• A new study by IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates ranks Canada as the world’s second largest holder of recoverable oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia, based on technological advances in the oil sands. The study states that Canada is an increasingly important part of global energy security and is now the number one foreign supplier of oil to the United States. The IHS study ranks Canada fourth out of the top 15 countries in the world, with the potential to increase oil production through the next decade. The study also noted the rate of technological innovation in the oil sands in recent years has been substantial and that improvements will continue.
  • Imperial Oil announced that its Board of Directors has approved the first phase of its Kearl oil sands project located North-East of Fort McMurray, Alberta, estimated to cost $8 billion. Construction can now begin on the plant which is expected to produce more than 300,000 bbls/day of bitumen starting in 2012. A planned second phase of the Kearl project is expected to get underway three years later with a third and a fourth phase set for even further in the future.

The Government of Alberta has stated its support of a biotechnological research team to examine the potential to reduce the use of water and natural gas in oil-sands extraction and to improve tailings pond management. The research team, organized through Genome Alberta, will examine reserves for microbes that exist naturally in oil sands and coal seams with a view to how such microbes are able to naturally breakdown hydrocarbons.

  • Devon Energy Corporation announced that it has started injecting steam into the final pair of wells at its Jackfish oil sands project in March. Production from all 24 well pairs reached 29,000 bpd of oil in March and the company expects to reach its capacity of 35,000 bpd of oil in the second or third quarter of 2009. Notably, no fresh water is used in steam production at Jackfish.