The pipelines moving tar sands out of Alberta are almost full, according to new analysis by Oil Change International. Without major expansion-driving pipelines such as Energy East, Kinder Morgan or Keystone XL, there will be no room for further growth in tar sands extraction and tens of billions of metric tonnes of carbon will be kept in the ground. This would be a significant step towards a safer climate.
All proposed new pipeline routes out of Alberta are facing legal challenges, opposition by local authorities and regulators, and broad-based public opposition. All of the major projects have been significantly delayed with some cancellations seemingly imminent. No pipeline has been built since 2010, despite active industry efforts.
The recent drop in oil prices has furthered the troubles of oilsands producers who, during the last 15 years, have dumped an estimated $200 billion into the resource. In recent months roughly 35,000 energy industry jobs have been lost in Alberta.
"Within the realm of sanity, I think the oil sands are finished," says David Schindler, who, as a limnologist and ecologist at the University of Alberta played a key role in forcing the tar sands to change the way it monitors and reports air and water pollution.
"With their product now so cheap, they are operating well below cost, only desperately trying to recoup some of the huge startup investment rather than see it all lost." He predicted that the industry will undergo major consolidation until only one or two deep-pocketed giants remain. But, he added, "Eventually they too will fall. New investment? Not unless investors are total idiots."
View February 23, 2016 The Energy Mix article
View February 1, 2016 Yale: Environment 360 article
View October 28, 2015 Tar Sands Solutions Network article
View October 27, 2015 DeSmog Canada article