Can US Canadian Oil Sands Imports Be Nearly Carbon Neutral?
The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory recently published a study that determined the production and consumption or “well-to-wheel” (WTW) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Canadian oil sand crude imports are 20% greater than conventional US domestic crudes. This study appears to support the Obama administration’s climate change policy and decision to not approve the Keystone XL pipeline. However, based on the study’s major assumption that oil sands crude imports will primarily displace US lighter, lower-sulfur conventional domestic crudes, does this 20% WTW GHG increase finding reasonable cover the actual full life cycle impacts on world emissions? If not, is it feasible that the full lifecycle GHG emissions of oil sands crude imports are nearly carbon neutral based on actual overall oil market impacts? The answers to these questions were analyzed and developed based on recent actual oil market performance data.