--> ABSTRACT: Impact and Future of Heavy Oil Production, by David K. Olsen; #91019 (1996)

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Impact and Future of Heavy Oil Production

David K. Olsen

Heavy oil resources are becoming increasingly important in meeting world oil demand. Heavy oil accounts for 10% of the worlds current oil production and is anticipated to grow significantly. Recent narrowing of the price margins between light and heavy oil and the development of regional heavy oil markets (production, refining and marketing) have prompted renewed investment in heavy oil. Production of well known heavy oil resources of Canada, Venezuela, United States, and elsewhere throughout the world will be expanded on a project-by-project basis. Custom refineries designed to process these heavy crudes are being expanded. Refined products from these crudes will be cleaner than ever before because of the huge investment. However, heavy oil still remains at a competitive disadvantage due to higher production, transportation and refining costs when compared to light oil. Investments in heavy oil extraction and refining have to compete with other investment opportunities available in the industry.

Expansion of the U.S. heavy oil industry is no exception. Relaxation of export restrictions on Alaskan North Slope crude has prompted renewed development of California's heavy oil resources. The location, resource volume, and oil properties of the more than 80-billion barrel U.S. heavy oil resource are well known. Our recent studies summarize the constraints on production, define the anticipated impact (volume, location and time frame) of development of U.S. heavy oil resources, and examines the $7-billion investment in refining units (bottoms conversion capacity) required to accommodate increased U.S. heavy oil production. Expansion of Canadian and Venezuelan heavy oil and tar sands production are anticipated to dramatically impact the U.S. petroleum market while displacing some impo ted Mideast crude.

AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California