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Important oilsands questions

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new report has been released by IHS that brings together four years of research on the Canadian oilsands. The report, titled Critical Questions for the Canadian Oilsands, is part of the IHS CERA oilsands dialogue that has been ongoing since 2009.

Report contents
The report provides new analysis on issues such as the role of the oilsands in US oil supply as well ass the economics of oilsands production. It also includes a new review of environmental regulations as well as the latest research on regional environmental effects.

Research on GHG intensity in oilsands projects is looked at and concludes that the GHG intensity of crude from this resource relative to other crudes imported to the US is often lower than assumed. The research has determined that the total emissions from oilsands products refined in the US are 4 – 23% higher than the average crude oil processed in the US; with an average of 12%. This level puts the oilsands on par with other sources of US crude, including crudes from Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq and heavy oils produced domestically.

The page of technological innovation in oilsands development is also examined in the report, along with the growing role of collaboration among companies within the industry, especially on environmental issues. Questions regarding transportation of oilsands via pipeline are also reviewed and have found that oilsands are of no greater risk of pipeline incidents than other crudes.

Comments on the report
"The aim of the IHS CERA Oilsands Dialogue is to inform debate surrounding oilsands development by engaging a wide set of perspectives and digging deep into crucial issues," said Jackie Forrest, IHS senior director. "This new report is a millstone and serves as an important guide, providing the opportunity to develop new research, focus in on critical questions for oilsands and monitor change across the full breadth of issues."

Kevin Birn, IHS associate director added, "over the past decade the Canadian oilsands have moved from the fringe to become a key pillar of global oil supply. This growth has made oilsands the single largest source of US oil imports and also a key source of global oil supply that could account for 16% of all new oil production by 2030. Today, the output of just Canadian oilsands, excluding all other Canadian oil production, is greater than the output of five out of the 12 members of OPEC."

Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd

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