IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sls/resrep/0807.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Valuation of the Alberta Oil Sands

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Sharpe

    ()

  • Jean-François Arsenault

    ()

  • Alexander Murray
  • Sharon Qiao

Abstract

The Alberta oil sands reserves represent a very valuable energy resource for Canadians. In 2007, Statistics Canada valued the oil sands at $342.1 billion, or 5 per cent Canada's total tangible wealth of $6.9 trillion. Given the oil sands' importance, it is essential to value them appropriately. In this report, we critically review the methods used by Statistics Canada in their valuation of the Alberta oil sands. We find that the official Statistics Canada estimates of the reserves (22.0 billion barrels) of Alberta's oil sands are very small compared to those obtained using more appropriate definitions, which results in an underestimation of the true value of the oil sands. Moreover, the failure to take into account the projected growth of the industry significantly magnifies this underestimation. We provide new estimates of the present value of oil sands reserves based on a set of alternative assumptions that are, we argue, more appropriate than those used by Statistics Canada. We find that the use of more reasonable measures of the total oil sands reserves (172.7 billion barrels), extraction rate (a linear increase from 482 million barrels per year in 2007 to 1,350 million barrels in 2015, and constant thereafter) and price ($70 per barrel, 2007 CAD) increases the estimated present value of the oil sands to $1,482.7 billion (2007 CAD), 4.3 times larger than the official estimate of $342.1 billion. Using our preferred estimate, Canada’s total tangible wealth increases by $1.1 trillion (17 per cent), and reaches $8.0 trillion with oil sands now accounting for 18 per cent of Canada’s tangible wealth. The importance of these revisions is also demonstrated by their impact on the per-capita wealth of Canadians, which increases from $209,359 to $243,950, or by $34,591 (or 17 per cent). Given the importance of the oil sands for Canada, Statistics Canada should undertake a review of its methodology. In light of the growing body of climatologic literature supporting an association between anthropogenic GHG emissions and global climate change, no analysis of the „true value? of the oil sands would be complete without an accounting of the social costs of the GHG emissions that arise from oil sands development. According to our baseline estimates, the oil sands impose a total social cost related to GHG emissions of $69.4 billion. In making this estimate, we assume that each barrel of oil sands output imposes a social cost of $2.25 (based on a cost of $30/tCO2-e and an intensity of 0.075 tCO2-e/bbl). Our preferred estimate of the net present value of oil sands wealth net of GHG cost is thus $1,413.3 billion, 4.1 times greater than the Statistics Canada estimate which does not account for any environmental costs. This report does not account for non-GHG related environmental and social costs. A comprehensive valuation of all environmental costs are needed to assess whether future benefits derived from oil sands development are outweighed by even larger environmental costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe & Jean-François Arsenault & Alexander Murray & Sharon Qiao, 2008. "The Valuation of the Alberta Oil Sands," CSLS Research Reports 2008-07, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0807
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/reports/csls2008-7.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:139:y:2017:i:c:p:68-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2011. "Beyond GDP: Measuring Economic Well-Being in Canada and the Provinces, 1981-2010," CSLS Research Reports 2011-11, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    3. Andrew Sharpe & Jean-François Arsenault, 2009. "A Review of the Potential Impacts of the Métis Human Resources Development Agreements in Canada," CSLS Research Reports 2009-01, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    4. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2011. "Moving from a GDP-Based to a Well-Being Based Metric of Economic Performance and Social Progress: Results from the Index of Economic Well-Being for OECD Countries, 1980-2009," CSLS Research Reports 2011-12, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost-Benefit; Oil Sands; Environmental Damage; CO2 Emissions; Alberta; Energy; Natural Resources; Valuation;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0807. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CSLS). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cslssca.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.