It is not surprising that tensions in North Africa and the Middle East have dominated the discussion at this year’s CERAweek annual oil and gas conference. The general view is that, as of now, the world can easily cope with the drop in supply. Dan Yergin, chairman of CERA, the consultancy hosting the conference, told FT Energy Source: “This is a manageable disruption.’’
But many fear the situation will get worse before it gets better. And there is widespread uncertainty about how the situation will evolve.
Is oil sands (or tar sands, as environmentalists like to call the fuel from Canada’s tar-like bitumen) really not as bad for the environment as traditional crude oil?
At first brush, the latest report on the controversial subject, this time from the well-respected IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, might have left me with that impression. The headline reads, “Oil Sands Greehouse Gas Emissions are Lower than Commonly Perceived.”
But a backlash by environmentalists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, made me take a closer look at what was being said. And even CERA is not saying that oil from oil sands is less carbon intensive than traditional crude.