Re: salvation from tar pits?

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Wed Jun 30 2004 - 05:24:58 EDT

Walt wrote:

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?

My impression from talking with energy company execs is that they will do their best to provide the world with the products it demands as long as they can do so at a profit and without unacceptable political repercussions. So it's a foregone conclusion that companies are going to develop the tar sands whether or not that's the wisest course in the long run. Major oil companies have been fiddling around with just such development, and smaller companies have actually been producing oil from tar sands, for several decades.

It's not as clear that this country's vast deposits of oil shale will ever be exploited, even though prices will almost certainly rise to the point where such development will become profitable. There'll be tremendous hue and cry from environmentalists, who--incidentally--so far don't seem to be getting worked up over the imminent devastation of those remote parts of Alberta.

One positive about the tar sands area of Alberta is that it gets lots of rainfall. It's actually swampy there in the summer. This probably means that restoration after strip mining will be relatively quick. Oil shale areas in the US, in contrast, get little rainfall.


Received on Wed Jun 30 05:45:56 2004

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