Does it require more energy to produce oil sands crude than the development actually yields?
No. According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the oil sands process produces six to 10 British Thermal Units (BTU) of energy for every one BTU that goes into steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), the primary method of oil sands extraction. Therefore, the overall energy yield of oil sands production far exceeds the energy that goes into producing it.
Additionally, the Department of Energy found that “energy efficiency improves as the industry matures and operations improve. The average efficiency of oil sands development has improved to about 82 percent from the low 70’s in first generation facilities.”
Canada’s Centre for Energy explains that the energy balance for oil sands is “roughly comparable to that for ethanol produced from sugar cane in Brazil…and it is much better than ethanol produced from corn in North America, where one unit of energy input only produces about 1.3 units of ethanol fuel energy.”
The safe and responsible development of Canadian oil sands is vital to the U.S. economy and our energy security. In fact, increasing access to our own domestic resources and expanding the Keystone XL pipeline could provide 100 percent of America’s liquid fuel needs by 2030 — decreasing the nation’s projected imports from the rest of the world by 22 percent.
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