Presentation on theme: "Alberta’s Oil Sands - STS 331, 4/28/08 - Presented by - Jeremy Drucker - Erin Litwin - Alex Lowe - Whitney Wadman."— Presentation transcript:
Alberta’s Oil Sands - STS 331, 4/28/08 - Presented by - Jeremy Drucker - Erin Litwin - Alex Lowe - Whitney Wadman
The Oil Sands Estimated trillion barrels of oil World’s largest reserves behind only Saudi Arabia. 173 billion barrels are estimated to be recoverable with today’s technology. Different from the light, sweet crude found throughout Texas and Middle East. Bitumen; a heavier, more viscous and carbon-rich form of oil.
The Extraction Process Open pit mining Trucks are used to clear trees, draining the top layer of the earth to expose the ore body Decimates what were once thriving, old-growth boreal forests Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) Steam is injected into the oil sands, which heats the bitumen, lowering its viscosity and causing it to rise to the surface. Sand is left in place, while oil migrates towards strategically placed wells.
Big Production Current Production is around 1 million barrels per day Projected to rise to 3 million by 2020 and 5 million by 2050 Investment in oil sands development topped $10 billion in 2005
The Environment: Land Clear away top soil, sand, clay, gravel and muskeg Alters natural landscape Reclamation? Syncrude Canada Ltd
The Environment: Water Water use 2 to 4.5 volume units for each volume unit of synthetic crude oil Athabasca River, but also from Mildred Lake 359 million m³ from the Athabasca River per year Recycling Tailing ponds Water likely to seep into group water
The Environment: Energy and Air Pollution Burning of fossil fuels 1.0 to 1.25 gigajoules of energy are needed per barrel of bitumen Mainly coal and oil used Oil sands are responsible for 3% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions Largest contributor to growth in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in coming years Prevent from reaching Kyoto targets
Formation of the CEMA Cumulative Environmental Management Association Registered not-for-profit, non governmental organization Established June 2000 Monitors oil sands region 48 members All levels of government Industry Regulatory Bodies Environmental Groups Aboriginal Communities Local Health Authority
Members of CEMA and Goals Governments and agencies that manage and supervise oil sands development. Aboriginal groups ensure that traditional way of life, culture, and environmental awareness is respected and upheld. Industry that is committed to cooperate with conscientiousness, the responsible development of resources, and economic growth and opportunity. Health agencies that are focused on promoting public wellness and preserving public safety. Environmental non-government organizations that are concerned with guarding and promoting environmental sustainability.
The 2008 Election Oil sands emerged as a prominent campaign issue Pembina Institute Conducted all- candidate poll Political vs. Public opinion Public favored government regulated, environmentally conscious development
“The Government of Alberta should suspend new oil sands approvals until infrastructure and environmental management issues are addressed in the oil sands region.” Campaign Results Progressive Conservatives Alberta highly conservative Victorious by large margin, have been in power since 1971 Traditionally focused more on economic growth than environmental concerns Little real action taken so far
Natural Resource Regulation The Provincial Government is responsible for regulating the Oil Sands Reduces the degree to which citizens of other provinces may have a say in development The Federal Government has power over air quality regulation, which is intimately tied to the Oil Sand Development
Problems with the Provincial Government David Ebner, of the Globe and Mail, characterizes the ruling Conservative party as least likely to engage citizens and take their views into account when making policy Talk about economic factors surrounding their plurality The provincial government created a commission to develop recommendations and summarily dismissed their report
2 Approaches to having a say in Oil Sand Development Cumulative Environmental Management Association Creation of a report of environmental regulations that apply to Oil Sand development Regulators have been overwhelmed - this guide was necessary to ensure existing regulations were enforced
2 Approaches to having a say in Oil Sand Development Pembina Institute Increasing transparency by creating report cards for each facility Allows for an objective comparison between mining techniques The hope is that the most efficient and least harmful practices will be recognized and become most common
Looking Forward A more participatory model is needed Albertans as well as Canadians at large should have a direct say in development The provincial government, which realistically has a monopoly on regulation, needs to be more receptive to the views of the citizens There need to be increased reporting and transparency Provincial government recently passed regulation requiring new oil sands investments, by 2012, to store all carbon emissions Pembina, independent analysts: Rules fall short CAPP: Rules are unfair to business Current regulatory system is inadequate, Alberta risks selling its future for a large payday today
Works Cited Canada’s Oil Sands. Deloitte and Touche Report. April 10, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. April 10, ault.asp?V_DOC_ID=1 Carroll, Joe. “Oil Group to Press Canada to Postpone Emissions Rules.” Bloomberg.com March 11, "CEMA Homepage." Cumulative Environmental Management Association.. Davies, Travis. Personal Interview. 17 April Government of Alberta. “Alberta issues first-ever oil sands land reclamation certificate.” Alberta news release. 19 March Government of Alberta. 19 April B3799BC38A51E3E.html Griffiths, Mary et al. “Troubled Waters, Troubling Trends.” May 2006, 1st Edition. The Pembina Institute.. Oil Sands Discovery. Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. April 10, Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Pals, Fred. “Shell, Exxon Face Higher Costs on Carbon Limits.” Bloomberg.com April 20, Suncor Energy. April 10, Syncrude Canada Limited. April 10, Tar Sands. Sierra Club of Canada Prairie Chapter. Sierra Club Prairie. 16 April 2008.http://www.sierraclub.ca/prairie/tarnation.htm The Government of Alberta. “Oil Sands Consultation: Multistakeholder Committee Interim Report.” Oil Sands Consultations. 30 November Government of Alberta. 10 April InterimReport_Appendix_FactSheet.pdf