Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Canadian Company Will Soon Be One of the First to Extract U.S. Tar Sands Oil

Tar Sands (Credit: Suncor Energy Inc., BLM) Click to enlarge.
The controversial oil extraction process made famous by Canada — deemed the world’s “dirtiest type of liquid fuel” — is coming to America.

According to a Sunday report in DeSmogBlog, a Canadian company called "U.S. Oil Sands" has received all the necessary permits to open the nation’s second commercial-scale tar sands mine, which will soon begin producing tar sands oil — a thick, hard-to-extract mixture of heavy oil, sand, and water.  The Utah Unitah Basin project will be allowed to extract 2,000 barrels of oil per day.  Some scientists say the unique and energy-intensive extraction process produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions of conventionally produced oil.

In Canada, tar sands are booming.  The third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world next to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, rapid production there has caused new pipeline proposals to pop up like daisies — most notably the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Alberta all the way to Texas.

America, however, has not yet attempted to extract its tar sands oil.  According to the Bureau of Land Management there are 12 to 19 billion barrels of tar sands oil in Utah, though not all of it is recoverable.  And recovering it is not easy.

A Canadian Company Is About to Become One of the First to Extract U.S. Tar Sands Oil

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