Is this an argument for or against Alberta's oil sands?

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      Anybody who’s opened a newspaper or flicked on a television in North America lately has likely noticed there’s a debate raging about what to do with the billions of barrels of heavy crude oil mixed up in the earth of east Alberta. (Taking just one example, check out this take-no-prisoners op-ed that the New York Times recently ran with the headline, “The Tar Sands Disaster.”)

      British Columbians especially are bombarded with messages for and against oil sands developments. That’s because two of the more-controversial projects proposed are pipelines that would carry Alberta’s heavy crude oil through B.C.'s forests and, via tankers, the province’s coastal waters. Citizens concerned for the environment warn that spills are inevitable (a claim that industry does not deny), while advocates of the oil sands argue that their development is an economic opportunity too great to pass up.

      One contribution to the debate really caught my attention last night. It’s a new television commercial that makes a compelling case for why Alberta’s heavy crude oil should be left in the ground.

      “Here’s a challenge for you: Head to the oil sands, where you’ll find lots of oil,” went the commentary played over flashy graphics. “But it’s mixed with more sand than a desert, hardened at times as solid as a hockey puck, locked between multiple layers of thick rock, compressed by as much as 100 stories of earth, and sealed with a dense, sprawling forest. Then, try getting just the oil out.”

      ‘What environmental group is responsible for such a slick production?’ I wondered. ‘How did they afford the ad’s primetime scheduling?’

      The answer to my question came a few seconds later.

      “Learn how Cenovus is taking on the oil sands challenges,” the advertisement concludes.

      A quick Google search informed me that Cenovus Energy Inc. currently operates two projects in Alberta’s oil sands and last year posted a gross revenue of $17.2 billion.

      Check out the Cenovus’s video above. What do you think? Is this an argument for or against the development of Alberta’s oil sands?



      Jason D.

      Apr 2, 2013 at 2:14pm

      I think this is great. More people should get in tune with what the producers are doing to advance cleaner, more environmentally safe ways to produce the oil. Easy to sit back and paint the whole oil sands with a bad brush. But step up and support the companies that are pioneering the best ways to extract Canada's resources.