Big Oil Getting Desperate: Making Oil With Nuclear Energy

Posted on Saturday, October 15 at 13:38 by chall
Big Oil Getting Desperate: Making Oil With Nuclear Energy by Jerome Paris Thu Sep 22, 2005 <http://salo.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/9/22/183959/686>; Total May Use Atomic Power At Oil-Sand Project <http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112733531386947686,00.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace>; (WSJ, behind subscription wall) PARIS -- French oil giant Total SA, amid rising oil and natural-gas prices, is considering building a nuclear power plant to extract ultraheavy oil from the vast oil-sand fields of western Canada. This comes as oil prices -- driven even higher by Hurricane Katrina and now the threat of Hurricane Rita -- are removing lingering doubts about the long-term profitability of extracting the molasseslike form of oil from sand, despite the fact that the output is much more expensive to produce and to upgrade than is conventional crude. At the same time, prices of natural gas -- which oil-sands producers have relied on to produce the steam and electricity needed to push the viscous oil out of the ground -- have risen 45% in the past year. That is prompting Total, which holds permits on large fields in Alberta that contain oil sands, to consider building its own nuclear plant and using the energy produced to get the job done. In Canada, Total holds half of an oil-sands permit in Alberta and has secured more heavy-oil acreage with the purchase of Deer Creek Energy Ltd., located in the same western province. Total said it plans to invest $7 billion in Deer Creek, on top of the $1.4 billion it expects to pay for the company. The company says it could one day produce 200,000 barrels of heavy crude a day, close to 8% of Total's current global output.

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