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Canadian Sands Are Real Threats To GME Oil.

President Bush could get closer to his goal of cutting US dependence on Middle East crude - but it won't be his futuristic plan to run cars on fuel made from wood chips or hydrogen to do the trick. It's Canada.

The EIA, analytical arm of the US Department of Energy, says crude oil from Alberta's oil sands will help cut US Middle East oil dependence by half in two decades. When Bush called for the cut in his speech he was targeting the current forecast of 6m b/d of Middle East oil in 2025, hoping to cut it down to around 1.5m b/d. New estimates the EIA is releasing this month, according to Reuters, predict America's Middle East imports will be 3m b/d in two decades.

New data show US oil imports from Canada surging to 2.7m b/d in 2025 from 1.6m b/d now. About three out of four of those barrels will be from Alberta's oil sands, where record oil prices have created a boom in investment. There is debate within the EIA on whether the US could take all of Canada's oil sands production, which the agency estimates will be 3.2m b/d in two decades. Reuters quoted an EIA official as saying: "If [the US] receives it all, which we don't have in our forecast, it could reduce even more our dependence on the Middle East".

India, searching for crude oil supplies to feed its growing economy, says its firms would invest $1 bn over the next year to develop Canada's oil sands. "Asian markets have shown a lot of interest [in Canadian oil sands], the EIA official said. "It's not a slam bang that we'll take it all".

About 95% of Canada's 179 bn barrels of proven oil reserves are oil sands in Alberta, according to the EIA. Oil sands contain deposits of bitumen, a heavy, viscous oil. Once extracted, lighter hydrocarbons must be added to the bitumen so it can flow through pipelines. Upgraders then process the bitumen into "synthetic crude". In general, it takes about 1.16 barrels of bitumen to make 1 barrel of synthetic crude.
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Feb 13, 2006
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