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Labour Shortage Facing Alberta Oils Sands dicussed by Alberta Energy Minister Hughes

As oil sands production increases, getting the right people to spend months at a time in remote locations north of Edmonton is an ongoing challenge for companies. Minister Hughes pointed out this is not a new phenomenon, “Alberta has a long history of needing people and capital to come from outside to develop its resources,” he said. [Read more...]

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Alberta Energy Minister Hughes Discusses Options if Keystone XL not Approved

An industry source told AOL Energy last November the two greatest challenges companies operating in Alberta’s oil sands region face are access to markets and skilled labor. Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes elaborated on these and other issues during a recent phone call.

In a scenario where the Keystone XL Pipeline is not approved by the Obama Administration, Minister Hughes said companies have lots of different options and that rail has become “compelling.” [Read more...]

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Canada Considering Nuclear Reactors in Alberta Tar Sands Fields

Like them or hate them, Alberta, Canada’s tar sands deposits of bitumen or extremely heavy crude oil, are the world’s largest. The province’s resources include the Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake deposits in the McMurray Formation, which consist of a mixture of crude bitumen, a semi-solid form of crude oil, admixed with silica sand, clay minerals, and water.

According to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration, “Canada controls the third-largest amount of proven reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela…  Canada’s proven oil reserve levels have been stagnant or slightly declining since 2003, when they increased by an order of magnitude after oil sands resources were deemed to be technically and economically recoverable. The oil sands now account for approximately 170 billion barrels, or 98 percent, of Canada’s oil reserves.”

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Lack of Pipeline Capacity results in large discounts on Alberta Oil Prices

OTTAWA — Canada risks stranding its resource bounty unless it adds new pipeline capacity to the West Coast, eastern provinces and the U.S., says Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who believes the issue will be one of the biggest items on his plate in 2013.

But building new pipelines is anything but a sure bet. There’s strong opposition from citizens, some governments and environmental groups over transporting oilsands crude and other petroleum via pipelines such as the proposed Northern Gateway project to the B.C. coast and Keystone XL in the United States.

A glut of oil from multiple continental sources, including the Alberta oilsands, and inability to move it to market due to pipeline bottlenecks is resulting in large discounts for western Canadian crude compared to North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate and international Brent prices.

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