Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Oh Dear, About Those Pipelines.
The history of the Athabasca Tar Sands reveals an on-again/off-again project. In the postwar years there was massive support for development of the bitumen basin. The Canadian government even signed off on an idea to use underground nuclear explosions to liquify the sludge that it might be more easily pumped out of the depths.
Then the whole business came to a crashing halt with the discovery of a massive, conventional oil field in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Eventually, however, world oil prices climbed high enough to return to bitumen extraction although profits and lasting prosperity remained elusive. Still the uncertainty and prospects of a carbon bubble haven't deterred the Alberta or the federal government's enthusiasm for pipelines and getting bitumen to tidewater.
Remember Prudhoe Bay (see above)? We may be seeing a replay of the Prudhoe Bay/Athabasca tug of war soon. The Spanish energy company, Repsol, has announced the discovery of a big new field, 1.2-billion barrels of conventional crude oil, beneath Alaska's North Slope. The company expects to bring production to 120,000 barrels a day as soon as 2021. It's America's biggest onshore find in 30 years.