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How Big Is the Canadian Oil Sands Market?

Saturday - 2/23/2013, 10:00pm  ET

With TransCanada's Keystone XL back in the news, Aimee Duffy's been thinking about oil sands, a market estimated to be about $25.8 billion in 2013, with 1.7 million barrels of crude produced per day. The same London firm that made this estimate foresees oil sand production of 4.2 million barrels per day in 2025.

The takeaway capacity isn't there, but once it is, production should increase, says Tyler Crowe, who goes on to describe in situ extraction. This method goes in deeper and uses thermal steam, avoiding the environmental dangers of open mining.

Oil sands are only financially viable at high oil prices. Analysts are concerned that companies may ramp up production so quickly that their wells are no longer viable, as happened during the last U.S. oil boom.

Tyler recommends Suncor Energy, the largest oil sands producer in Canada, and goes on to pitch ConocoPhillips, which has gone all-in with the Canadian oil sands. ConocoPhillips will spend a large portion of its 2013 capex there through joint ventures with Total.

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