Casting the dragon's tail. Image credit:LimgelightGB
A huge Chinese tar sands investment has been formally approved by the Canadian Federal government. It's up to Chinese engineers and managers, now, to make the oil extraction and distribution cost-efficient enough to get the desired financial returns. With state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. reporting an investment of up to $1.7 billion in the tar patch they'll have a good shot at it.
I assume they will pump Tar Sands oil over the Rockies, either directly across western Canada, or by routing south and then west toward US ports. (Update: TransCanada pipeline extension to US Gulf Coast a possibility.) I'm also assuming that the Chinese managers will do the bare minimum for pollution control in Canada. For US citizens, this eliminates the once-comforting notion that we could solidly depend on our 'friendly neighbor to the north' to keep the cheap oil flowing to us. Scratch that condescending idea. China will get dibs in the event a global oil shortage or a North American oil price dip, relative to the global average. Welcome to the reality show of Geopolitical Peak Oil.As reported in ChinaMining.org:
Canada and China have signed a deal that will see PetroChina, the market arm of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., investing $1.7 billion in two Canadian tar-sands deposits in Alberta.With a Walmart already in Fort McMurray, the energy circle will be complete.
Some Canadians may be pleased not to have to depend on the USA as sole export customer for this oil. The added demand will surely bring a higher price.
Is it possible that a small part of the money to be invested will be contributed to ongoing tests of carbon capture and storage feasibility? This has not been mentioned in the news coverage. So, probably not.
2'nd update: apparently some readers do not believe that it is feasible to pipe Alberta oil westward. From USEIA:
Kinder Morgan operates the Trans Mountain Pipe Line (TMPL), which delivers oil mainly from Alberta west to refineries and terminals in the Vancouver, British Columbia area.
More posts on the geopolitics of tars sands.
Obama Admits Canadian Tar Sands' Carbon Footprint a Problem (Phew ...
Canadian Official Threatens Obama and Clinton With Cutting Off Tar Sands Oil...
National Geographic Slams Tar Sands - Canadian Politicians Pissed ...