Monday, 15 August 2011

API- Oil Sands - Points to Critical Nature of BioLargo Opportunity

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Oil Sands (Link Here)

Oil Sands Upgrading Employees

Economic Impacts of Staged Development of Oil Sands Projects in Alberta (2010-2035)
The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) has completed a study of the impact of developing Alberta’s oil sands in a staged manner according to the capacity and in-service date of existing and proposed pipelines. CERI estimated the amount of capital and operating expenditures that will be required to enable these upstream projects (both existing and proposed). CERI then used a standard economic model to estimate the impact this spending will have on employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The report shows that in 2010 80,000 U.S. jobs were supported by existing oil sands projects but that without additional pipeline capacity, substantial future benefits will be lost. In particular, Keystone XL pipeline alone could support close to 85,000 U.S. jobs in 2020. Without any pipeline constraints, oil sands development could support 600,000 U.S. jobs by 2035.

Adobe PDF Icon Summary of CERI's "Economic Impacts of Staged Development of Oil Sands Projects in Albert (2010-2035)"
Size: 144 KB | Date: July 15, 2011 | License: Free

Adobe PDF Icon Complete Report: Economic Impacts of Staged Development of Oil Sands Projects in Alberta (2010-2035)
Size: 1.4 MB | Date: June 2011 | License: Free

Fact Sheet: Oil from Canada
The United States imports 9 million barrels of oil a day to help meet its energy needs. Canada is the largest supplier of oil to the U.S., providing nearly 2 million barrels a day – more than 20 percent of U.S. imports.

Adobe PDF Icon Fact Sheet: Oil from Canada
Size: 45 KB | Date: June 3, 2011 | License: Free

Canadian Oil Sands Primer
Canadian Oil Sands - Primer
Advanced technologies developed over many years are used to produce oil from oil sands. The vast resources of the Canadian oil sands will play a crucial role in enhancing our nation’s energy security, serving as a bridge to a future economy increasingly powered by new energy sources.

Adobe PDF Icon Canadian Oil Sands
Size: 1.3 MB | Date: May 31, 2011 | License: Free

Energy Tomorrow Blog - Canadian Oil Sands More Important Than Ever (December 8, 2010)
The administration's decision to ban oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic, Pacific and the eastern Gulf of Mexico for the next seven years exacerbates an ongoing problem for the United States: Despite calls for energy independence, the nation could become more reliant on oil from other countries.

Fortunately, one of the world's foremost oil producing countries is right next door. In recent years, Canada has become the largest supplier of oil to the United States. An estimated 2 million barrels of Canadian oil comes over the U.S. border every day, and about half of it is derived from Canada's abundant oil sands. More...

Oil Sands, Greenhouse Gases, and U.S. Oil Supply: Getting the Numbers Right
The objective of this report is to provide an independent perspective on the life-cycle GHG emissions of oil sands compared with other crudes; on the evolving discipline of estimating life-cycle GHG emissions, particularly for oil sands; and on the growing trend of using life-cycle GHG analysis in policy. These policies have the potential to affect the market for Canadian oil sands and other sources of carbon-intensive crude oil.

Adobe PDF Icon Oil Sands, Greenhouse Gases, and U.S. Oil Supply
Size: 901 KB | Date: September 2010 | License: Free

The Canadian Oil Sands: Energy Security vs. Climate Change
The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) recent report The Canadian Oil Sands: Energy Security vs. Climate Change explores the tensions between energy security and climate change surrounding the Canadian oil sands and provides policy recommendations to address these two interests. The study urges U.S. policymakers to “resist the misuse of other U.S. environmental regulations to constrain oil sands.” It notes that “ill-conceived regulation could undermine U.S. and Canadian climate and security goals.” For more information on this study, see CFR’s overview or download the study here (May 2009).

Growth in Canadian Oil Sands: Finding a New Balance
Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA’s) new report Growth in Canadian Oil Sands: Finding a New Balance was designed as a balanced study (participants include Canadian government, oil companies and NGOs) to address various aspects associated with oil sands development and processing. For information on this study, see CERA's press release titled, Oil Sands Move from the “Fringe to Center” of Energy Supply (May 18, 2009).

Oil Sands SAGD Process

Recovering Oil Sands
Two different methods are used to produce oil from the oil sands – surface mining and in-situ – or producing in place. Today, a majority of the oil derived from oil sands is obtained via surface mining, although only about 20 percent of all oil sand resources are recoverable through this method.

The remaining 80 percent of oil sands resources are recoverable through in-situ processing. This method is employed when the bitumen deposits are further underground. Most in-situ operations use steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). This involves pumping steam underground through a horizontal well to liquefy the bitumen and pump it to the surface. Current investments in advanced technology will make this method of extraction more widely used in the years to come.

To learn more about Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) and oil sands, see the SAGD and Oil Sands Video.

You can also view the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers video "Canada's Oil Sands: Come See for Yourself."

GHG Graph (Oil Sands)

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The oil and natural gas industry remains committed to being a reliable and environmentally-responsible provider of the energy needed to power our economy. Canadian and U.S. companies are making the necessary investments to meet stringent environmental and other regulatory requirements to produce and process oil sands.

  • The extraction and processing of oil sands, like all minerals development, requires energy, which results in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, in a full lifecycle analysis, GHG emissions from the extraction, processing and use of oil sands oil is comparable to other heavy crude oil, like Venezuelan or Mexican crudes processed in the U.S. (see chart from CERA, 2009 analysis).
  • Technological advancements have cut per-barrel GHG emissions from oil sands production by 29 percent compared to 1990 levels, according to the Canadian government.
  • Using oil sands as a feedstock does not affect the quality or the tailpipe GHG emissions of the refined products. In fact, gasoline and other fuels made from oil sands already are being used in the United States. The vast investments refiners and pipeline operators are making to increase capacity and flexibility to process oil sands includes all the necessary equipment to make products that meet all the required specifications.

The Canadian oil and gas industry is working in conjunction with the Canadian federal and Albertan provincial governments to reduce GHG emissions through accelerated research and development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and energy efficiency improvements. For more information regarding how the Canadian government and oil and gas industry are addressing environmental issues associated with oil sands development, visit the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

Copyright 2011 - API. All rights reserved.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Wall Street Journal- Canada Has Plenty of Oil, but Does the US Want it? - Summary of Oil Sands from Alberta- Pipeline Debate & BioLargo Opportunity


Workers at Syncrude Canada's oil sands North Mine in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Canada's oil sands contain the world's third-largest proven concentration of crude oil reserves.

EDMONTON, Alberta—In a 21st-century oil boom, this sparsely populated Canadian province has become one of the world's newest petroleum powerhouses. Foreign investors are piling in, and Alberta plans to double production over the next decade.

The problem is that the U.S.—the biggest consumer of Alberta petroleum—may not want the additional oil.

Most of Alberta's 1.5 million barrels of daily exports are extracted from oil sands, or bitumen. Turning this tar-like substance into oil is an energy-intensive process that generates lots of carbon dioxide, a gas suspected to contribute to global warming. Almost all the oil produced ends up in the U.S., where environmentalists and some powerful Democrats have lined up against importing any more of the stuff.


Bitumen is analyzed at Syncrude's research facility.

Washington remains ambivalent about a proposed expansion of a pipeline that could nearly double exports from Alberta to the U.S. Another line—proposed to pipe Alberta oil to the Pacific, where it could be shipped to Asian markets—is opposed by native Canadian groups.

"Alberta will be in a very difficult position" if either one of the two pipelines don't go forward, Alberta's Energy Minister Ron Liepert said. "By 2020, we'll be landlocked in bitumen. We have to get it to market, and right now we don't have the infrastructure in place."

Canada's constitution cedes ownership of its energy reserves to its provinces. That essentially makes Alberta its own petrostate. And Edmonton is mounting a public-relations war to find new markets for its oil.

The province's equivalent to a U.S. governor, Premier Ed Stelmach, shuttles regularly to Washington. Alberta has flown up both Democratic and Republican U.S. lawmakers, along with Hollywood director James Cameron, an oil-sands critic, to show what officials say is the industry's improving environmental record.

The oil-sands debate comes at time when gasoline prices have soared in the U.S., and there is a growing focus on energy security. A recent study of global oil balances by London-based think tank Chatham House estimates that North America's dependence on foreign-energy sources should fall over the next 20 years, despite growing consumption. But that assumes oil-sands output continues to feed U.S. markets.

Indeed, U.S. energy security will hinge increasingly on "unconventional" sources of petroleum. Oil sands is one. Shale-gas production, which has been skyrocketing because of new extraction technology, is another. But these unconventional sources pose new environmental concerns, and growing opposition could stifle their growth.

The global oil industry is watching Alberta closely. Some of the world's biggest petroleum players, including Exxon MobilCorp., Royal Dutch Shell Group and Norway's Statoil have invested in their own oil-sands projects and are expanding production. Foreign companies have made roughly $40 billion in oil-sands deals since 2005, according to data provided by Calgary investment bank Peters & Co.

Peter Pond, a short-tempered, Connecticut-born explorer and trapper, was the first non-native to stumble upon Alberta's oil sands. In 1778, he wrote of "springs of bitumen which flow along the ground" near the present-day town of Fort McMurray, in the northeast of the province. Native communities used the substance to caulk their canoes.

Bloomberg News

Devon Energy's steam generation plant is used to extract bitumen from oil sands.

The oil sands are essentially a mix of bitumen—a black, pungent form of crude that is thick like tar at room temperature—and quartz sands, lying just beneath Alberta's boreal forest.

The first commercial oil-sands mining project, using giant scoopers to harvest the bitumen, started in the 1960s. Operations stayed small-scale, mostly because of their high costs. It wasn't until 2002 that Alberta officials put together the first, definitive report on the size of the reserves.

"It was like finding a Picasso in the attic," says Murray Smith, at the time Alberta's energy minister. A year later, he convinced a string of oil-industry authorities—including the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration—to count Alberta's oil sands among the world's oil reserves. The province's estimated 170 billion barrels of proven oil reserves now ranks it third in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.


"I knew when we got that done, we'd have an avalanche of investment," he said. Oil prices were hurdling higher, amid the U.S. invasion of Iraq and soaring demand from emerging economies like China. But the reserves classification also drew attention from environmental organizations, which had long criticized the oil-sands industry but largely ignored it.

"Once the oil sands were recognized as official reserves, you had a real shift in perspective," said Keith Stewart, a Greenpeace campaigner in Toronto. Environmental groups ramped up attacks against the industry on several fronts.

Oil-sands surface-mining has eaten up a vast expanse of shallow reserves buried just below Alberta's boreal forest around Fort McMurray. The operation results in toxic tailings, which companies collect in large ponds.

Alberta officials and oil-industry executives say technology has led to big environmental improvements. Companies are reclaiming mined areas and tailing ponds. And they have switched their focus to deeper deposits of bitumen, accessible by drilling wells that aren't as disruptive to the surface.

Alberta and oil-sands operators say their emissions compare favorably to oil from other parts of the world. They dismiss claims that bitumen is more prone to oil spills, citing years of heavy-oil pipeline operations in Canada and California.


Syncrude Canada's oil sands North Mine

As oil prices climbed toward $100 a barrel late last decade, California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman became an outspoken critic of oil-sands production. In 2007, he authored legislation that made it into President George W. Bush's Energy Independence and Security Act. The section can be interpreted as barring U.S. agencies from buying fuels made from oil sands. The legislation, still on the books, hasn't impacted sales because no one so far is using a severe interpretation of it. But Alberta officials were taken off guard.

That "motivated" Alberta to step up its game, said Gary Mar, who took over as Alberta's diplomatic representative in Washington in 2007. He lobbied in Washington, but he also traveled from state house to state house, fighting local legislation—including low-carbon fuel initiatives in California, New England and elsewhere—that threatened oil-sands sales. He left his job earlier this year to campaign to replace Mr. Stelmach, who is stepping down as premier.

Last year, TransCanada Corp. started up its Keystone pipeline, running from Alberta to the oil-storage hub of Cushing, Okla. It has applied to boost capacity from some 591,000 barrels a day to 1.1 million, and extend the line to reach Gulf Coast refineries. The State Department needed to sign off since the line crosses the U.S. border, and a decision looked likely by the middle of last year.

Both sides mobilized. In March, senior Alberta and federal Canadian officials met with the Canadian petroleum producers group to discuss "upping its game" on oil-sands outreach and communications, according to a redacted summary of the meeting, obtained by the environmental group Climate Action Network.

The producers group acknowledges the meeting. A representative of Canada's federal Natural Resources ministry said it regularly meets with "a wide range of stakeholder" on various issues and the ministry's former deputy minister participated in this meeting at the invitation of the producers group.

In July of last year, Mr. Stelmach bought an ad in The Washington Post: "A good neighbour lends you a cup of sugar," it read. "A great neighbour provides you with 1.4 million barrels of oil a day."

Rep. Waxman, at the time the chairman of the House energy committee, urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reject the expansion of the pipeline. Fifty other Democratic lawmakers also wrote to her, urging more environmental studies.

Later that month, the Environmental Protection Agency urged a more thorough environmental-impact study, prompting the State Department to delay its decision until this year.

Then, in April, President Barack Obama weighed in for the first time, telling attendees at a town-hall meeting in Pennsylvania he wanted to investigate "how destructive" oil-sands operations may be to the environment before approving the line.

Last month, the EPA said the State Department's environmental assessment still wasn't thorough enough, threatening more delays and further exasperating Alberta officials and oil executives. "There's growing frustration, but there's also acknowledgment that a process has been laid out," said Mr. Liepert, the Alberta energy minister. He says the province will live with the end-of-year timeline, but wants "no more delay."

Industry executives and lobbyists are sending a message: If the U.S. doesn't want Alberta's oil, Asia—in particular, China—will buy it. Enbridge Inc., the company proposing to build the line to the Pacific, has used Washington's delays as ammunition in its own public-relations battle. It's trying to win support for its project from federal, British Columbia and native officials.

"Right now, all our eggs are in one basket: the U.S. market," Stephen Wuori, president of Enbridge's liquids pipelines division, told a group of executives at an industry lunch in Calgary in May. "That basket is not getting any bigger, and some of the folks holding the basket are starting to complain about the chickens."

Write to Chip Cummins at and Edward Welsch

Wall Street Journal Report - Canada Readies New Plan for Monitoring Oil Sands- and Points to Another BioLargo Opportunity

OTTAWA—In an effort to clean up the international reputation of its oil sands, Canada's federal government said Thursday it will launch a new air- and water-monitoring program for the industry.

The plan marks a significant change to regulatory oversight of the oil sands, an industry that has boomed in recent years amid sky-high oil prices and the recognition of vast reserves of oil in the western province of Alberta. It comes as Alberta refines its own plan for a revamped monitoring program.

Alberta and Canadian federal officials have worked to clean up the oil-sand industry's image. That has especially been the case ahead of a pending decision by the U.S. State Department on a proposed expansion of TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone oil-sands pipeline.

Bloomberg News

A truck carries oil sands at a Syncrude Canada Ltd. mine in Fort McMurray, Alberta, last year.

The expansion would significantly increase Canada's export capacity of bitumen, the heavy crude that is extracted from oil sands, to the U.S. The State Department decision is due by the end of the year, after further environmental review.

Environmentalists and some politicians on both sides of the border have criticized the oil-sands industry on a number of fronts, including the use of extraction techniques more akin to strip mining than conventional drilling and the industry's relatively high carbon footprint. The death of more than 1,600 ducks in 2008 in an oil-sands mining waste pond increased attention on the industry. Since then environmental groups have alleged that heavy oil-sands crude is more likely to cause oil spills, though some pipeline-industry experts dispute that claim.

In a major turnabout late last year, Alberta's government said it would revamp its provincial air and water monitoring, after an independent study raised worry about air-borne contaminants from oil-sands production. Alberta disputed many of the conclusions of that study but agreed its monitoring could be better.

On Thursday, federal officials unveiled their own plan, which will include provincial cooperation and will cost 50 million Canadian dollars, or about US$53 million, a year. The program will be funded by the industry but administered by the government.

The new system, to be jointly designed by the federal and provincial governments, will replace a patchwork of separate monitoring programs in Alberta with one set of scientific standards to track the effects on water, air and soil from the oil-sands industry.

Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent said he is hopeful the new monitoring plan will ease concerns over the industry in the U.S. and help convince the U.S. State Department to approve the expanded portion of TransCanada's pipeline, known as Keystone XL.

Mr. Kent said he believes the new program will ease fears about environmental practices in Canada's energy sector. "It will provide the facts and the science to defend the oil sands, which some abroad are threatening to boycott," he said.

Simon Dyer, policy director of Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank, said he welcomed an improved monitoring system but said it was a first step. "We need the monitoring to result in changes in how the oil-sands are managed," he said.

Write to Paul Vieira at and Edward Welsch

Wall Street Journal Report: The 10 Pathogen-Food Combinations That Most Hurt Public Health - And Point to another BioLargo Opportunity

According to the CDC, about one in six Americans comes down with some kind of foodborne illness every year. But while the agency ranks pathogens by how frequently they cause illness, it doesn’t tell you the foods in which they’re likely to be dangerous to public health.

A new report from the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute takes a first step at identifying the specific pathogen-food combinations that pose the greatest public-health threat, in terms of short- and long-term costs as well as pain and suffering. ( Here’s a summary of the report.)

“The public-health impact isn’t the number of cases of 24-hour diarrhea,” Glenn Morris, director of the EPI and an author of the report, tells the Health Blog. This analysis shifts the focus “towards the diseases that cause long-term disability and death.”

That’s important not so much because you should avoid poultry out of fear of falling ill from ingesting Campylobacter — the top pathogen-food health threat on the list, costing $1.3 billion a year and having the largest impact on quality of life — but because the information can help direct preventive efforts. (See the full list below.)

“It’s a great idea,” Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, tells the Health Blog. “It gives regulators a better understanding of where to put their resources.” (He wasn’t involved with this report but has previously collaborated with the authors.)

Control efforts depend on whether the biggest threat is from microbes contaminating beef, pork, poultry, dairy, produce or peanut butter. “The way you approach the problem and the potential interventions may be entirely different depending on what the food is,” says Morris.

Morris says it’s not easy to get this kind of data given the fragmented U.S. food-safety system, and that the report should be taken as a “first step” rather than the final word. It combines outbreak data, expert advice and other data.

We reached out to various industry groups representing the producers of foods on the list and will add comments as we get them.

In a statement, James Hodges, executive vice president of the American Meat Institute (which also represents the poultry industry), says the report “highlights an area that should be strengthened: our lack of data that clearly identifies which foods cause foodborne illnesses” and emphasizes the tentative nature of the conclusions.

The National Chicken Council says the report “may not have captured improvements made by the industry in processing raw chickens.”

The National Pork Producers Council notes that as a percentage of total illness, toxoplasma in pork and other foods accounts for less than one percent of foodborne illness, and that the industry has developed its own program to identify the “practices with potential to result in food-safety hazards.”

The International Dairy Foods Association says that “virtually all” instances of listeria in dairy products occur in unpasteurized milk and cheeses (some of them imported), and that it will in May launch a food-safety workshop “focused on developing a uniform approach to in-plant pathogen control.”

And now, for the list:

  1. Campylobacter in poultry: $1.3 billion annually, 9,500 lost quality adjusted life years (QALYs)
  2. Toxoplasma in pork: $1.2 billion, 4,500 QALYs
  3. Listeria in deli meats: $1.1 billion, 4,000 QALYs
  4. Salmonella in poultry: $700 million, 3,600 QALYs
  5. Listeria in dairy products: $700 million, 2,600 QALYs
  6. Salmonella in complex foods: $600 million, 3,200 QALYs
  7. Norovirus in complex foods: $900 million, 2,300 QALYs
  8. Salmonella in produce: $500 million, 2,800 QALYs
  9. Toxoplasma in beef: $700 million, 2,500 QALYs
  10. Salmonella in eggs: $400 million, 1,900 QALYs

Image of salmonella at 8,000X magnification by CDC/Bette Jensen