January 27 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2018 Rating: 2
Extracting energy from the tar sands is not a pretty equation.
It isn' cheap. It isn't energy efficient.
And it is becoming increasingly politically charged given its heavy carbon footprint.
But the tar sands remain a massive reserve that has the interest of very large, innovative energy development companies. And the dollars and desire to exploit these non-conventional hydrocarbon resources could grow exponentially in the years ahead as companies try to change the cost equation.
The problem is that we are a bit early. These reserves still need a few more million years of natural bio-geological processes to rearrange the chemical bonds to make extraction easier. But instead of waiting, energy companies are developing ways to lower the costs of processing this carbon heavy resource. One of the reasons for high cost is the demand for outside energy needed to reform the tar sands into a usable form of liquid oil.
The Al Fin Energy blog is reporting on a new technique for substituting high priced natural gas with synthetic gas (syngas) derived from waste bitumen which is currently a byproduct. The process, developed by Nexen Inc. and OPTI Canada at the Long Lake Project, could change the price equation of exploiting the tar sands.
Good, bad or ugly - the tar sands cannot be ignored in a future where issues of climate change, 'energy independence', and peak oil production converge. The conversation about the future of the tar sands is just getting started.
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Via Al Fin Energy
Image Credit Suncor Energy