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Modelling the costs of non-conventional oil: A case study of Canadian bitumen

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  • Méjean, A.
  • Hope, C.

Abstract

High crude oil prices, uncertainties about the consequences of climate change and the eventual decline of conventional oil production raise the issue of alternative fuels, such as non-conventional oil and biofuels. This paper describes a simple probabilistic model of the costs of non-conventional oil, including the role of learning-by-doing in driving down costs. This forward-looking analysis quantifies the effects of both learning and production constraints on the costs of supplying alternative fuels. The results show large uncertainties in the future costs of supplying synthetic crude oil from bitumen deposits, with a 90% confidence interval of $7 to $11 in 2025, and $6 to $13 in 2050. The influence of each parameter on the supply costs is examined, with the minimum supply cost, the learning rate, and the depletion curve exponent having the largest influence. Over time, the influence of the learning rate on the supply costs decreases, while the influence of the depletion curve exponent increases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0810.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0810

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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

Related research

Keywords: Climate change; Non-conventional oil; Exhaustible resources; Technological change; Uncertainty;

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References

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  1. McDonald, Alan & Schrattenholzer, Leo, 2001. "Learning rates for energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 255-261, March.
  2. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Roumasset, James & Tse, Kinping, 1997. "Endogenous Substitution among Energy Resources and Global Warming," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1201-34, December.
  3. Toman, Michael & Krautkraemer, Jeffrey, 2003. "Fundamental Economics of Depletable Energy Supply," Discussion Papers dp-03-01, Resources For the Future.
  4. Grubler, Arnulf & Nakicenovic, Nebojsa & Victor, David G., 1999. "Dynamics of energy technologies and global change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 247-280, May.
  5. Adelman, M A, 1990. "Mineral Depletion, with Special Reference to Petroleum," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-10, February.
  6. Grubb, Michael, 2001. "Who's afraid of atmospheric stabilisation? Making the link between energy resources and climate change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 837-845, September.
  7. Roumasset, J. & Isaak, D. & Fesharaki, F., 1983. "Oil prices without OPEC : A walk on the supply-side," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 164-170, July.
  8. Soderbergh, Bengt & Robelius, Fredrik & Aleklett, Kjell, 2007. "A crash programme scenario for the Canadian oil sands industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1931-1947, March.
  9. John Hartwick, 1975. "Exploitation of Many Deposits of an Exhaustible Resource," Working Papers 182, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  10. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Roumasset, James, 1990. "Competitive oil prices and scarcity rents when the extraction cost function is convex," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 311-320, December.
  11. Rehrl, Tobias & Friedrich, Rainer, 2006. "Modelling long-term oil price and extraction with a Hubbert approach: The LOPEX model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(15), pages 2413-2428, October.
  12. Paul Stevens, 2005. "Oil Markets," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 19-42, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Méjean, A. & Hope, C., 2010. "Supplying Synthetic Crude Oil from Canadian Oil Sands: A Comparative Study of the Costs and CO2 Emissions of Mining and In-Situ Recovery," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1014, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Méjean, A. & Hope, C., 2010. "The Effect of CO2 Pricing on Conventional and Non-Conventional Oil Supply and Demand," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1054, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Sena, Marcelo Fonseca Monteiro de & Rosa, Luiz Pinguelli & Szklo, Alexandre, 2013. "Will Venezuelan extra-heavy oil be a significant source of petroleum in the next decades?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 51-59.

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