Sunday, January 30, 2011

North American Unconventional Hydrocarbons Coming on Strong

Growth in Unconventional Hydrocarbons

North America contains a huge portion of global hydrocarbons, when unconventionals are taken into account. As the price of oil creeps ever higher over time, engineers and technologists are developing cleaner and more economical ways to utilise unconventional hydrocarbons.
Heavy Oils via Ivanhoe Energy

Canada's economic growth is being driven largely by oil sands. As the importance of this resource is slowly sinking into the thick skulls of Canadian politicians, various Canadian governments are beginning to take a more realistic view of oil sands production.
Both Canada and the US possess huge coal resources. Many different approaches are being considered, in order to use the resource more cleanly and economically, including coal-to-liquids technologies and in situ gasification technologies.
Image from Earth; an introduction to physical geology, 6th Edition, Tarbuck & Lutgens Prentice-Hall, 1999.

North America's huge oil shale resource will also be exploited eventually, along with oil shales the world over. The global oil shale market is projected to approach US$ 12 billion by 2015.

Gas-to-liquids is another unconventional liquid fuel likely to be scaled up in areas with rich conventional and unconventional gas resources -- such as North America.

OPEC nations control a huge volume of both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons around the world. But as non-OPEC nations discover how to utilise their unconventional hydrocarbons more efficiently and cleanly, the power of OPEC and the Asian oil dictatorships to hold the world hostage to energy shortages, will diminish.



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