December 13, 2010

Supplying Synthetic Crude Oil from Canadian Oil Sands: A Comparative Study of the Costs and CO2 Emissions of Mining and In-situ Recovery

by Aurélie Méjean and Chris Hope

- High crude oil prices and the eventual decline of conventional oil production raise the issue of alternative fuels such as non-conventional oil. The paper describes a simple probabilistic model of the costs of synthetic crude oil (SCO) produced from Canadian oil sands. This forward-looking analysis quantifies the effects of learning and production constraints on the costs of supplying synthetic crude oil from Canadian bitumen deposits. The results show the uncertainties associated with the future costs of synthetic crude oil. Carbon costs have a large impact of the total costs of synthetic crude oil, in particular in the case of synthetic crude oil from in-situ bitumen, due to the carbon-intensity of the recovery techniques.

Aurélie Méjean and Chris Hope (2010). "Supplying Synthetic Crude Oil from Canadian Oil Sands: A Comparative Study of the Costs and CO2 Emissions of Mining and In-situ Recovery." EPRG Working Paper 1005, Mar 2010.