Re: salvation from tar pits?

From: wallyshoes <>
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 13:10:13 EDT

Kenneth Piers wrote:

> REPLY: Glenn and Al are both right in their comments about heavy oil (Alberta
> or Venezuelan tar) - these sources will very likely never serve as a meaningful
> replacement for conventional oil. Alberta is struggling to produce 700K bbl/d
> right now from their tar sands. Not mentioned in these numbers is the amount of
> petroleum energy going into producing this 700K barrels of oil. In 1998 Jean
> Leherrere estimated that the EROEI (energy return over energy invested) is
> about 1.5/1 for the Alberta tar sand operations. So for these 700K bbl we are
> expending the equivalent of something like 475K bbl/d of oil equivalent - a lot
> of it in the form of natural gas. (Alberta is now in the planning process of
> building a new natural gas pipeline which will carry gas from the Mackenzie
> delta in the north simply to supply the natural gas needs to produce oil from
> the tar sands).
> So this 700K bbl/d represents a net gain of only about 225K bbl/d in petroleum
> resources. This 225K bbl/d represents about 0.28% of the current world daily
> oil demand.
> An additional consideration has to do with greenhouse gas production.
> Expending so much petroleum energy simply to produce a small increment of new
> petroleum bodes poorly for our need to control greenhouse gas emissions - first
> we burn 475 bbl/d to produce 700 bbl/d of oil. Of this 700 bbl, 475 bbl will be
> needed to produce the next 700 bbl and so forth. 2/3 of the energy being used
> is going for energy production.
> Finally we need to note that Venezuelan heavy oils are laced with sulfur and
> heavy metals and will require extensive refining before being useable. This is
> likely to reduce the EROEI still further. Related to this was a story in the
> weekend NY Times
> (
> about China's increasing use of high-sulfur oil which is cheaper than sweet
> oil. Burning such fuels in automobiles with catalytic converters ruins the
> converters and growing atmospheric sulfur emissions are leading to sharp
> declines in urban air quality in China.
> It is hard to see any "magic bullets" on the horizon in considering the energy
> equation.
> ken piers

Although I used hyperbole in my post, I see 2 things worth noting.

1.) Even something that is a fractional % of the world's demand should not be
discouraged. If that logic were followed, then one should shut down individual oil
wells one at a time.

2.) The point behind the article at Wired was that people are working the problem
and there is some hope to increase production if technological innovations can be

Rather than abandon hope in such things, are they not worth pursuing?


Walt Hicks <>

In any consistent theory, there must
exist true but not provable statements.
(Godel's Theorem)

You can only find the truth with logic
If you have already found the truth
without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
Received on Mon Jun 28 13:24:30 2004

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