Oil sands producers found themselves in the midst of a fresh attack from the environmental community when a new study released Monday identified levels of oil sands-related contamination that appear to have intensified since the beginning of commercial development to present day. Core samples extracted from 6 regional lakes showed the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons up to 50 miles north of Fort McMurray, Alberta – the hub of oil sands mining activity.
“Our research tells a consistent story of increased contaminants and ecological change that has occurred in the region since industrial development of bitumen resources began,” Joshua Kurek, a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University, Department of Biology is quoted as saying on the university’s website. Keep reading →
Established LNG project operator Chevron bought out two minority stakeholders in the Kitimat LNG export project located in British Columbia, Canada in a deal announced on Christmas Eve.
Chevron’s financial strength, LNG operational experience and marketing expertise could help the project reach important sales and purchase offtake agreements with buyers. Keep reading →
The iconic image associated with Canada’s oil sands development is that of a huge open pit mine, gargantuan dump trucks and enormous tailings ponds, but this production method is being outmoded as producers move to develop deeper bitumen deposits. Although it relies on a relatively young technology, in situ oil sands development is the wave of the future in Northern Alberta’s oil patch.
Commercial oil sands mining operations date back to the 1960′s and the technology that undergirds the process continues to evolve. Notably, some of the most interesting new technology is invisible, as companies are using horizontal drilling technology to recover oil from deposits located greater than 200 feet below ground. These deeper deposits account for 80 percent of total proven oil sands reserves and are expected to account for 80 percent of total oil sands production over the medium term, from about 50 percent mining and 50 percent in situ today. Keep reading →
Global natural gas demand is expected to steadily increase in the coming decades as developing economies continue growing and the West uses more of the fuel. Established energy trade patterns are also expected to shift eastward to emerging market demand centers as more gas is produced in the western hemisphere. Business activity at one of the world’s major engineering firms appears to be evolving in step with these emerging energy market trends.
“The best way to get $8 [natural] gas is to act like it’s going to be $3,” Dean Oskvig, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s energy business recently told Breaking Energy. Increasing US unconventional gas reserves and output, which have kept US prices below historical norms, could in spur consumption and shift supply/demand fundamentals so that prices rapidly increase. The threat remains unrealized for now, with natural gas prices still near historic lows. Keep reading →
Encana and Ferus LNG enter into joint venture to build liquefied natural gas fuel plant in Western Canada http://ow.ly/gd4cg encanacorp
For much of the past decade the answer to almost any major economic question had at least a little bit of “China” in its answer, and for energy the growth of what has become the world’s second largest economy and remains its most populous nation has been central to market growth and disruption.
Without China’s growth, oil prices would have been lower, leavening the expensive and much-debated fight over the race to renewable power in the US. With less growth in China, natural gas companies in the US might have had fewer buyers for their barely profitable (or even loss-making) fields as the technology developed to expand production in turn brought down prices. Keep reading →
Government can help the natural gas vehicle industry to gain a foothold in the market, but isn’t likely to work as a stimulus in the long run because many executives distrust its abilities to sustain support, according to the head of a leading maker of natural gas engine technology.
David Demers, chief executive of Westport Innovations said incentive programs are always fragile because they are subject to shifting political winds, and can cause serious disruption if they are withdrawn, so business leaders are more inclined to build their models on the basis of market forces. Keep reading →
New data published as part of the Energy Transparency effort has underlined the importance of Brazil as an emerging giant in both setting energy consumer trends and in leading with broader use of renewable energy in its own borders as well as across the region. Click above or below to expand this jointly-developed infographic featuring some of the most compelling information from the recent data roll outs, and look out for more infographics to share from Breaking Energy in the coming weeks as we focus on Europe, the US and Asia. Keep reading →
While eating lunch at a recent energy conference with the usual random selection of delegates and speakers, I asked the co-founder of a leading energy venture capital firm what technology he finds most exciting right now. Without hesitation, he began telling me about his company’s ambitious, longer-term bet on a small nuclear fusion company. He then put me in contact with his partner and co-founder, who helped fill in the details for this story. Keep reading →
It took three years, but the EPA has finally decided that hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Wyoming has in fact been contaminating local ground water.
When residents of Pavilion, Wyoming claimed three years ago that fracking fluid–a mix of water, sand and chemicals–as well as gas had leaked into their water supply, the EPA constructed two monitoring wells in the area. The agency also tested and retested public and private drinking water wells. Keep reading →