Obama says Canada's oil sands can be made clean
President Obama has said that the oil extracted from the tar sands in Canada can be made into a clean fuel and that the United States will work with Canada to make this possible. Obama said that the technology to capture and store carbon dioxide underground would be the key to developing the oil sands and Obama is on his way to Canada tomorrow to talk about this and other energy matters.
“The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal, but we have our own homegrown problems in terms of dealing with a cheap energy source that creates a big carbon footprint,” said Obama, who has backed “clean-coal” technology in the U.S. over skepticism about its prospects from environmentalists such as former Vice President Al Gore.
Environmentalists from Canada and the United States want Obama to reject this bid as it will harm the environment. Canadian officials say that restrictions on oil sands exports will increase the US dependence on oil from other nations that may not be as 'friendly'.
The way the oil is separated is by intense heat that separates sand and clay and releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Obama says that reducing the dependence on oil and coal will promote economic growth in both Canada and the United States.
At this point the US is considering the export of about 780,000 barrels a day of tar-sands oil, and if that is approved it is likely to increase to 3.3 million barrels a day by 2020. The tar sands is thought to hold about 173 billion barrels, which would supply the US for 24 years. Only Saudi Arabia has more reserves than that.
“Canada’s energy industry is willing to invest money, technology, know-how and time in this effort, but we really can’t do it alone,” Petro-Canada Chief Executive Officer Ronald Brenneman told reporters last week in New York. “It will take the combined efforts of the industry, government, regulators and consumers.”
So far Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice has said that Canada and the US need to work together on this project to capture and use underground carbon dioxide emissions.