Friday, April 26, 2013
The above is an update on Canadian tar sands production, monthly from 1985 through Jan 2013. (The location of the data is described here). The blue is upgraded synthetic crude, and the red is straight bitumen (for use in roads, etc). The synthetic crude is the stuff that will be filling the Keystone pipeline if it were to be approved. Since global liquid fuel production is about 90mbd, this represents a shade over 2% of the world total.
If we look at the growth rates (here the year-over-year change in the trailing twelve month average), we get this:
Growth has stabilized at around 10% p.a. That gives a doubling time of about seven years. If that growth were to continue, Canada would reach 4mbd by about 2020, and 8mbd before 2030 - although the latter is perhaps implausible given that it will be harder to sustain growth at these high levels and this would likely require a lot more conversion of bitumen to oil (we probably won't need that much bitumen).
This shows total production to 2025 if it continued to grow at the same rate as the last decade:
Thus I would expect to see a lot more political fights over exports of Canadian oil in coming decades.