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CERA: Growth in the Canadian Oil Sands: Finding the New Balance

July 15, 2009

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An†IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates†special report on development of the Canadian oil sands.

The world is searching for the right balance between increasing oil supply to meet aspirations for higher living standards and greater energy security, while at the same time protecting the environment, particularly in the face of concern about climate change. How this mix of interests evolves will be a defining feature of the early twenty-first century.

Development of the Canadian oil sands encapsulates the complexities the world faces on energy, environmental, and security issues. The oil sands are an immense resource-second only to Saudi Arabia in recoverable oil reserves. They are the sixth largest source of new supply additions in the world since 2000-ahead of Iran, Kuwait, and China. Further development offers Canada the potential to become one of the largest oil producers in the world and to continue to expand its position as the number one foreign supplier of oil to the United States. Furthermore, the oil sands are part of the dense network of economic, political, and energy relations between the United States and Canada. The oil sands themselves are a key element in the vital trade link between the countries: Canada is the largest trading partner of the United States. The two-way trade between the countries reached $597 billion in 2008, and Canada ranks by far as the largest market for American exports of goods and services.

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