John McCarthy, business leader for commodities, while unveiling preliminary results of the Canada Energy Futures project at the CERI 2007 Natural Gas conference. In 2005, Canada's total oil production was 2.509 million bpd, said a report prepared by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. This is the first time that such a forward-looking statement has been made of Alberta's total oilsands output. Until now, FirstEnergy Capital has released figures of 3.5 million bpd, while CAPP has estimated 3.9 million bpd from the mining and in-situ processes. Both projections are for 2020. By 2020, according to CAPP, conventional light and heavy oil output in Western Canada are projected to stand at 309,000 bpd and 263,000 bpd, respectively. Offshore East Coast oil production will be 160,000 bpd. The NEB announcement came amidst nationwide economic growth of an average 2.4% and a rise in energy demand of 1.65%. Put statistically, total demand for energy will be 12,000 to 17,000 petajoules. McCarthy said he considered various scenarios while making the projections, with long-term oil price estimates ranging from $35 to $85 per barrel. The results of the projections will be made public in October, he said.
(Calgary Herald 070307)

Alberta keeps emitting unabated

The province once again tops all others for industrial greenhouse gas emissions, new federal government figures show, as a countrywide poll reveals strong support for stricter controls in Alberta - even at a cost. In an inventory of 2005 emissions from 336 large facilities across Canada, Alberta accounted for about 39% of total industrial greenhouse gases, its figures largely unchanged from the year before. In fact, Alberta companies occupy seven of the top 10 spots, most of them involved in generating coal-fired electricity or mining the oilsands. While vehicles account for a large percentage of greenhouse gases in other provinces, industry dominates in Alberta, contributing nearly three-quarters of the province's emissions, which have increased 40% from 1990 levels. "We're not seeing any tangible action in Alberta," said Dan Woynillowicz, a senior policy analyst with the Alberta-based environmental think-tank the Pembina Institute. "Not only are we not seeing anything in the 2005 results to show that Alberta is on the right track to address global warming, but in the ensuing period we've had a lot of activity that's putting us even further behind the 8-ball."

The rapid pace of development and its impacts on global warming is worrying Canadians, an Ipsos Reid poll released Tuesday shows. When 1,000 people were recently asked whether Alberta should be subjected to stricter emission standards, even if it means a significant increase in the cost of producing oil and gas, 68% said yes. Support was highest in Quebec, at 86%, and lowest in Alberta, where 51% of people surveyed were in favour of more stringent controls. Pierre Alvarez of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers doesn't put much stock in the survey. If coming rules from both the provincial and federal governments are too tough too quickly, he said, Canadians will have to ask themselves how much more they're willing to pay to fuel their vehicles and homes. "We're prepared to act," Alvarez said. "We understand that there are going to be some costs associated with that." Those costs should crystallize in about a week when the Alberta government unveils its intensity-based greenhouse gas targets for industry, likely ahead of Ottawa's rules The provincial regulations is expected to take effect in July. Soon afterward, Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said the province will ask Albertans directly what else should be done about climate change.
(Calgary Herald 070307)

Why is no one challenging the potentially faulty and dangerous 'logic' that unabated development of the oilsands and emissions from the industry may not have, in the long-term, the intended results for Alberta? Why are we leaving this decision up to the small group of people who are most likely to benefit the most financially from this -- most of whom don't even live here? I guess it's like any other race to develop as quickly as possible -- we're poor planners, the consequences aren't fully thought out.

Why can't this development be done in a systematic, incremental way? Are we prepared to have a large chunk of this province (and everything downstream to Hudson Bay) left as an unfortunate ecologic wasteland by-product of this development just because we can't let go of our pathetic addiction to fossil fuel energy? Crap, that's bad, man.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

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