I make up lots of things because mostly I’m a fiction writer. I also say outlandish things. I write humor and satire. Most of that depends on exagerrrration.
Today I would like to discuss Energy Return on Investment, or EROI. Figure out if I’m pulling your leg.
Consider this by Daniel Gross: “… conventional oil production worldwide pays off at about a 20-to-1 ratio. And in Canada, where the oil comes from tar sands, it’s closer to 5-to-1.”
That means it costs Canada one barrel ($50) of oil to produce five ($250).
Here is a link to his article in Slate that explains how much oil energy you need to bring up a barrel of oil.
Not everyone agrees that it takes a barrel of oil to end up with five from the Oil Sands.
For example some feel it takes a barrel to “harvest” a barrel. So five barrels would sell for $250 but that would be the cost of producing it. Zero profit.
Pretty crazy huh?
OK I will tell you something crazier. For fifty years our family has owned a house by the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Often when I am in Edmonton I spend many fun hours looking through the U of A libraries. I talk to lots of people. They make a big deal out of researching the cost of yanking oil out of the tar sands.
According to some of the smartest scientists and professors — when you add up all the expenses — it takes the cost of five barrels of oil to wrestle one from the tar sands. So this means each barrel of oil costs $250 to produce — Canada loses $200 for each barrel it sells on the world market.
Why? Because Mother Nature likes hockey. I know she likes hockey because I have seen and handled the tar that holds the oil. That tar has the same consistency as a hockey puck.
And in spite of what you might be hearing it’s very expensive to extract oil from something as dense as a hockey puck.
What next? How about using underground nuclear explosions to free the oil? 100 detonations to start. That is on the table.