Oilsands Quest, as subsidiary of CanWest Petroleum Corporation has begun exploration that will identify quality and quality of bitumen of the companies resources on 846,000 acres of land in Northwest Saskatchewan, one of the largest land positions assembled for exploration in the Athabasca oil sands region. Drilling of the first 25 core-holes is expected to begin in a few days. This drilling represents the first phase of exploration to determine determine whether its lands adjacent to the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta contain sufficient bitumen to justify development of the field. The first phase, to be conducted between October and December is to be followed by drilling of approximately 125 holes during winter.
Extraction of bitumen from tar sands is one of of the more controversial methods of extending our oil resources. The quantity is small compared to our total oil resources, but if it is economical and meets environmental standards, I will not argue against it. The region's economy is highly dependent on this activity. Production requires expenditure of about 30% of the energy contained in the resulting product, as well as questionable environmental impact. All of the province's environmental requirements are being met, but are they sufficient? Historically most of the energy has come from now declining supplies of natural gas. I would be in favor of requiring the oil companies to get their energy from waste products or from their refined products, which has only been done to a limited extent in the past. If there is truly stranded gas, gas that is uneconomical to pipeline, it is probably ok, but stranded gas should be defined so as not to be of use to the local economy now or in the future.
Resource: Oilsands Quest press release, Rigzone, Oct 14, 2005