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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Méjean, A. & Hope, C., 2008. "Modelling the costs of non-conventional oil: A case study of Canadian bitumen," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0810, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0810
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giacchetta, Giancarlo & Leporini, Mariella & Marchetti, Barbara, 2015. "Economic and environmental analysis of a Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) facility for oil recovery from Canadian oil sands," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 1-9.
    2. Botelho, Tatiana & Magrini, Alessandra & Schaeffer, Roberto, 2014. "Plumbing the depths: Utilizing O&G reserve profiles to develop forward-looking risk assessments for exploration and production activities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 489-500.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Méjean, Aurélie & Hope, Chris, 2013. "Supplying synthetic crude oil from Canadian oil sands: A comparative study of the costs and CO2 emissions of mining and in-situ recovery," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 27-40.
    6. McGlade, C.E., 2012. "A review of the uncertainties in estimates of global oil resources," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 262-270.
    7. Hosseini, Seyed Hossein & Shakouri G., Hamed, 2016. "A study on the future of unconventional oil development under different oil price scenarios: A system dynamics approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 64-74.
    8. Bo Xu & Lianyong Feng & William X. Wei & Yan Hu & Jianliang Wang, 2014. "A Preliminary Forecast of the Production Status of China’s Daqing Oil field from the Perspective of EROI," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(11), pages 1-21, November.
    9. Luo, Dongkun & Zhao, Xu, 2012. "Modeling the operating costs for petroleum exploration and development projects," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 189-195.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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