Anyone on the look out for some good news in these times of economic uncertainty and international tension will be heartened by reports this week that Canadian oil sands centred around Northern Alberta could provide as almost half of all US crude imports by 2030. That’s obviously good news for the North American economy and for both sides of the U.S. Canadian border, as well as improving US supply security.
Oil careers and oil jobs aplenty
Well it may not offer the types of off shore oil jobs that you see advertised in the Gulf Of Mexico for example, a recent report detailing the big boost in Canadian oil sand exports to the US certainly promises a whole host of related oil careers and oil jobs. The research from IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates indicates that throughout 2010 oil sand imports from Canada’s large reserves of tar sands (or oil sands) will become the number one source of U.S. oil imports. The report goes on to predict that by 2030 oil sand imports could eventually rise to account for as much as 20-36% of U.S. oil and refined product imports. That’s a massive leap from a level of just 8% in 2009 and in real terms equates to between 3.1 mbd and 5.7 mbd by 2030.
The new expansion and exploitation of resources considered second in size only to those found in Saudi Arabia will inevitably require huge new investments in oil industry infrastructure and expertise. Research and development of new extraction methods are also crucial, particularly with regard to the special challenges involved in extracting a ‘heavy’ form of crude oil trapped in the sand and making it sufficiently fluid so that it can travel down pipelines ready for refining into gasoline and other hydrocarbon products. Investment is guaranteed to be substantial. For example, ConocoPhillips alone is committing somewhere between US$ 300 and $ 500million over the next five years in technology and in managing the environmental issues associated with the extraction.
Global oil and economic supply security
Securing a guaranteed and affordable supply of energy is an increasingly complex challenge these days, as rapidly developing nations such as India, China and Brazil compete for resources to meet their fast growing energy demands. The oil sands exploitation represents dual benefits to North America. The USA will have fast, easy and secure access to substantial amounts of new energy. This will not only guarantee the security of national energy demands for years to come with a politically stable and friendly neighbour, but there are also major economic spin offs for both Canada and the USA too.
In Canada, The Canadian Energy Research Institute has forecast that by 2020 the $ 100billion invested in oil sands development will have inspired a GDP increase of $ 885 billion, an additional 6.6 million person years’ employment and as much as $ 123billion of government revenues. The U.S. economy too will also benefit to the tune of an estimated 10,000 new construction jobs and an additional 500 permanent full-time refinery positions according the API (American Petroleum Institute), with refinery upgrades and expansions creating a whole host of new oil career opportunities.