There’s a front page article in today’s Washington Post about Canadian oil sands. I guess with OPEC meeting today and oil prices over $55/barrel, oil is suddenly a hot topic.
People who refuse to believe in the Peak Oil theory (read my Peak Oil post) often point to Canadian oil sands as an example of how we will never run out of oil. But if you read the Post article, there is nothing especially comforting there. Current oil sands production is “about 1 million barrels a day,” and production is expected to triple by the year 2020. An extra 2 million barrels a day brought online gradually over a period of 20 years is not going to make a very significant change in world oil production.
According to the EIA, “worldwide oil demand is projected to reach 121 million barrels per day by 2025, requiring an increment to world production capacity of about 44 million barrels per day over current levels.” Obviously the 44 million barrels are not going to come from Canadian oil sands. In fact, if certain Peak Oil experts are to be believed, there is little chance that the world will ever be able to produce 121 million barrels per day.