Oil sands critical to U.S. energy supply — naturally enviros on a jihad against

Canada’s oil sands will become the largest single source of imported oil to the United States this year, and could supply more than a third of America’s foreign oil by 2030, under an aggressive growth scenario that would have to overcome labour shortages and environmental concerns, an influential U.S. think tank said Wednesday.

The growing volume of Canadian oil sands imports “emphasizes the importance they have attained as a supply source for the United States,” Daniel Yergin, Cambridge, Mass.-based chairman of energy research firm IHS CERA, said in releasing a new report on the controversial Alberta oil projects.

Canada is already the largest source of imports for the U.S. market. But as conventional Canadian production declines and oil sands volumes grow, those non-conventional supplies are becoming increasingly critical.

In the third quarter of 2009, oil sands imports to the United States hit one million barrels a day for the first time, of total Canadian exports of 1.9 million. This year, IHS CERA expects oil sands producers to average 1.08 million barrels a day in sales to the U.S., eclipsing imports from both Mexico and Saudi Arabia, which will be declining or flat.

In the report, IHS CERA director Jackie Forrest projects production in the oil sands will grow from 1.35 million barrels a day last year, to as many as 5.7 million barrels a day by 2030 – a figure that would represent 36 per cent of anticipated American imports.  …

The IHS CERA report comes as environmental groups continue their campaign against the oil sands. Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council argued in a report released Wednesday that the development of Alberta’s “tar sands” represents … a “global disaster” because it will “all but guarantee the failure of efforts to combat global warming.”  …

The U.S. State Department has approved pipeline expansion from the oil sands into the U.S. market, saying the Alberta source was critical to U.S. energy security and its efforts to reduce dependence on Middle East oil, Mr. Pumphrey noted. However, the administration also backs climate change legislation that could impose significant additional costs on refiners that process heavy-oil imports which produce more emissions when processed.”  “Oil sands on track to be biggest source of U.S. oil imports

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