2010-04-12 Tar Sands: Speech by Marcel Coutu. Canada Stocks Rise on SinoPec Oil Sands Investment. Now the Clearwater River.
“ Don’t believe those who say Canada’s oil sands are one of the world’s biggest sources of pollution. They are trying to scare you while, frankly, what they are really doing is fundraising. “ (Marcel Coutu, Chairman of Syncrude) (Item #1)
- SPEECH BY CANADIAN OIL SANDS (SYNCRUDE) CEO ON CROSS-CANADA TOUR. IN REGINA April 13.
- APRIL 12 NEWS “AN AGREEMENT BY CHINA PETROLEUM & CHEMICAL CORP TO INVEST $4.65 BILLION IN OIL SANDS”
- LONG LAKE TAR SANDS PROJECT SEEKS WATER FROM CLEARWATER RIVER
If I only had the information below I would despair. How can we ever hope to beat another $4.65 billion dollar investment in the tar sands? (Item #2) The northern parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta will be dead zones sooner than they would otherwise be. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) reported in 2003 that some areas of northern Saskatchewan were already past critical load limits from acid rain from the Tar Sands. Imagine how extensive the dying of the north is now, with 7 more years of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide in increasing quantities. Now add a $4.65 billion dollar new investment.
The way they get away with it is by “regulating” individual smoke-stacks. Don’t look at outcomes (cumulative impact). Cumulative impact would shut them down.
It becomes clear that targets for greenhouse gas reductions in Canada are nothing more than make-you-dummies-feel-good propaganda.
Also, they are now to start the emptying out of the Clearwater River (item #3). It is one of the very few and last wild rivers in Canada. A treasure with “heritage” status. The people who make the money really don’t care.
Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thieves, internal and external.
I don’t despair because – – see the next email. First Nations chiefs have taken a strong stand on northern Alberta. And another group of First Nations people have taken very strong positions on the West Coast (against pipelines from Fort McMurray to the Coast for oil tanker shipment to China and elsewhere – the Northern Gateway Pipeline).
I would feel hopeless, except that there is incredible work being done on the tar sands by people in Alberta, in Canada, and from around the whole globe. We have great support; we could not do it alone.
I wonder how many people in Saskatchewan (and Alberta) realize that we are no different from the other countries whose mineral resource has led to eventual devastation for the local inhabitants. In the end we are all the same.
There is nothing special about the fact that we happen to live in Canada. Appropriation of resources one way or the other. I think of the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta and the execution of their leader, Ken Saro Wiwa, by state leaders who were bought by the oil companies, by the money. Drop bombs on Iraq. Quislings in Canada.
I am happy that people among us have pitched in to help in some small way, the struggles of local people in other countries. It would not be so good to say we need help (which we do) if we have never been there for other people in their time of need.
Remind me during a lull: corporations are created by our laws. WE can change our laws.
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(1) SPEECH BY CANADIAN OIL SANDS (SYNCRUDE) CEO ON CROSS-CANADA TOUR. IN REGINA April 13.
This is the speech Marcel Coutu gave in Nova Scotia. There is good material for anyone wanting to rebut through letters-to-editor. etc. But most of all, it’s just educational to read what gets said and what doesn’t. Coutu was in Saskatoon today. Unfortunately the information was received too late to do anything.
Some of the tar sands targeted for the $4.65 billion investment in item #2 are likely on the Saskatchewan side of the border. Marcel Coutu’s visit to Saskatoon and Regina is important.
Here’s who he met with, followed by his N.S. speech.
The Saskatchewan meetings are with:
Saskatoon, SK (April 12)
10:00 a.m.—John Gormley Live Show
12:00 p.m.—CTV News at Noon interview
12:00 p.m. – University of Saskatchewan Luncheon— The University of Saskatchewan hosts a luncheon for Marcel and key staff and faculty to discuss economic opportunities between Saskatoon and the oil sands, the economic impact of the oil sands and the industry’s ongoing environmental improvements.
1:30 p.m.— University of Saskatchewan Bear Pit Session—The University of Saskatchewan hosts a bear pit session between engineering students and Marcel to openly discuss the economic impacts and environmental responsibility for the oil sands economic impacts and environmental responsibility for the oil sands economic impacts, career opportunities and environmental challenges and opportunities in the oil sands industry.
(INSERT: students are in the middle of exams. It’s hard to imagine that a “bearpit” happened. I suspect this is hype.)
4:00 p.m. –SREDA and NSBA Session—SREDA and NSBA host a session between Marcel and key business leaders to discuss the future of the oil sands industry, environmental impacts and economic opportunities in Saskatchewan. Open to the Public and media.
April 13, 2010
10:00 a.m. – Frontier Centre Roundtable
12:00 p.m. – Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce Luncheon
Frontier Centre Roundtable –The Frontier Centre hosts a luncheon at the Regina Radisson Plaza Hotel Saskatchewan for Marcel and key oil and business influencers to discuss economic opportunities between Regina and the oil sands, the economic impact of the oil sands and the industry’s environmental improvements.
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and Regina and District Chamber of Commerce Luncheon – The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce host a luncheon to discuss environmental impacts, changes in the oil sands industry and economic opportunities in Regina. Open to the Media.
RSVP at: www.reginachamber.com
View the live Webcast.
Canadian Oil Sands
OTANS Speech for Marcel Coutu
Draft: Rev Jan 11/2010
The Impact of Canada’s Oil Sands
1. Why I’m here
I’m Marcel Coutu, CEO of Canadian Oil Sands and Chairman of Syncrude, one of Canada’s largest and oldest oil sands operations.
I’m traveling across the country, talking to Canadians about the oil sands because of the national importance of this resource to all of us.
The development of Canada’s oil sands has implications for our energy security, our economy and quality of life, and the environment.
An industry of our size and scope cannot operate without having some impact on the environment.
I am aware that Canadians are very concerned about protecting the environment, and ensuring we have clean water, fresh air and natural landscapes for future generations.
So, much of my discussion will focus on how oil sands operations impact the environment, and what we are doing to reduce that impact.
We’re not perfect but we are committed to continually doing better and we are very open to suggestions on how we can further improve.
I’m not just here to talk — I want to hear your opinions and concerns. And I’m ready to carry messages back to Ottawa, Calgary and Fort McMurray!
I’m going to begin by providing an overview of the oil sands, and then tell you about the economic impact they have on Canada, right here in Nova Scotia, and perhaps on your business (you).
2. Oil Sands 101
Oil sand is composed of sand, mineral-rich clays, water and bitumen.
o Bitumen is a thick (we say “heavy”) oil with the consistency of peanut butter
o At Syncrude, we upgrade bitumen into a light, sweet crude oil
o Canada’s oil sands are estimated to contain 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen, with more than 170 billion barrels that can be recovered today using existing technology, which makes Canada the second largest oil resource country in the world. That is by far the biggest future source of oil accessible to the free market and six times larger than the conventional oil reserves of Canada and the U.S combined.
We develop the oil sands in two ways:
o Large-scale mining and processing operations, like Syncrude, represent about 20% of total oil sands potential.
o About 80% of the resource is too deep to mine and needs to be recovered through what is known as in situ operations, which is similar to conventional oil development because it involves drilling wells. A first well injects heat, usually steam, into the reservoir and a second parallel well pumps the liquefied bitumen to the surface.
Slide:While I’m sure many of you have seen elements of mining operations before, I thought I’d begin with a short video clip from Energy Tomorrow as an overview of the Syncrude mining operation.
Play 3:07 video clip.
Truck and shovel shot. Syncrude is a large scale mining operation where we remove the overlying soil and mine the oil-bearing sand with large electric shovels and trucks. The evolution of our industry and this truck & shovel operation is an innovation story of its own.
Commercial oil sand is generally 7% or more bitumen saturated, along with water, clay and minerals, including sand of course.
Once we separate the oil from the sand, we’re left with bitumen that looks like this. Cut to shot of liquid bitumen
It’s not yet ready to put into the gas tank of your car or to fuel an airplane, so we have to pipe it to a plant called an upgrader, where it’s treated and turned into light, synthetic oil.
This we sell into several markets, much of it piped into the U.S. as feedstock for their refineries, where it is turned into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other products.
3. Rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated
Now I’m sure you’ve seen in the media that things really slowed down in the oil sands when the economic downturn hit in 2008. The oil sands are a higher cost, more capital-intensive source of crude oil than conventional sources. The offsetting benefit, of course, is the very low exploration risk and the extremely long-life nature of the resource. For example, at current design capacity, Syncrude could produce for close to 100 years.
Obviously margins are squeezed when the price of oil drops from almost $150 a barrel to below $40. The option of simply shutting in an oil sands facility is not very practical, so all existing oil sands operations have continued without interruption.
Many new projects that were in the development phase, however, were delayed.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, “rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated”.
Now, in more recent months, quite a number of expansions and new projects have been re-sanctioned, such as Imperial Oil’s Kearl project and Suncor’s Firebag expansion.
At Syncrude, we are in the preliminary design phases for two future stages of growth to boost production from our current capacity of 350,000 barrels per day.
So, as you can see, our industry remains very optimistic about the future, and where the tightening supply and price of oil is going. Ours in an industry that requires long term vision and high-risk investment; while short term fluctuations in the price of oil do affect our profitability, they do not deter us from pursuing our plan to provide a nationally secure and environmentally responsible source of oil for many decades to come.
4. The economic impact of Canada’s oil sands
There is little question that the oil sands have been and will continue to be one of the main drivers of the Canadian economy, and by no means just in Alberta.
Slide: Since start-up in 1978, Syncrude has paid governments more than $10 billion in royalties, taxes and other charges. In 2008 alone, we spent $2.4 billion.
Due to the multiplier effect, every dollar invested in the oil sands creates about $8 in economic activity, mostly in Canada.
We have about 5,500 employees plus another 1,500 contractors working at our Syncrude facility. We’re also one of the largest employers of Aboriginals in Canada.
The oil sands are the largest job generator in Canada, affecting the jobs of more than 112,000 people across the country.
Slide: According to a study released by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) this past July, over the next 25 years the oil sands will have an economic impact of over $1.7 trillion on Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – that’s $68 billion every year for the next 25 years! To put this in context, Canada’s entire GDP in 2008 was about $1.3 trillion.
They also predict the oil sands will create over 500,000 jobs per year on average over 25 years.
While it is true Alberta will benefit with the lion’s share, you’ll be surprised to learn what CERI projects for Nova Scotia; you’re expected to receive an economic impact of over $3.25 billion, generating over 63,000 person years of employment over the 25 years; that’s over 2,500 jobs a year on average over those 25 years.
Don Thompson, head of the Oil Sands Developers Group, tells of meeting a Halifax manufacturer of garden tools… he says his highest sales come from a big Fort McMurray store… so when Fort McMurray is growing, Halifax benefits.
So now you’re asking yourself “how can I get my share of that?”
5. Opportunities in Nova Scotia
As I mentioned, Canada’s oil sands represent the world’s second largest oil reserves and produce half of Canada’s oil. Due to the size and scope of the oil sands sector, it’s not a stretch to say we source materials and people from all over the world.
The major oil sands projects, like the major projects in Atlantic Canada, tend to be administered through large EPCM contracts that bring together experts and suppliers from many companies in many regions. An illustration is CNRL’s Horizon Project, that employed workers and acquired expertise and materials from across Canada.
In Atlantic Canada alone, CNRL awarded four contracts worth about $150 million in New Brunswick, eight contracts worth $2.2 million in Nova Scotia and 21 contracts worth more than $275 million to Newfoundland companies.
On the people side, the Maritime influence on Fort McMurray is well known, but I couldn’t even guess how many families receive income from our industry. It’s equally difficult to quantify the economic impact on the service and materials side.
However, I’ve already told you that everyone in the room is an oil sands owner. So every barrel of oil we produce at Syncrude pays into the Alberta and federal treasuries, and last year Alberta sent about $21 billion net to Ottawa in transfer payments which benefited all Canadians.
How many people here know someone who has worked for or provided services to the oil and gas industry inWestern Canada. I would hazard that virtually every company working in eastern Canada’s onshore or offshore oil and gas business is either an oil sands participant or has benefited from the R&D, technological advances and ripple effect of the capital investment in Canada’s oil sands.
While I don’t have a complete membership list at hand, I have met people from your Board today whose companies are well known in Calgary and Edmonton – Chairman Mark Healy’s firm provides EPMC services in Alberta, Jacques Whitford, now part of Stantec, is a highly regarded environmental consultant in Alberta, David Aplin does significant recruiting into Alberta, Kuehne & Nagel has busy offices providing shipping logistics services in Calgary and Edmonton, and Dalhousie University is a key educational partner of Syncrude’s.
Frankly, I suspect you have a better sense than me of how you participate in developing Canada’s oil sands – and why you should be doing more.
Your website says OTANS’ mandate is to support the maximization of Atlantic Canadian participation in the supply of both goods and services to the offshore/onshore oil and gas industry. That includes identifying items sourced from abroad that came through or from this region. OTANS also has an advocacy role, and that includes ensuring that policies – be they fiscal, environmental or dealing with training and workplace safety – be consistent and beneficial to all Canadians.
6. Canada’s oil supply – today and tomorrow
Slide: Canada’s oil sands produce about 1.3 million barrels TODAY, about 50% of our country’s total oil production. This will be a bigger percentage in the future because of the irreversible decline of conventional sources of light oil.
97% of Canada’s future known sources of oil are locked within the oil sands.
The oil sands industry is shared by all Canadians; they are a national treasure and companies like Syncrude are the operators that produce that resource on behalf of all Canadians – not just Albertans or a small group of oil & gas executives.
So ask yourself: where would you like your oil to come from, the people sitting next to you, who are in fact my landlords, or from foreign sources some of whom may not be aligned with Canadians on such important issues as environmental stewardship, technological excellence, or human rights?
Every Canadian, through their elected governments, has a say in how Canada’s oil sands resource is developed. Consequently, it is your responsibility to learn the truth about how we can go forward together to secure this crucial long-term supply in a responsible manner. The lifestyle we enjoy today will be modified by the decisions we and international forces make regarding global energy supply, energy investment and – most of all – energy consumption.
The oil sands are an asset for all of us.
7. ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: How we’re moving the ball
Don’t believe those who say Canada’s oil sands are one of the world’s biggest sources of pollution. They are trying to scare you while, frankly, what they are really doing is fundraising.
Let me set the record straight by saying Syncrude and our peers have demonstrated you can be a profitable oil sands operator and still be socially and environmentally responsible. We work every day to balance what we call “the 3 Es”: Energy Supply, Environmental Stewardship and Economic Contribution.
We have constantly moved the ball forward on environmental performance and will continue to do so because, like you, we want to preserve our natural landscapes, and have the clean air and water we all need to survive.
8A LAND: THE FOOTPRINT
First, let’s talk about land, and specifically surface disturbance and the boreal forest. Some pundits claim we’re mining an area the size of Florida. This is utter nonsense.
Map slide: This map shows Canada’s boreal forest, covering some 3 million square kilometers – from the Alaska border to the Atlantic, it’s an important part of the global ecosystem.
The purple on the map shows the size of the oil sands deposits – about 140,000 square kilometers which can’t be mixed because the oil sand is too deep. In fact, until about ten years ago, we didn’t think we could ever produce that oil economically.
The yellow shows the part that is mineable – about 4,800 square kilometers, or about 0.2% of Canada’s Boreal Forests.
Second Map: Of that, only about 500 square kilometers are being mined today; that’s about 10% of the size of the Halifax Regional Municipality.
If Canada’s forests are under threat, it is not from Canada’s oil sands operations.
8B LAND: RECLAMATION
Slide: Our operations are big industrial sites; early recruitment ads for Syncrude bragged that we’d moved more earth than the Panama Canal.
It takes many years and millions of dollars to return land to its natural state after mining operations, and the sheer scope of our mines means a big footprint for many years;
However, reclamation is as much a part of our operations as is mining for oil, and our licenses include details of how we must reclaim.
We are constantly seeking new ways to mitigate our impact on the land, and we strive to maintain the integrity of regional ecosystems and biodiversity
Since we began mining over 30 years ago, Syncrude has reclaimed 22% of the land disturbed, including the planting of 5 million trees, to create self-sustaining landscapes.
Syncrude invests $100 million in land reclamation every year.
This parcel of land used to be a Syncrude overburden dump for a former mine; today it is one of our most mature reclaimed areas.
Herd of Bison slide: This is a herd of around 300Wood bison thriving on reclaimed land, co-managed with the Fort McKay First Nation.
Slide: Let me start by talking about GHG emissions, perhaps the highest profile global environmental issue today.
Let me state clearly that we know that our carbon emissions are significant, but equally clearly that we have made huge strides and will do much more to reduce our emissions.
The oil sands account for about 5% of Canada’s GHG emissions or about 1/1000th of global GHG emissions.
I am sure you all know examples of announcements of a new warehouse or manufacturing facility opening near this community.
These ventures mean jobs, ranging from the people who actually work at the facility to people contracted to construct clean and maintain it; they mean local spending for materials, but also by the people who work at the facility. In short, they mean activity where there wasn’t activity before. But something else is new: the building’s heating system and perhaps assembly lines produce carbon. The staff produces carbon going to and from work, etc. etc.
So what is clearly good news in a community also unfortunately increases the carbon footprint. Little happens without energy consumption!
That’s a problem we face in the oil sands. We’re growing employment, economic activity and wealth. But because our industry is growing, the total amount of GHG emissions is growing.
Our challenge, which we’ve accepted and which we are winning, is to grow the positives – production plus jobs – while significantly reducing GHG emissions related to each incremental barrel produced. The experts call this “reducing carbon intensity” but I call it “growing better.”
Our industry is committed to growing better. We intend to reduce GHG emissions per barrel of production by improving energy efficiency and by developing new technologies. Since 1990 our industry has dramatically reduced emissions by about 33% per barrel, so we are demonstrating we can do it.
Slide: In addition to reducing GHG emissions, we are committed to protecting air quality. We will design and operate our facilities to ensure that regional air quality continues to exceed provincial air quality objectives. Air quality in the oil sands region is carefully monitored and consistently tests as good or better than the air in all of Canada’s major cities.
As an example, at Syncrude we are investing $1.6 billion to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 60%. This investment does not add a single barrel of oil to our production, but it does demonstrate we are serious about our role in reducing emissions.
CAPP slide on GHG footprint across North America: This demonstrates why the oil sands cannot be singled out as the only solution to GHG management. As you can see, the biggest problem, represented by the red circles, is coal-fired power plants in the U.S., followed by the same kind of coal plants in Canada.
Keep in mind this map only shows the GHG emissions from power plants and the oil sands; about 80% of total emissions come from consumption of energy created by all of us as we drive our cars, fly on planes and heat our homes.
Athabasca River: This is the beautiful Athabasca River in Northern Alberta; like you, I don’t want to see this river or any other damaged, leaving a poor legacy for future generations.
Close up of river: The Athabasca has cut through oil sands deposits for centuries; natives used the bitumen to waterproof their canoes.
There is oil in the Athabasca, and it’s there naturally.
All existing and approved oil sands projects will withdraw less than 3% of the average flow of the Athabasca River. During winter, withdrawals are restricted to 5% of these low flow periods. The Athabasca River is one of the least utilized river basins in Alberta.
Syncrude does not return any of our process water back into the Athabasca; it is all recycled; in fact 88% of the water we use is recycled.
The source of that recycled water is our tailings ponds. Syncrude’s tailings ponds are constructed as dams with strict government regulations and monitoring. Integral to the design of our tailings ponds are a series of interceptor ditches and sumps to ensure any seepage or run-off water from rain or snow is collected and pumped back into the pond. We also monitor ground water movement with a thorough ground water monitoring program.
The Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP) is a multistakeholder environmental monitoring program that conducts studies upstream and downstream of the oil sands region. They have not detected any measurable impacts to the Athabasca River ecosystem.
In addition, Alberta Environment has been monitoring water use and water quality in the oil sands regions since the early 1970s. Again, they have not detected any impact from oil sands operations on water or sediment quality.
8E ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: CONCLUSIONS
Slide: Our goal is to keep moving ahead with new technologies that further reduce the impact our operations have on the environment, be it water, land or air.
Syncrude is one of Canada’s largest R&D companies, investing about $50 million a year in seeking new and better ways to operate.
On a personal note let me say that as concerns about the environment rise and worries about having a secure supply of oil for the future increase, a big part of the answer will be energy conservation.
Our modern lifestyles use far more energy than my parents dreamed possible and by far the most carbon dioxide emissions come from our personal consumption, not the production of oil, natural gas, and coal; if we all do our part to conserve energy in our lives, we can participate in the reduction of CO2 emissions. It is, after all, a shared responsibility that won’t be solved with finger pointing.
8. WRAP UP: Thank you and let’s talk
We know that a global shift to renewable and alternative energy, including wind, solar, geothermal and many others, is underway. I embrace this shift, but recognize that it will take time, and a great deal of investment. Today fossil fuels, including oil, gas and coal, supply about 88% of our energy.
Slide of bridge: To get from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow requires a time bridge, which the oil sands can provide.
Canada’s oil sands are truly a national treasure; they will provide a secure supply of oil to support our quality of life for many generations, while providing jobs and economic prosperity across our great nation.
Closing slide: Thank you for your time and attention. I didn’t just come here to talk, so I’d like to hear your thoughts, and would be happy to try to answer your questions.
Q & A: questions from audience
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(1) APRIL 12 NEWS “AN AGREEMENT BY CHINA PETROLEUM & CHEMICAL CORP TO INVEST $4.65 BILLION IN OIL SANDS”
Canada Stocks Rise on SinoPec Oil Sands Investment, Greece Plan
By Matt Walcoff
April 12 (Bloomberg) — Canadian stocks gained for a third day as energy shares rallied on an agreement by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. to invest $4.65 billion in an oil sands project and gold shares rose on a European rescue package for Greece.
Canadian Oil Sands Trust, the largest owner of the Syncrude project in Alberta, climbed 5.9 percent as Sinopec agreed to buy ConocoPhillips’s 9 percent stake. Lake Shore Gold Corp., which mines in Ontario, jumped 4.5 percent after receiving an “outperform” rating from Royal Bank of Canada. . . .
“Other countries are still pouring money into Canada,” said Doug Davis, chief executive officer of Davis-Rea Ltd. in Toronto, which manages C$400 million ($399 million). “To get a positive investment in the oil sands not only stimulates investment in that whole community of stocks but also stimulates investment in Canada generally.”
Canada is the biggest supplier of oil exports to the U.S. Crude prices have rallied 20 percent since Feb. 5, boosting energy companies, which make up 26 percent of Canadian stocks by market value.
Canadian Oil Sands, which owns 37 percent of the Syncrude project, increased 5.9 percent to C$32.52, after ConocoPhillips said it agreed to sell the take. Cenovus Energy Inc., the oil company spun off from EnCana Corp. in December, advanced 2.8 percent to C$29.76.
The S&P/TSX has surged 9.7 percent since Feb. 8 as the budget crisis in Greece has come closer to a resolution. European leaders and the International Monetary Fund agreed on a 45-billion-euro ($61.2 million) bailout plan for Greece to help the country avoid a default.
“People here have been worried that if Europe falls apart that all of that will come back on us and we will be suffering,” Davis said. “If Greece is llowed to survive and do OK, there is no ricochet effect.” Gold-mining companies climbed for a fourth day. Goldcorp Inc., Canada’s second-largest producer of the metal, rose 1.4 percent to C$40.93. Red Back Mining Inc., which mines gold in Africa, gained 2.3 percent to C$22.92. Lake Shore rose 4.5 percent to C$3.24 …
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(1) LONG LAKE TAR SANDS PROJECT SEEKS WATER FROM CLEARWATER RIVER
Aprill 10, 2010
The Calgary Herald reports that, “The operator of the Long Lake oilsands project in northern Alberta has put forward a plan to tap up to 17,000 cubic metres per day from the Clearwater River.”
This Canadian Heritage River flows 295 kilometres from its headwaters at Broach Lake in northern Saskatchewan to its confluence with the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray.
“The steam-assisted gravity drainage project south of Fort McMurray, which began steaming its underground oilsands deposits in late 2008, is producing about 18,000 barrels per day, about a third of its 60,000 barrel per day goal. But it is using about 100,000 barrels of steam per day, a 5.5-to-one steam-oil ratio when its original plan, which called for no use of surface water, envisioned three-to-one over the life of the project.”
“The water project would involve building a 35-kilometre pipeline to the river before it meets up with the Athabasca River in Fort McMurray.”
“The project will need approvals from Alberta Environment, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada, Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board.”
On March 3, 2008, the Ottawa Citizen reported that, “Senior officials at Environment Canada were warned two years ago about potential economic and environmental impacts from water shortages as well as legal threats resulting from an explosion of development in the oilsands sector…(When asked about this) Environment Canada officials said they needed more time to explain what federal actions have been taken since 2006.”
A 2006 briefing note by Michael Horgan, deputy minister of Environment Canada, states, “The lack of a proper assessment of the cumulative environmental effects associated with these (tarsands) projects could result in legal challenges of federal and provincial approvals…”
As noted in the article, Randy Mikula, a senior researcher at Natural Resources Canada, says the annual water allocation for tarsands companies now stands at 523 million cubic metres, but with new projects the estimated water allocation could rise to 703 million cubic metres, which would likely lead to water restrictions for part of the year.
The full Calgary Herald article is at (link no longer valid).