“No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

Guest post David Middleton

Multiple Choice Quiz

“No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

  • a. Chairman of BP Capital Management, T. Boone Pickens
  • b. U.S. President Donald Trump
  • c. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  • d. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
  • e. Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid A. Al-Falih










The answer is “d”…



“No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

Perhaps that’s true, but it certainly still is a betrayal of the image that he crafted for himself in recent years as someone “who cares” about the climate. Unsurprisingly (since the crowd was full of oil and gas execs), Trudeau received “an unusually warm reception” for the speech, as reported by Business Insider.

Trudeau continued: “The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely, and sustainably. Nothing is more essential to the US economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy. Canada is that source.”

Hmm, that’s not very climate friendly, even if packaged in a pretty box.


So, what’s going on here exactly? Is Trudeau serious about a real (not simply market-driven) phaseout of the tar sands? Is he just telling any particular audience what he thinks it wants to hear? Or is he as supportive of tar sands oil development as predecessors? Here’s more for additional context:

“Trudeau’s speech also touted his support for the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the few areas where he and US President Donald Trump share common ground. He further discussed juggling the priorities of combatting climate change and bolstering Canada’s oil and gas industry.

“Under Trudeau, Canada’s Liberal government has approved new pipelines while working with provinces to implement a carbon-pricing scheme. The prime minister has long maintained that developing fossil-fuel resources can go ‘hand in hand’ with fighting climate change.”

That’s precisely what Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Khalid A. Al-Falih, who is also chairman of Saudi Aramco, said recently in a video interview published by CleanTechnica, even though it is obviously false…


“You cannot make a choice anymore on what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy,” Trudeau stated in that interview.

So, what do you think? Is he the Canadian version of former US President Barack Obama, as some people say, or even more fossil-friendly than that?


Firstly, the prime minister is exactly correct: “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.” Particularly if those 173 billion barrels were proved reserves.  At $50/bbl, 173 billion barrels is worth a lot of dollars… both US and Canadian.

Secondly, the prime minister is exactly correct here too: “The prime minister has long maintained that developing fossil-fuel resources can go ‘hand in hand’ with fighting climate change.”  Since fighting climate change is about as possible as fighting plate tectonics or entropy, it absolutely “can go ‘hand in hand’ with” developing fossil fuel resources.

Thirdly, the prime minister is exactly correct here too: “You cannot make a choice anymore on what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.”  IF you make bad choices for the economy, you won’t have enough money to make good choices for the environment.

Fourthly, the writers for Clean Technica are a hoot!!!  US President Barack Obama… fossil fuel-friendly???

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189 thoughts on ““No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

  1. Obama didn’t ban fossil fuels and order the execution of anyone caught using them.
    Therefore he’s fossil fuel friendly.

    • Obama oversaw a huge expansion rate of USA oil production and more pipelines were built under his watch than in USA history. The real problem with the crunch in oil prices, was the punishment of Russia (and Iran) the last 2.5 years since Crimea and Ukraine became a problem. This was accomplished with strong arming Saudi Arabia into dumping a few million more barrels per day with a promise of armament sales and protection from Iran, on top of rapid shale oil supplies coming online so as to collapse the price of oil. If Obama was anti oil, he could have monkeyed with fracking at the state level, and slowed down USA production. It soon became a race to the bottom, and started it own’s price death spiral. It was also designed in part to reduce gasoline/diesel/fossil fuel retail prices so as many countries could add additional taxation disguised as carbon taxes. Very hard to notice these tax increases when the retail price is cheap. Just look at British Columbia with its supposed revenue neutral carbon tax.

      • Obama did not “oversee” any “expansion rate of USA oil production… under his watch.” All of the “huge expansion rate of USA oil production” occurred on lands and waters not “under his watch”…



        Obama did everything in his power and beyond to inhibit oil & gas production and obstruct the construction of pipelines. Fortunately, the vast majority of US oil production and infrastructure is not “overseen” by or “under the watch” of the Federal government.


      • David M, I stand corrected on the specifics of the regulation domain. I was only trying to say that the rapid expansion of oil production over the last 8-10 years happened while Obama was occupying the executive branch. Not that the WH actually designed the success of such and for sure, he did obstruct Federal lands.

        • He obstructed everything that he could obstruct. This is why I put the Tim Allen grunt video after my “fourthly” point.

      • Ha! Mr. Middleton has the graphical, data rich response to this partisan diatribe, showing it to be the POPPYCOCK it is! However, I must congratulate Mr. Williams: “Tell a lie often enough, loud enough and LONG enough…and most (mindless dolts)…will believe it is true.” Keep preaching to the DOLTS Mr. Williams. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of them.

      • David Middleton is exactly right…the increases in production were in spite of Obama, and in no way because of him.
        And lots of pipeline may have been put in, but Obama derailed completion of the two most important ones.
        And they are not much use if they are not completed.

      • Obama did everything in his power to slow and stop oil production.
        The increase that did occur was on private lands where the Federal government has little control.
        Obama has no power to monkey with fraccing at the state level. Those are controlled by the states.
        It’s amazing how people give Obama credit for not doing something he had no power to do in the first place.

        • Obama did everything in his power to slow and stop oil production.

          It was one of the 2 campaign promises he kept (the other was to put Coal miners out of work – and he over excelled in that one).

      • get a grip. Ron- – -Obama oversaw a huge expansion of USA oil production? Are you kidding me? He oversaw a major decline in oil production on federal lands- -all increases occurred on private or state land- –

    • Obama officially took credit for the reduction in US emissions by pretending it was due to his hyper-expensive support of renewables rather than the combination of private sector shale gas production and EPA-aided industrial decline. Whether he actually knew the reality and lied about it or was just basically clueless is open to question. Trudeau I suspect would be the former. His ideal technology would be CCS but a politician has to pander to the faux-greens or suffer a media backlash – even if they are collectively a bunch of the purest hypocrites.

    • The total potential petroleum resource in offshore central California may be 4 to 6 billion bbls of oil and 5 to 7 trillion cubic feet of gas, per 1996 estimates by USGS and MMS. At present prices, there might be more. Yet CA doesn’t want to drill for these resources.

      • Meanwhile, Californis heavy oil is more carbon intensive than that from the oil sands in Alberta!

      • John,

        I’m reminded of the UK buying wood pellets from the US to burn instead of coal. Wood is more carbon intensive than coal, coal more than oil and oil more than gas. By the time you get to gas, you’re practically burning hydrogen rather than carbon.

        Irony abounds amid the insanity.

      • The wood pellets shipped across an ocean to burn for electricity in a place with large coal resources is a psychotic policy for sure.
        But is it more so than using corn to make ethanol used for diluting the energy content of gasoline?
        I think corn ethanol might take the prize, based on scale alone.

    • Those are all undiscovered resources, not proved reserves.

      While it’s extremely stupid of us to not exploit those resources, they aren’t “reserves” of any kind, Canada’s oil sands are proved reserves.

      • David, There was a well drilled on the coastal plain of ANWR and it was logged. I know the logging engineer that was on that well, he was sworn to secrecy under severe threat.

        • There was no need for a threat. That is proprietary information. Nondisclosure agreements are SOP. There have been a few wells drilled around ANWR and a single well drilled in ANWR on Indian lands (Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation, KIC-1) …


          The data from the KIC well has never been released to the public.

          There’s enough data for the USGS to assess a likely recoverable resource… But there are no proved reserves in ANWR or any other category of reserves.

      • Professionals in the Alberta oil patch will remind you that the 173 billion barrels are proved reserves and that anyone the least bit familiar with the oil sands knows that reserves recoverable with the new gen technologies coming online are multiples of the proved number.

      • I heard a news item on my local radio station today about an Oklahoma legislator who was planning on introducing a bill in the Oklahoma legislature that would allow horizontal drilling to take place in all rock formations, not just shale formations.

        I don’t know if this is a good idea or not and was wondering what some of the oil experts on this website think about this proposal.

      • We were drilling horizontal wells in conventional reservoirs long before we were drilling them in shale formations… and I’m not aware of any laws which dictate the types of rock through which horizontal wells can be drilled.

      • “We were drilling horizontal wells in conventional reservoirs long before we were drilling them in shale formations… and I’m not aware of any laws which dictate the types of rock through which horizontal wells can be drilled.”

        That’s odd. I’m not questioning that you know what you are talking about, but the news item gave me the impression that this was new and would result in many more wells being drilled in Oklahoma. That was the selling point.

        The news reporter may have interpreted things incorrectly. I’ll see if I can get some clarification.

        • Do you have a link to the article? I’ve never worked Oklahoma… Just East Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

      • Here you go, David.


        Legislators Attempt Again to Change Horizontal Drilling Laws

        March 3, 2017

        “Two years later and some things never change in the Oklahoma legislature, such as attempts to modernize the state’s regulations regarding horizontal oil and gas drilling.

        It was April 2015 when OK Energy Today reported on attempts in the legislature. Those efforts are still underway in 2017 as the Oklahoma House Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted in recent days to approve HB 1613, an effort to change the multi-unit concept which was started in 2011.

        Horizontal laterals are limited to two miles in shale zones and one mile in non-shale zones but the bill, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall and pushed in committee by Rep. Weldon Watson would make changes.

        “This is a work in progress,” emphasized Watson in explaining the measure during a committee hearing. The title was struck so any change could be made before the bill actually is voted on in the full house. It won approval on a 15-3 vote in the House committee.

        When Rep. Watson calls it a “work in progress,” he means it. The measure will create the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Resources Development Act of 2017. But a print-out of the bill showing only the name of the act and that it will become effective November 1, 2017. No other details are in the bill.”

        end excerpt

        One question that pops in my mind (not being a geologist, or oil expert) is why is there a distance limit on horizontal drilling, and why different distance limits for different types of rock.

        • Thanks for the link.

          Horizontal laterals are limited to two miles in shale zones and one mile in non-shale zones …

          Horizontal wells are already allowed in all formations. The current law limits the lateral extent to 2 miles in shale formations and 1 mile in non-shale formations.

          The purpose of the limitations is the limit the ability of a horizontal well to drain offsetting acreage.

      • Why the distance difference in shale and non-shale?

        And, rather than using miles as a measure, why not write a law that says do not encroach on or underneath another’s property without their permission?

        What do you think the result of them increasing the distance limit would be on the oil industry?

        • Drainage from conventional reservoirs is more effective than shale reservoirs.

          With vertical or conventionally deviated wells, the spacing is generally defined as an area… 640 acre well spacing for example. Lateral completions sort of negate the purpose of well spacing. You already can’t actually penetrate the reservoir on someone else’s acreage; but a well will drain a certain volume and it doesn’t recognize lease lines.

          I don’t see how it would have a big effect in the “big picture.” It sounds like the bigger operators are in favor of it; while small independents are against it.

    • See my 12:08 pm below, it was supposed to be a reply to Louis at 11:42 am, but it did not get threaded.

    • We also have a strategic reserve of some 600 bbls (I think?) — but strategic reserves is not the same thing as saying you would never use it. It’s like having a savings account, but starving to death because you don’t want to tap into your savings.

      I saw when Trudeau made this comment. I thought it was the height of arrogance and stupidity. It’s being proud for being stupid — now that I think of that, there is a lot of that going around.

    • Their core business it to select a “Company of the Year” which promptly goes bankrupt.

  2. The resource will be developed. Our job is to ensure that this is done responsibly, safely, and sustainably.

    What exactly does “sustainability” mean in the context of resource extraction? Do we slow it down enough to give the oil time to grow back? Are we going to be so squeaky clean that nary an environmentalist will interfere until we have recovered the last drop of those 173 billion barrels?

    • From my perspective, “sustainability” means proper reservoir management. You can leave a lot of oil in the ground if you drawn the pressure down too quickly or prematurely cone up water.

      From Mr. Trudeau’s perspective, I think it’s just a requisite buzzword.

      • Ah, o.k., so it actually might mean something. In the case of Canada’s oil sands, the concept of pressure that could be drawn down doesn’t apply though.

      • Sustainability is merely a buzz word to pacify environmental morons. One cannot sustain drawdown of a finite reservoir that isn’t refilling unless one reduces the extraction rate inversely proportional to the remaining reserves.
        One can inefficiently drawdown the reservoir as David has mentioned and leave much behind to subsequently require extraction at a less efficient method, but it by its very nature extraction of a finite resource is not sustainable unless as some Zeno’s paradox of a mathematical abstraction.

      • Still think that nuclear should be used to produce the energy to process the bitumen into oil. Using Nat Gas is ridiculous.

      • That oil does nasty things to ground water supplies, I think we should do everything on our power to remove ALL of it from causing any possible contamination.

    • He’s Green, he’s a feminist, he’s a regular guy and a friend of the industry he wants to phase out! He’s laughable and an example of how little people think before they vote. Oh yeah, I forgot something. He’s smooth, baby, smooth.

    • Suppose you were a pathological liar, and suppose you were a politician; but I repeat myself.

    • Right, he’s a Canadian Liberal who says what the crowd wants to hear, except that he pushed that idea a little too far in Quebec recently when he answered an English-speaker’s question in French. Great crowd pleaser for the French-speaking audience in attendance and the French language media, but with the subsequent outcry from thousands of offended Anglos and an admonition from Canada’s Official Language Commissioner, he was forced to apologize to the questioner. Lesson: Don’t suck up. Be polite to and respectful of your citizens, even when they are a minority.

  3. He hasn’t encountered “EU” bureaucrats, experts in bent cucumber, lightbulbs replaced by mercury-bombs and muffled Hoovers.

  4. “If you make bad choices for the economy, you won’t have enough money to make good choices for the environment.”

    OMG. The kid has more sense than I gave him credit for.

    • Check out what Kevin O’Leary had to say recently about Justin Trudeau’s chief advisor, Gerald Butts, regarding his environmental advice. Go to the the 26 minute mark:

      • What is Kevin O’Leary doing running for the Canadian Prime Minister? Since when could Americans go run for the leadership of Canada? I am sure he would make more money on Shark Tank. Oh well, I guess America could use a 51st state…come to think of it, it already is.

  5. Whether the Athabascan bitumen sands are still 183 Bbbl of proved reserves at present prices is debatable. Even with hydrogen upgrading, the resulting syncrude still sells for about 1/3 less than Brent because it refines ino signiticantly less liquid transportation fuel. Projects have been put on hold. Exxon wrote down a portion of its Athabascan reserves.

    • A lot of it probably wouldn’t be considered proved by most auditors or the SEC at $50/bbl.

      Even when you have to write down proved reserves due to slumping product, you generally don’t leave them in the ground, if they’re already producing.

      The funny thing about the Athabasca tar/oil sands is that they weren’t proved by the drillbit. They were proved by the rise in oil prices in the mid-2000’s.

    • WSJ today

      “Shale has much smaller upfront costs but, since production rises and falls faster, producers have to keep investing. The beauty of shale is that if oil prices fall, companies can ease up on the throttle. But someone else’s sunk costs are sometimes a bargain.

      Today shale offers the prospect of growth but also safety for oil companies still licking their wounds from the recent slump. By contrast, new investments in oil sands are prohibitively expensive, as much as $45 a barrel above current prices, but cash returns on existing ones could be vastly superior if oil prices meet analyst expectations. Canadian Natural and Suncor, the two big Canadian producers, are expected to throw off free cash flow of $7.9 billion combined in 2018, according to analysts polled by FactSet. With a combined market value just under $90 billion, their combined free cash flow yield is nearly 9%.”

    • “Even with hydrogen upgrading, the resulting syncrude still sells for about 1/3 less than Brent because it refines ino signiticantly less liquid transportation fuel.”

      Yes, bituminous sand oil has less liquids partly to having to mix with condensate for pipeline viscosity, but also because it is a different product than lite sweet crude. A bit of apples and oranges here. The other is because Canada is held hostage by USA buyers because there is no other alternative to sell it too. That is a temporary problem while Kinder Morgan pipe line gets built to Vancouver, and the Energy East pipeline is approved to the Atlantic coast in New Brunswick. And of course the Keystone to the gulf coast, which is now back on the table. Once Canada gets world pricing for deliveries, this gap will tighten up. USA should be really thinking long term strategic with this much friendly oil supplies just across the border a few hundred miles. With Rex T. now as S of S, I am sure this will not go unnoticed as a energy security issue.

      • Don’t presume the Kinder Morgan Pipeline will get built soon. They have federal approval, but still have to get provincial approval. The provincial government is demanding the pipeline pay a throughput tax, of between 50 cents and $1.00/barrel. Roughly $500k-$1million per day. Stay tuned

    • Thanks for the great posting and informative comments by others who are better informed than I am about current status of the oil sands. Since I worked on the initial Syncrude start-up of Train 1 and 2 project and lived in Ft McMurray for oven a year in the 70’s. The Syncrude Company’s massive project was built when crude was $12/bbl and the project was almost cancelled as crude prices had fallen. Syncrude mined the oil sand and separated the oil from the sand and upgraded the oil with Fluid Cokers and other advanced processing. Syncrude at that time produced a clean synthetic crude that was desulferized and upgraded with hydrogen via hydrofining units. I have no knowledge to comment on the current product quality as the capacity was expanded significantly and a third train added. .
      Below one can see that during 2016 their crude price averaged $57/barrel while other plants without upgrading got significantly less. .
      Imperial Oil reported record fourth quarter production at Syncrude, averaging 348,000 bbl/day of upgraded synthetic crude.

      For the full year 2016, the mining giant produced 272,000 bbl/day, up from an average of 248,000 bbl/day in 2015. Syncrude had a stellar year reliability-wise, negating some of the effects of the forest fire outages back in May and June.

      Syncrude is Alberta’s largest oil sands mine and has the capacity to produce about 350,000 bbl/day of bitumen from its two mining operations – Mildred Lake and Aurora North. Bitumen produced at the mine is upgraded into light synthetic crude at the Mildred Lake upgrader.

      The average selling price for Syncrude’s upgraded oil was $57/bbl in 2016, down from $61 in 2015. Syncrude’s Sweet Premium crude sells almost on par with West Texas Intermediate (WTI), which averaged $57.40/bbl last year (or US$43.50).

      Imperial Oil owns 25% of the Syncrude operation.

      • Hi Cat – we may have met.

        I also have some history at Syncrude. Thank you for adding your comments here. I really liked that project, and I still do.

        Have a look at http://www.OilsandsExpert.com for details.

        I started at Syncrude as a contractor forty years ago, in early 1977, and was present on the day when the first big dragline, a Marion, took its first bite of the opening Box Cut. Frank Spraggins was there that day, as was Elmer Brooker and Dave Devenny. That was an age ago.

        Later I became an owner’s rep and chaired the Mining Committee, the Technical Committee and one SCO Quality Task Force and sat on the Management Committee. I also had the OSLO and PCEJ projects. There were then 8 Syncrude owners, 6 at OSLO and 4 at PCEJ.

        The startup in 1977 (officially 1978) was rough with many production shortfalls. As I recall we started to do well in 1983 and then had a disastrous fire at Coker 8-2 in 1984 , and then the project really started to hum. By the 1990’s we got unit opex down from ~Cdn$18 to ~$12/Bb; (all-in, including energy costs) by exceeding post-CAP nameplate production by almost 50% while holding the line on total opex.

        We got better tax terms (100% CCA rate) for the $1.2 Billion (Debottleneck1 + CAP) expansion in the 1980’s and then we got both new tax and royalty terms circa 1997 from the Ralph Klein govt and the feds, which revitalized the oilsands industry and made it the economic mainstay of Alberta and Canada for many years. Canada became the most successful country in the G8.

        There are several challenges for the oilsands today:
        1. Unit opex at Syncrude is too high, because production has failed to reach the new nameplate capacity of ~130MMBbl per year. Last time I looked, a year or two ago, unit opex was almost Cdn$50/Bbl.
        2. Product prices have been squeezed by limited pipeline capacity – a deliberate outcome of green sabotage of the Canadian economy. At one time similar-quality crudes were selling as follows:
        Brent (ocean crude) was $100/bbl, WTI (landlocked USA) was $80, and Edmonton Light (landlocked Canada) was $60. Canada lost billions.
        3. Dry tailings disposal probably should have been implemented decades ago.

        There are many new challenges for the oilsands industry.
        1. Get unit costs down to ~Cdn$30/bbl for fully upgraded SCO (synthetic crude oil), which should sell at a slight premium to WTI because it is a better feedstock.
        2. Fix the pipeline shortfall. Sue the destructive greens under the RICO statutes like the forestry industry is doing. I would bring one pipeline west to Prince Rupert, much safer than Kitimat or Vancouver, another pipe east to St Johns NB (Irving, via Nanticoke, Montreal and Levis), and of course one (XL) to Houston, for USA supply security.
        3. Get better fast on dry tailings – the fines-segregation problem in aqueous disposal is probably the fatal flaw in past attempts.

        Like many old guys, I think we did it better in our day. In fact, we did, a lot better. 🙂

        Regards, Allan

    • It depends on the amount of hydrogen we add. I’ve participated in several studies to optimize developments, and it appears the best upgrader design is whatever costs less but yields a marketable syncrude. If the crude can’t be marketed at X design then we can add more intensive hydrogenation and make a boutique 38 degree API. We can also take the crude and make synthetic diesel. But that costs a bunch of money.

  6. I remember when Dems said that the oil wouldn’t be available for ten years and therefor we should bother to drill. That was 15 years ago. It didn’t make a lot of sense when the said it.

    The only possible eexplanation are 1. They really are complete and utter morons, or 2. The Russians and the Gulf Arabs bought them.

    I favor explanation 2. although I cannot rule out explanation 1.

    • Suppose you were a three-dollar whore, and suppose you were a Democrat in Congress; but I repeat myself.

    • “Never ascribe to malice that which may be easily attributed to incompetence.”
      Napoleon Bonaparte

    • One can’t rule out both explanations being true at the same time. However if both are true it follows that the Russians and Gulf Arabs are also morons for wasting perfectly good money bribing utter morons to do what they were already going to do anyway. Or maybe they simply agree with MacBeth and wish to “make assurance double sure.”

    • @ Allan MacRae
      St Johns is in Newfoundland. Saint John, where the Irving refinery is, is in New Brunswick, some 600 miles/1000 km westward. This is a very common mistake, and your postings are so knowledgeable that I’ll overlook the error…..

      Ian M (grew up in Saint John and now live about 40km away)

  7. It’s amazing that Clean Technica is so dense that they think people can drive around without using gasoline or that anyone can manufacture plastics, jet fuel, diesel fuel, lubricants, etc without using oil. By no means does all oil end up being combusted. Even if we all drove electric cars, we’d still need lots of oil.
    And does Clean Technical really believe that by not pumping that oil we will reduce gasoline, diesel or jet fuel usage ? The only conceivable result would be higher prices, with the same amount of CO2 production.
    The other blatantly dopey idea is “sustainability,” as if that is the only means of having available energy into the future. Electric cars are right around the corner – subsidies are NOT what is needed, cheaper batteries is what’s needed and has been ever since Henry Ford tried his darndest to build a practical electric car with the help of his friend Thomas Edison. Those cheap batteries are nearly here and they are capable of very fast recharging. THAT is what will eliminate oil as a fuel, excepting jet fuel and probably diesel truck fuel. As for sustainability, nuclear power can be the main
    power generator probably for as long as mankind is around, using either uranium or Thorium (all of the molten salt reactors nearing commercialization can burn either). Worrying about future energy sources is a fool’s game. Clean technica is somewhat lacking in understanding energy technology –
    they put forward an ancient technology (wind) as something astonishing.

    • It’s a lot like the magic battery that is supposed to save electric cars. They believe that if you want something badly enough, it will happen.
      Kind of like when they were kids, if they whined long enough, they usually got what they wanted from their parents.

      • Unfortunately the laws of physics and chemistry may preclude a suitable battery for a car capable of reasonable range and readily recharged for a long trip, this device has been chased for many decades spending lots of $$$ even with the best scientists without results to date.

      • It is far more likely that super capacitors will power cars, not batteries with any chemistry. They are superior from every standpoint.

        One of the strangest things happening in transportation is the accumulation of huge numbers of dead Prius batteries in Mongolia. The density of Prius’ in Ulaanbaatar is astonishing as a % of the total number of cars. Second hand from Japan.

        Anyone got figures? Anyone have an idea how to use thousands of dead Prius batteries?

      • The electronics industry has been after cheap high density capacitors since there has been an electronics industry.
        Lots of money has been invested over decades trying to improve capacitors.
        While there will be improvements, I have my doubts that there are orders of magnitude improvements waiting to be made.

  8. “Sometimes General Economics is in command and sometimes General Politics is in command” paraphrase Mao Tse Tung

    Justin is trying to have it both ways. No Liberal is going to scale the heights of power without paying homage to the Climate Change lobby. No Prime Minister can stay in power if the economy goes south. Essentially what the Chicoms are successfilly pulling off so far. Communism is as dead as a stone but its apparatus of control has been strenghtened by abandoning it.

    • Communism is alive and still walking the earth. Only it’s heart is dead and replaced by blind ambition.

  9. What Robert of Ottawa said above is true. Trudeau will say anything depending on the crowd in front of him and often plays both sides of the coin, such as Canada’s oil sands being part of climate change, which is a nonsensical statement.

    I think Trudeau would have preferred Trump not get elected and no Keystone Pipeline approval so that he could continue to not make any decision on oil sands exploitation. Now he is caught in a dilemma where he kicks the can down the road for 2 elected terms and then lets the next Prime Minister make an actual decision. His problem is, can he delay that long?

    • Trudeau will say anything depending on the crowd teleprompter before him. The guy couldn’t string together an original thought if his life depended on it.

      • I agree. But somewhere in his muddled mind he also understands that he cannot even remotely afford to alienate the Canadian West with its [ today far more important] oil and gas wealth the way his old school Socialist father did 35 years ago. The West is populist by tradition and Western alienation is right there under the surface.

    • No he can’t. When crude prices started to rise in earnest 10-15 years ago it was thought that the enormous oil sand reserves would turn Canada into something of a swing producer. With crude prices not expected to reach to those levels for quite some time and with the shale revolution turning the US into the real swing producer, no Canadian PM can idly sit by and not make sure Canada is part of the North American oil and gas superpower in the making.

      Keystone XL will happen as will the Kinder Morgan twinning of their West Coast line – the greens and their Indian friends’ protestations notwithstanding – the Feds want it, Alberta wants it and both British Columbia’s main parties want it. And with the Quebecer Trudeau as PM, who knows the current Quebec “no” to the Canada East pipeline may also be negotiable.

      • Tax payers of Western oil producing provinces are sennding more than 8 billions net a year to Quebec as equalisation paiement, out of its 100 billions $ Ca annuel budget. Sooner or later, Quebec voters ought to realize that pipes flow more than oil.

      • The money paying the rent-a-mob protesters in BC comes from the US, mostly. The protest coordinating groups in Vancouver admit it openly, as happens on CNC radio from time to time. Foreign interference is preferable to Federal interference, apparently.

        No one mentioned above that a lot of the oil sand producers’ shares are owned by China/Chinese companies. Obviously they want the oil shipped out. China is overly dependent on Iran at the moment. They’d like to change that.

      • You send us oil, we send you idiots.
        Good for us, but I’m not sure what you guys get out of it.

  10. Many politicians have occasionally failed a simple high-school maths test when somebody in the press decided to have a look at the abilities of our elected representatives. But their abilities suddenly improve markedly when it comes to real money.

  11. Do you suppose Trudeau thought that because Houston was a long way from Canada, none of his liberal supporters would know what he said there?

    • No, Don B. Canada is a very resource-dependent country. You’d have to be really, really thick not to grasp that, and also to not grasp that most people who live there also grasp it. So his message was very probably intended to be heard at home. Trudeau II isn’t gifted with a lot of intellect, but he certainly isn’t that thick. He absolutely HAS to support the oil industry (most of the time, even while talking green).

      He’s approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to the west coast, while not approving the Trans-Mountain which was a bad plan anyway. Keystone’s back on the table So far so good. But he’s going to be up against some really deep-green cases when it comes to the Energy East pipeline to New Brunswick. Lots of Quebec politicians are dead set against it, presumably because they are happy to see oil continue to be shipped through their province by train. I mean that’s so safe, and it never hurt anyone, right?

      And then there’s the carbon tax that the liberals want to bring in. Sigh.

      • Smart Rock – Kinder Morgan and Trans Mountain are the same, Trudeau turned down Enbridge Northern Gateway which wasn’t a bad plan. KM Westridge Terminal cannot handle the largest tankers and NG would have been able to. Until there is pipeline access to a west coast terminal that can handle the largest tankers exports to SE Asia will fall short.

  12. You cannot make a choice anymore on what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy,” Trudeau stated in that interview.

    As many others have observed, the technically developed rich countries have the best environments.

    • The EROI figure given in the article you linked to for ‘Oil, gas & tar sand production, Canada’ is 11 (Table 1).

      • Yep, but what will be the EROEI when the deeper layers have to be dug up and the sand further away from the extraction plant? EROEI will keep going down.

    • No, Cassandra. The oil sands operations use a lot of gas to supply the heat that’s used in extraction, and they mix condensate with the thick oil to help it flow in pipelines, but the condensate isn’t consumed, it becomes part of the product. Other than in diesel-powered equipment, no oil is used to produce from the Athabasca oil sands.

      There’s been talk of building a nuclear power plant at Fort Mac, so that the 60 or 70 percent of produced energy that’s otherwise waste heat, could supply all the steam that the oil sands need, then they wouldn’t need much gas. But it never gets any traction because everyone “knows” that nuclear power is as bad as “carbon”.

      • Well, you need heat (energy) to get the oil separated from the sand. You can calculate how much energy is used to get one barrel of oil out. And divide that by the amount of energy in one standard barrel of crude.
        And besides that, long before all the oil is produced out of the tarsands, Canada will run out of natural gas.

      • Prices this morning:

        Crude Oil (WTI) $49.26/bbl
        Natural Gas (NYMEX) $3.14/mcf

        1 mcf natural gas = 1,000,000 btu = 1 mmbtu
        1 bbl crude oil = 5,800,000 btu = 5.8 mmbtu

        Crude Oil (WTI) $8.49/mmbtu
        Natural Gas (NYMEX) $3.14/mmbtu

        A natural gas for crude oil EROEI of 1.0 has an ROI of $5.36/mmbtu.

        In North Dakota, they flare a lot of natural gas, largely due to the fact that EROEI is a totally meaningless pinhead academic buzzword with no value in the real world (AKA business). Bakken producers are there to make money, not energy.

    • cassandraclub

      In that case the wind turbine industry is dead before it gets off the drawing board. It takes far more than one third of the energy produced to make the turbine in the first place. The energy profit, another way to express the same metric, is under 50%.

      • I agree, only if the wind turbine produces wind-energy for 15 years or longer it is a sensible investment of energy.

  13. No country would leave 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground hey !
    There’s a dictatorship at the bottom of Australia called “Victoriastan ” , our glorious leader will not allow gas extraction and more than likely oil extraction , as a matter of fact he has put a 300 % tax on the extraction of coal .
    And is currently closing down a coal fired power station that supplies 25% to our state , that will teach those nasty fossil fuel users a lesson .
    All hail Daniel Andrews the supreme and glorious leader of the soon to be renamed state of “Dumbfukistan” .

  14. How many liberals or lefties have given up their use of fossil fuels? Well that would be none of them.

  15. This Arthurian quest for the “Holy Grail” of sustainable energy will leave behind the people that depend on affordable energy.

    Maybe I should qualify that. Nothing wrong with finding a genuinely unlimited source of energy that will always be cheap and never depleted (Isn’t that what they imply when they say “sustainable”?). But to ignore what is there and available until someone discovers dilithium crystals, a naquidah generator or a zero point module is, well, science gone fiction.
    At the price of reality. And those who live in it.

  16. Unfortunately, “fossil-fuel-friendly” Barak Obama, via executive order in his last few days in office, made it illegal to produce oil from most of the Green River Formation.

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil with only half of it being recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions. 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil is roughly equivalent to all the proven reserves in the world.

    • I do not think any President can prevent the next President from reversing any policy enacted by the first President.
      Obama threw a lot of monkey wrenches on his way out the door, but he will not have the last word.

  17. Trudeau is wrong. Bipartisan support in Australia has stopped drilling for oil and gas. We now have a major gas shortage. Now the fight is on to stop new coal mines. So Australia no longer has enough energy.
    Very quickly our Australian economy is dying. Our Conservative and Left politicians can’t see it.

    • And voters keep voting for more of the same. But one day the voters will wake up, and the politicians will follow. That’s the way it goes.

      It’s inefficient, but it’s democracy. Ultimately it’s more efficient than other political systems.

      • The voters vote for the politician that promises them the most free stuff.
        The rest of it is just window dressing.

    • Here is a true story I will let out of the bag. Justin’s father, the former PM of Canada was flying from the Maritimes region of Canada back to the capital. He decided to land at Loring Air Force Base (SAC) in Maine to take on fuel. SAC bases are not FBO’s and there were other very nearby facilities that could accommodate them as this was clearly not an emergency. Pierre Trudeau ordered the pilot to land there anyway. He landed and was gosh darn Lucky that he wasn’t shot down.

      The base commander ordered him and the crew held at their “facilities” until they were cleared by Border Patrol located about 8 miles away in Fort Fairfield, Maine. The PM and crew were held (intentionally) for several hours until the the Border Patrol crew arrived. After some time they were given fuel and departed never to make that mistake again.

      The moral of this story is: Never let power go to your head based on your position in someone else house. Now some advice to Mr. Trudeau (may I remind him of the 3 amigo’s summit last year), that you are more than welcome to take all the illegal immigrants you want as long as you keep them there.

    • Uadiale, Urbán, Carvel, Lange, Rein. Overview of Problems and Solutions in Fire Protection Engineering of Wind Turbines, Fire Safety Science-Proceedings Of The Eleventh International Symposium, International Association For Fire Safety Science, 2014, 986-7. http://www.iafss.org/publications/fss/11/983/view/fss_11-983.pdf

      Lake Bonney, Tantanoola, Australia, 2006
      The Lake Bonney Wind Farm (also known as Canunda Wind Farm) developed by Infigen Energy is one of Southern Australia’s largest wind energy project in terms of generating capacity. The project was developed in three stages and has a total of 112 turbines giving a combined capacity of 278.5 MW. On January 22nd, 2006 one of the turbines caught fire during a heat wave. The incident led to the shutdown of the farm, leaving some 63,000 homes without electricity. The Border Watch newspaper reported that some 80,000 ha of national park were destroyed by a wildfire ignited by the turbine debris. Dozens of fire fighters rushed to the scene to contain the fire, backed by the efforts of two water bomber aircrafts.
      Investigation into the cause of the fire found that the cause was an electrical failure within the turbine nacelle. Additionally, the accident resulted in a downtime with dozens of turbines on the farm shut down. The Vestas turbine which cost about €2.2 million was completely destroyed, but the total loss incurred by this accident far exceeds the cost of the turbine.

      See article for further case studies.

  18. What I find interesting is that even when there is big War on, somehow the oil keeps flowing and the pumps keep working and the pipelines keep working and the oil tankers still show up to move that oil. ISIS made millions shipping oil out of their territories.

    There is too much money to be made to stop it.

    Saddam blowing up the wells in Kuwait is another issue but the effort given into putting out those well fires demonstrates the same point clearly enough. The oil must flow because it is black gold.

    The only thing that stops the oil flowing is socialist economies.

    Because the ordinary workers don’t make any money. Somebody gets to make the money while it is still flowing but it ain’t the pump workers, the tanker drivers, the pipeline workers or the people holding a gun to their head telling them to keep working. None of them are getting paid enough. So everyone stops working, even the guys with the guns. Which is why socialism does not work in a microcosm. .

    • Witness Venezuela.

      If Scotland should gain independence, then you’d have another example, ie the Venezuela of the north.

      Norway has avoided becoming a Venezuela because it has had such a long history of making money the old fashioned way, by working hard in a harsh environment, and the wisdom to understand that its North Sea windfall won’t last forever.

      • Social cohesion also helps, in that it motivates individuals to get off the dole as quickly as they can, so that they aren’t a burden to their fellow citizens.
        Once that breaks down, so does socialism.
        Socialism contains within it, the seeds of it’s own destruction.

  19. Folks, Trudeau has no intention of following through with any pipeline of oil and gas project. His game is death by delay. It matters not what comes out of his mouth. These projects will not happen while he is PM.

    • You don’t appear to be misreading some fundamental dynamics of Canadian Federal/Provincial politics.

      If the Trudeau Libs try to throttle Western Canada’s oil and gas wealth by dragging the greenie feet, not only will the national economy suffer across the board [ Western oil and gas puts a awful lot of $$ into the economy], but he might well succeed in earnest where Trudeau Sr only nearly succeeded 35 years ago – which is breaking up the country. Already Premier Wall in Saskatchewan has told Junior to stuff his national carbon tax, Notley’s NDP socialists are toast in the next election and even in goody-goody gumdrops British Columbia the NDP wants/needs the pipelines to happen [union jobs, you know].

      As I pointed out above, populism is part and parcel of Western Canadian politics at all levels and Western alienation is alive and well right under the surface: with Ontario now a “have not” the only “have” provinces left in the Federal equilization scheme are the Western ones, and westerners are well aware that while they foot the bills they are grossly underrepresented politically [ the Maritimes with 1.8MM people have more seats in Ottawa than the 8 MM in BC plus AB.

      Hardnosed, Western Canada would survive losing the rest. The rest would not survive losing SK, AB and BC. Even muddle-minded Junior knows that.

  20. “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

    I would nominate Australian politicians and greens for that particular “leaving the oil in the ground” Oscar.

    We mightn’t have 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground although considering the size of a couple of our almost completely unexplored shale deposits it is possible that we might have such resources of shale oil.

    However due to our propensity to elect fully unqualified technologically and socially elitist imbeciles to run our nation and going by their outright stupidity in paying enormous sums of the tax payer’s and energy consumers OPM to a whole raft of renewable energy scammers to put up useless turbines and solar cells whilst we keep in the ground some of the world’s largest deposits of high grade coal or sell it overseas but refuse to use it ourselves due to the politicians truly crazy ideological based stupidity.

    And then cry tears of blood when we get massive state wide power failures as we run short of energy due to the base load coal fired generators no longer being able to compete against the grossly protected and subsidised turbine and solar scammers.

    We Australians are probably amongst the most naive and stupid voters on the planet to continue electing such abjectly imbecilic politicians who have clearly demonstrated through their rejection of our immense resources of coal as a major factor in our own energy supply system, they would quite happily leave a couple hundreds of billions of barrels of oil in the ground if it “fought climate change” [ sarc/ ]

    • You left out solar CSP, the certifiably wrong tech if competitively bid against most any other energy source including low bidder utility solar pv.

  21. Please don’t drill or frac the Green River Formation. Where would college geology students find fish fossils? [sarc]

  22. A serious problem here in Canada is that Trudeau is evidently dedicated to wickedly high carbon taxes, so while he is dedicated to mining the tar sands he’s also going to carbon tax so high that he’ll destroy the opportunity and the Canadian economy at the same time. Already a major oil company is pulling out as a result… doh. You really can’t have it both ways Trudeau as economics is a harsh mistress indeed.

    • Oh, actually it seems that seven companies are pulling out… due to a number of factors that includes the “stronger policies to fight climate change”.

      “Last week brought big news that Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s largest multinational oil companies, would sell off its Canadian tar sands assets. .. Shell’s withdrawal from the tar sands is the latest move in a growing trend in Canada’s oil industry: the world’s largest oil companies are retreating from the tar sands, as low oil prices, stronger policies to fight climate change, and the accelerating global shift to renewable energy make the tar sands uneconomical.”

      • There’s always lots of “bottom feeders” ready and waiting to go after the majors’ leftovers.

      • pwl,
        Don’t believe any article that calls the oil sands tar sands. Use of the word tar indicates an ignorance of what Tar actually is or an intentional effort to characterize the oil deposits as something “bad”.
        Check out my posting above to realize that lots of oil production will continue from the Alberta oil sands, new investments will be limited until the price of oil rises which it inevitably will.
        Companies are required by law to consider proven reserves based on the economics to recover. Anyone who has been in the oil business realizes that some day the price will go up and the calculation will increase the proven reserves because it is based on current price not technical recovery of oil.

        THe calculation has meaning as to the current value of the company, not the potential assets as the price of crude rises as more oil is classified as recoverable at higher prices. I told my broker several months ago that the price of ExxoMobil will fall as production increases (and it has) which I expect under Trump. Oil companies make more money when oil is scarce than when it is plentiful, simple economics. Exxon made the highest profits when there was fear of running out of oil.

  23. There are too many jobs and too much tax revenue associated with Canada’s oil sands for any Canadian administration to pass up, and no one in that country would disagree that if careful environmental standards are applied to fossil fuel extraction, everyone would benefit. Remember that Canada is the second largest nation in area in the world which means long travel distances combined with a cold climate, so few citizens are going to make major lifestyle sacrifices by reducing travelling in summer or depending on alternate energies in winter to combat climate change.

    • Paleo records show that CO2 does NOT cause GW. We can filter out the bad stuff — with a large scale fossil fuel burner— so there is no problem!!!!

  24. Dr. Pielke’s Iron Law in action: “The “iron law” simply states that while people are often willing to pay some price for achieving environmental objectives, that willingness has its limits. Such limits may fall at different thresholds for different places at at different times.”
    Leaving enough reserves in the ground to fuel a huge part of Canada’s economic future is a price no sane person would pay. Trudeau is many things, but apparently he is not a climate fool.

  25. Has this become a fossil fuel promotion site? Old junk. Time to move on to nuclear. It looks like all the fossil fuel boys are the real reason we don’t have nuclear. Love to talk about energy density of renewables but never want to talk about energy density of nuclear.

  26. See the think about coal is , I can give it to the kids to play with , I can line my driveway with it , I can compress it and make a floor or even a building with it , if it gets all over my hands just a simple wash with water and it’s gone .
    You can run a car on it as well , they did back in the 40’s .
    If the container carrying the coal splits open you can just shovel it into another container and all this without the need for lead underwear .

  27. The purpose of the global warming scare is to reduce the value of fossil fuels.

    The hidden agenda being to reduce any political leverage of the Arab oil states, thus reducing the likelihood of a recurrence of the bargaining power the Arabs had several decades ago with regards the disputed territories in the Middle East. The same can apply to Russia’s commercial ascendancy.

    And to control any possible upswing of demand due to falling prices…impose a carbon tax.

  28. The joke up here is that “We all hoped he would get his dad’s brains and his mom’s looks but he got everything from mommy. We are so screwed.”

    That said he either had a moment of sanity (think blind squirrel finding a nut) or he realized the amount of tax dollars he would have to do without.

  29. Alberta oilsands production outlook bright despite gloomy headlines

    “In its budget announced Thursday, the Alberta government forecasts oilsands output will rise from 2.5 million bpd in the 2016-17 fiscal year to 3.3 million bpd in 2019-20.

    Dunn says oilsands companies have dramatically cut operating costs per barrel over the last two years while oil prices have been low, and although it seems counterintuitive, one of the best ways to do that is by producing more barrels.

    That’s why Canadian Natural Resources is buying most of Royal Dutch Shell’s oilsands assets while continuing to grow production at its Horizon oilsands mining project, Dunn said.”

  30. At $50/bbl, 173 billion barrels is worth a lot of dollars… both US and Canadian.

    At $50/bbl new development of oil sands cannot make money as an investment. It’s only “profitable” if you ignore all the capital sunk in the past.

    • Proved reserves aren’t new developments and sunk costs are always ignored for existing production.

      Adjusting for the factors outlined above, IHS estimates that based on the market conditions in January 2016, the cash cost to produce a barrel of oil in the oil sands on WTI basis ranged a few dollars below $30/bbl to just above $40/bbl. Although most oil sands production fell in the lower end of this range, many oil sands operations would have still struggled just to cover the day-to-day cash cost to produce and market a barrel of oil. And this does not include the costs of covering periodic maintenance, corporate overhead or debt payments.


      $50/bbl keeps the dilbit flowing.

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