"Venezuela has vast deposits of extra-heavy oil and tar sands in the Orinoco basin which traditionally are not inventoried because they were too expensive to exploit, but at 50 US dollars melting them into liquid petroleum becomes extremely profitable. The DoE estimates that the Venezuelan government controls 1.3 trillion barrels of oil - more than the entire declared oil reserves of the rest of the planet.

Venezuela's deposits alone could extend the oil age for another 100 years."

- dave 4-13-2006 4:43 pm

Why were we trying to destabilize their elected government, again?
- tom moody 4-13-2006 6:39 pm

cough choke melt
- steve 4-13-2006 6:54 pm

The problem with tar sand reserves is that they are "extra-heavy" oil deposits. That's a bad thing. Our country runs on light sweet crude. That stuff just flows out of the ground. The heavy crude tied up in these tar sands takes a huge up front energy cost to extract (basically it takes a huge amount of natural gas to "melt" the tar sands into liquid petroleum - and we are all running out of natural gas too just as we need to get at these tar sand deposits.) So while there *might* be 1.3 trillion barrels of oil in the Venezuelan tar sands (I'm skeptical, but what do I know?) that's a completely different thing than finding 1.3 trillion barrels of light sweet crude just bubbling out of the ground somewhere. I think comparing the two like this is highly misleading. The energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) is not very high for tar sands. I'm sure we will use this in the future, but it is not going to support our insatiable appetite for cheap energy. Or, in other words, the tar sands (whether Venezuelan or Canadian or both) are not going to insulate the U.S. economy from the shock of cheap energy running out - simply because these tar sands will not produce cheap energy.

Or to belabor the point, I'd like to know if the idea that extracting the oil from tar sands is "extremely profitable" at $50 a barrel given current natural gas prices, or assuming reasonable future natural gas prices? I'm guessing they mean assuming today's price for natural gas. Unfortunately, even if natural gas wasn't running out - which it is - the huge increase in demand created by using it to extract tar sands oil will in itself drive up the price of natural gas to the point where it is no longer "extremely profitable". It might not even be profitable at all.

We'll see.
- jim 4-13-2006 7:26 pm

Just noticed that I can edit all comments, not just mine, on this page. i am such a dodo head.
- steve 4-13-2006 9:59 pm

- bill 4-13-2006 10:07 pm

The group pages are set up that way. albondigas!
- tom moody 4-13-2006 10:08 pm

oh really.
- bill 4-13-2006 10:10 pm

Just for certain people (congratulations, you're an editor!) so that you can mark spam. You're not supposed to edit other people's comments obviously. Eventually I'll split the two out so you can only mark spam but not edit. Doesn't seem too pressing though.
- jim 4-13-2006 10:18 pm

Someone edited my comment. As Spider-Man's Uncle Ben says, "With great power comes great responsibility."
- tom moody 4-13-2006 10:30 pm

im sure they are aware at what price point extracting the heavy oil becomes profitable. the "extremeness" of that profitablilty is subjective. if there is money to be made someones going to do it.
- dave 4-13-2006 10:31 pm

Yeah, but "they" might have various reasons for wanting people to think that the "oil age" can just go on for ever. I think the tar sands (Venezuelan and Canadian) and other things like corn and soy based fuels are all stories told to perpetuate this myth. No doubt someone will make money on all of these energy sources, but even taken together they won't "...extend the oil age for another 100 years." That's what I am disagreeing with. Unless by "oil age" people don't mean an age of cheap plentiful oil. Because I don't think we're going to have that.

I'm not quite Kunstler. I think technology will get us out of a complete collapse of civilization. But not without some pain, and lots of re-prioritizing.

And I'm going to blame anything completely wrong in what I'm saying on Bill's rogue editing powers, so debate is futile!

- jim 4-14-2006 12:31 am

add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:

Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.