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China eyes Canada oil, US’s energy nest egg

June 28, 2011 1 comment

thestar

CALGARY, Alberta: In the northern reaches of Alberta lies a vast reserve of oil that the U.S. views as a pillar of its future energy needs.

China, with a growing appetite for oil that may one day surpass that of the U.S., is ready to spend the dollars for a big piece of it.

The oil sands of this Canadian province are so big that they will be able to serve both of the world’s largest economies as production expands in the coming years. But that will mean building at least two pipelines, one south to the Texas Gulf Coast and another west toward the Pacific, and that in turn means fresh environmental battles on top of those already raging over the costly and energy-intensive method of extracting oil from sand.

Most believe that both will eventually be built. But if the U.S. doesn’t approve its pipeline promptly, Canada might increasingly look to China, thinking America doesn’t want a big share in what environmentalists call “dirty oil,” because they say it increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Alberta has the world’s third largest oil reserves, more than 170 billion barrels. Daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to nearly triple to 3.7 million in 2025. Overall, Alberta has more oil than Read more…