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Demystifying the Tar Sands of Alberta

| Monday February 21st, 2005 | 0 Comments

About a year ago, Wired Magazine (among others) sang the praises of Alberta’s vast untapped “heavy oil” deposits: They are said to rival the oil deposits of the middle east, and would be worth bazillions if not for the fact that the oil is so sand-saturated that you have dig out 2 tons of the stuff just to extract a barrel. If, as investors hope, the cost of extraction were to go down, then the era of “oil independance” would take on a whole new meaning.
As usual, oil glazed eyes are missing a few major problems, as outlined today on Past Peak: “extracting oil from the sands sucks up two-thirds of the energy they ultimately render, poisoning the atmosphere with carbon in the process. Producing a single barrel of oil from tar sands emits no less than six times more carbon dioxide than producing a barrel of conventional oil.” There’s a lot more.


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