A decade ago, Alberta’s oil sands were the home of the most expensive to produce crude oil on the planet. Not only that, but Canada’s mix of intra-provincial competition and weak federal control left the landlocked province with few options to send its oil outside of the US–a country experiencing a rising boom of natural gas and light, sweet shale crude oil.
The outlook for the oil sands was…not good.
Now? Alberta’s oil producers have gotten leaner, and while not meaner (they’re still Canadians, after all) they have slowly-but-steadily become more efficient and cost effective in terms of production. While certain challenges remain (Alberta cannot change its landlocked geography), Canada’s largest oil producing province has suddenly found itself cost competitive with Russian oil, and the world’s energy markets are on the cusp of upheaval.
Suddenly the future of Canada’s oil sands doesn’t seem so bleak after all.
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