oil sands

Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 06:00 by Mark Lowey, BA

Alberta could simultaneously achieve two of its biggest energy objectives – accelerating the phase-out of coal-fired power and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands crude production – using a readily available, proven technology, according to two major new studies (Figure 1) by the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) Initiative.

Expanding the use of combined heat and power (called cogeneration) technology) at steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oil sands operations would cut more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Alberta’s electrical grid – and at a lower cost – than simply replacing coal with stand alone natural gas-fired power, the studies show.


Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 23:05 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Song P. Sit, PhD, PEng

October 2016 – CESAR Scenarios
By David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC; Madhav Narendran, BSc, BA; Eric Shewchuk, BSc, P.Eng.; Song P. Sit, PhD, P.Eng.


Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - 07:56 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Bastiaan Straatman, PhD, Mark Lowey, BA

For many years, governments in Canada and Alberta have predicted a prosperous future based on sustained pricing of about $US90 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil. Such a price had been predicted to drive oil sands production to more than 5 million barrels per day by 2040, from the current level of approximately 2.3 million b/d. As a result, Alberta’s population was estimated to rise to about 6.2 million people (currently 4.1 million) by 2040 and deliver a provincial GDP of more than $380 billion per year (currently approximately $215 billion/yr).

Such high oil sands growth (HOSG) projections do not seem realistic in 2016, with WTI prices now under $US35 per barrel and Canadian bitumen discounted by at least $15 per barrel on that price – with no respite in sight. Clearly, a low oil sands growth (LOSG) projection may provide a better window on the future, especially when these projections are needed to inform economic and environmental policies, including those guiding the transformation of our energy systems to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and meet climate change commitments.


Posted on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 07:52 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Manfred Klein, BEng

On August 14, 2015, the new government in Alberta released its “Climate Leadership Discussion Document” as part of their plan to 'take more of a leadership role' in addressing climate change. CESAR researchers have been exploring cost-effective strategies to transform Alberta’s energy systems to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so over the next few months, we will post on CESARnet.ca, the results of some of our analyses.

Today’s blog is a reprint of an Op-Ed piece we published in the Globe and Mail on 22 August, 2015. It describes the integration of oil sands operations and low carbon electricity generation in the province. We see it as an important, 'Made-in Alberta' opportunity for major GHG emission reductions. Future blogs will provide more details on the assumptions and calculations behind this Op-Ed.


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