Monday, March 19, 2012

Canada as Energy Superpower II

In an earlier blog post, Canada as Energy Superpower?, we looked at Canada's growing energy clout on the world stage. And finally, years later, the rest of the world is beginning to understand the kind of energy punching power that Canada brings to the world stage.
Canada's aim is to counterbalance Opec by pumping more oil...and catering to Opec's best customers in China and other fast-growing economies.

"It's going to have geopolitical implications," says Mr Oliver. "The future energy supply is going to be profoundly affected by what are now called unconventional sources. The influence of Opec on a relative basis is likely to decrease. And I think overall this is going to be positive for the West." _National
But oil is not the only rich energy resource which Canada can bring to the marketplace. Canada has vast uranium resources, is rich in coal, possesses large reserves of natural gas, and may have more gas hydrates than all its other hydrocarbon resources put together (PDF). To top it off, Canada is very well endowed with hydro-power -- currently the cheapest and most reliable of the renewables.

South Africa's Sasol -- in many ways the world leader in the Fischer Tropsch approach to coal to liquids (CTL) and gas to liquids (GTL) -- is acquiring significant assets in Canada, with an eye toward a future where unconventional liquids are more important than at present. Other energy companies, some based in Europe and Asia, are starting to think along the same lines, and are grabbing up Canadian energy assets when they can.

Whether the near and intermediate future of world energy is based on oil, natural gas, nuclear power, coal, or unconventional liquids, Canada is well positioned to supply an economically significant proportion of global energy needs.

Excess Canadian crude oil produced from oil sands is expanding at a rate of one million barrels a day every five years. The more that's produced, the less of a market there will be for oil from Venezuela and some other OPEC member countries with similar-quality oil, requiring them to either curtail production or lower prices. Even if oil prices rise in the medium term, we expect 2020 prices to be no more than $85 per barrel, compared with today's prevailing global price of $125.

The economic consequences of this supply-and-demand revolution are potentially extraordinary._WSJ_via_GWPF



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