How to Know if Canadian Oil Sands is a Dirty Oil or Sound Investment?

There is much debate surrounding Canada’s oil sands. Industry supporters argue that oil derived from oil sands is much more eco-friendly in comparison to conventional offshore drilling due to the extraction process followed, but others argue that the long-run effects of this extraction method are just as damaging to the environment as the more conventional methods. This article will review the current debate, and also take a look at the arguments being presented in favor of and against oil sand extraction.

Estimates suggest that Canada is currently sitting on approximately 489 billion barrels of oil, much of which can be found in the country’s Oil Sands. With Canada already boasting several high ranking Gold Production companies, and with the current trends in oil sands investment, market indicators suggest that the country should be an attractive prospect for investors wishing to receive higher returns than Money Market Funds could provide.

A spokeswoman for Rigzone, an oil and gas industry information clearing house, states that “as oil prices continue to rise, exploration and production companies have accelerated their investment in oil sands ventures.” Could the Canadian oil sands really hold the key to the extensively-publicized fuel crisis by offering a sustainable source of oil production? Only time will tell if the current enthusiasm for oil sands will last, but for now oil production is on the rise. However, the process of refining/extracting oil from oil sands has raised some environmental concerns, despite industry’s claims that the extraction process is much more environmentally sound than conventional offshore drilling.

The American Petroleum Institute considers oil sands to be a highly valuable resource, and it also predicts that advances in technology will improve extraction methods, making obtaining crude oil from the oil sands more and more affordable and energy efficient. The Alberta Energy Research Institute backs up this view, claiming that “emissions from oil sands will continue to decline as new technologies continue to be field-tested and commercialized.” Supporters claim that oil sands’ oil production is much more environmentally friendly than offshore drilling; however, some campaigners argue that once the easy to extract stores of light crude oil are extracted, it will take more energy and a larger carbon footprint to extract the remaining oil, thus narrowing the environmental gap between oil sands production and conventional offshore drilling. In fact, many environmentalists have branded Canadian oil as dirty oil because of the carbon dioxide emissions and the damage to ecosystems that the extraction process causes.

Financial analysts on Wall Street are very enthusiastic about companies involved in oil sands production. One example is Canadian Natural Resources, which has received an improved rating by various financial advisory firms including Goldman Sachs, Raymond James and Morgan Stanley. China has also begun to invest heavily in Canadian oil sands, and analysts believe China’s interest is a very positive indicator; China has a history of accurately predicting market trends and investing on the biggest/best trades, and the China Investment Corporation has currently invested more money in oil sands than in any other commodities, suggesting that China sees great opportunity in this market as well.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 2:24 pm and is filed under Banking/Finance, General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.