NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 11, 2008

What country has the world's largest oil reserves?  Saudi Arabia?  Iran?  Nigeria?  Venezuela?  Wrong on all counts.  The answer is Canada.  And our neighbor to the north is worried we don't want it, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

  • Canada has an estimated 1.6 trillion barrels of oil on its territory, much of it locked in tough-to-excavate tar sands in the province of Alberta.
  • By comparison, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has an estimated 270 billion barrels left.

Yet, according to the Financial Times of London, Canada's government recently sent U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates a letter of warning that it might not be able to sell the United States any of its oil, which the Pentagon desperately needs for national defense.

For that, you can thank the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, passed by the Democratic Congress:

  • Under Section 526 of that law, tar sands are considered to be an alternative fuel.
  • But the law requires oil sold to the U.S. government and produced from alternative sources to emit fewer greenhouse gases than oil produced from conventional crude sources.

That's a big problem, says IBD.

Estimates show that removing the highly sticky, coagulated oil found in tar sands produces as much as five times the amount of greenhouse gas as pumping from a conventional well.

"Classifying the oil sands as a nonconventional fuel," said Tristan Landry, a spokesman for Canada's Embassy in Washington, "would unnecessarily complicate the integrated Canada-U.S. energy relationship."

Source: Editorial, "Kissing Off Canada," Investor's Business Daily, March 11, 2008.


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