Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We will begin, and then you will hear from the Canadian Environmental Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet with you and make this presentation before you. I will be giving you a brief overview of the situation with regard to the oil sands. I will start on the second page of the deck and talk about the economic opportunities, federal and provincial regulatory oversight, the environmental challenges, technological improvements and the role of the federal government.
My presentation will be a little broader than the other two. It will speak to the oil sands generally and then get to the issue of water specifically. The other two presentations will be about water issues specifically.
I have with me, and should introduce, Dr. Kim Kasperski, the manager of water quality research with CanmetENERGY in Devon, a government lab just outside of Edmonton that deals with oil sands issues.
The third slide gives you a map of where the oil sands are.
As you can see, the oil sands are primarily located in North-Eastern Alberta but there are also some in Saskatchewan.
And the three different areas that you can see, the Athabasca area, the Cold Lake area, and the Peace River area, are where the oil sands exist.
The fourth slide provides a very, very high-level scientific sense of what this is. It's really bitumen. Bitumen is a molasses-like viscous oil that will not flow unless it's heated and diluted with lighter carbons. It can be blended with diluents and shipped to refineries, or it can be upgraded into a synthetic crude oil. But it's basically in the ground, and has the consistency of a hockey puck, and when it's heated up, it starts to look like the picture you have on slide four.
Slide five is quite significant. It speaks to how this is done. There are two ways that the oil sands are delivered to market. The most well-known way, and the one that's being done the most at the moment, is mining—open pit mining—as you've seen in the pictures of big dump trucks and large shovels, etc. However, it's very important that about 82% of the resource is available only through what we call in situ extraction, which is similar to what is done at oil wells elsewhere, where you inject steam into the ground and then pull it out via wells. In other words, the mining, which is a large percentage of what's happening now, is only 20% of what's going to be happening into the future. So we need to be concerned about both issues.
As slide six shows, about two-thirds of the bitumen is currently upgraded to synthetic crude oil before being shipped to refineries, and the remaining one-third is blended with diluents before being shipped to refineries.
I want to spend a little bit of time on slide seven as a set-up to the rest. In other words, where are we going with the oil sands? What are the projections for how big they are going to get over the next number of years? What you have on this slide is the previous 2007 forecast.
I'll just walk you quickly through the different areas. The bottom three layers are the traditional sources of oil in Canada, mostly from the western sedimentary basin in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and part of B.C. Apart from the east coast, the ones that are growing are the oil sands. One piece of that is the mining, and one piece is the in situ, the stuff that is farther than 80 metres below ground.
You can see that as of last year, the sense was that it was going to grow substantially. We've tried to show here the effect of the economic slowdown—and this is the big question—on the growth of the oil sands. And I'll speak to that in a moment, but it's a very important issue relating to the other issues of water use, and everything else around the oil sands. This slide is based on the numbers from last year, but with a sense of what is also happening with the economic slowdown.
Slide eight indicates how important it is to note that this is a major economic driver for Canada, and the committee members, I'm sure, are aware of this. But here some numbers. Again, these are last year's numbers, and we need to look at what the economic slowdown is doing. But the numbers show that the oil sands have generated about 120,000 direct and indirect jobs. It's also notable that 60% of those jobs are in Alberta and 40% aren't. There's a good number in Ontario and in Quebec, and some outside the country as well.
Investment has been very substantial in the oil sands, with industry spending $47 billion on new capital from 1996 to 2006. The forecast, as of last year, was for another $110 billion to $125 billion over the next 10 years. The economic slowdown has had an effect: the estimate last year was that we would have $20 billion of investment in new capital into the oil sands in 2009, and we now think it's going to be in the range or $10 billion. So it's $10 billion instead of $20 billion.
Many of the projects that were under construction are still being constructed, and we will see what happens with respect to ongoing projects after those projects are done, which will largely be in 2009.
Oil sands are an enormous long-term resource. If you look at the International Energy Agency's world energy report, which was released last fall, between now and 2030 Canada is the only country that's going to show any growth in oil production because of the oil sands. There will be growth elsewhere in the world in OPEC countries and other countries, but the only growth in the OECD countries will be in Canada, and it's because of the oil sands. They make up 97% of Canada's proven reserves.
Slide 10 gives you a sense of the opportunity in the oil sands. The red at the bottom indicates how much is being produced. The oil sands are quite new, and it's only in the last couple of decades that they've been going.
The proven reserves are shown in green. Proven reserves mean that with current technologies and current prices, 173 billion barrels are available. That puts Canada at number two in the world in proven reserves, behind Saudi Arabia and ahead of the rest.
Recoverable reserves are shown in light blue. With the technological improvements we see coming down the road, the best scientific inspired guess is that the total recoverable amount will be in the range of 173 billion barrels. But the total amount that we believe is in place, as shown by the full scale here, is 1.7 trillion barrels, which exceeds the total amount of oil produced in the world to date by 50%. So in other words, 1.78 billion barrels of oil have been produced to date in history, and there's a significant amount more in the oil sands. It's thought that may result in 315 billion barrels with technological improvements that might be reasonably thought of.
I want to spend a bit of time on the environmental issues and federal responsibilities. My colleagues are going to speak specifically to water, but there are issues around air, land, and water. We've provided a deck with some overview information on that.
I want to speak a little about the jurisdiction issue. At the end of the day this is a national resource, but the Constitution suggests it's largely provincial jurisdiction. The provinces have ownership over natural resources. The provinces set the pace and extent of resource development within their jurisdiction. But the federal government has important levers with respect to the oil sands. They include the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act, and many other pieces of legislation as well.
I won't go through the rest of the presentation, except to highlight water use on slide 16. We are concerned about water use. In the question and answer period I'll be happy to walk through some of the things water is used for in the oil sands. But suffice it to say that one to four barrels of water are used for every barrel of bitumen that is produced. There have been improvements, and 75% to 90% of the water is recycled now. In one case it is 95%. DFO will be walking through the water management framework we have developed jointly with Alberta.
Another big water issue is tailings ponds, shown on slide 18. Alberta has put out a new regulatory regime that requires environment improvements in tailings ponds.
The final point, on slide 19, is technology. Dr. Kasperski is with me, and we believe that technology is hugely important in making improvements. We in the government are supporting research elsewhere, and industry is also working on technological breakthroughs to reduce tailings ponds and water use, and improve efficiency. We can speak to some of the work that's been going on there during questions and answers.
Thank you very much.