Last year Shell Canada announced their intention to increase oil production from the Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta. At the time they said they intended to add 100,000 barrels a day of production. Now they have revealed new plans to increase production to 770,000 barrels a day which is four times the current production level. The initial 100,000 barrel expansion was approved in November, and should begin production in 2010.

As long as oil prices remain in the region of $50 a barrel and more, increased production from oil sands makes economic sense, but not necessarily environmental sense. Although Shell has made progress in reducing carbon emissions in their base businesses, the oil sands production emitted 3.68 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005, about five percent more than when they started up. Shell has a emissions target of 1.75 million tonnes of CO2 from the oil sands in 2010.

[Source: Shell Canada via GreenCarCongress]


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