Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Shell Puts Off New Tar Sands Development in Alberta

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Jessica Knoblauch:
Explosive Crude-By-Rail Rolls Into Main Street America

Is volatile crude oil coming by rail to a town near me? For weeks, I’ve been asking myself that question as I keep hearing about the skyrocketin...

by Sarah Saylor:
House Passes Its Polluter Protection Act

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Polluter Protection Act (H.R. 3826). This bill stops the EPA from setting modest, sensible limits ...

by Tom Turner:
Fears Ramp Up As Oil Rolls into Albany

Maybe you've seen the riveting photographs of fireballs and burning houses and oiled and blackened streams and marshes. Train cars carrying crude oil ...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
29 April 2010, 2:42 PM
Dirtiest oil on Earth comes with high costs
Photo: David Dodge, The Pembina Institute. More at

Due to skyrocketing costs, Shell Oil is putting expansion plans in the Canadian tar sands on hold for at least five years. The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that the head of Shell's American operations referred to the tar sands as one of the most expensive oil projects on earth.

The tar sands' high cost isn't only financial. Extracting the thick, dirty crude oil located beneath Alberta's magnificent boreal forests has created an environmental catastrophe. The scar left by tar sands operations on the Canadian wilderness is visible from space. Extracting tar sands oil requires 2.5 to 4 times more water and releases 3 times more global warming pollution than extracting conventional crude oil. And tar sands oil contains a lot more sulfur, nickel, nitrogen, and lead than conventional oil. As a result, when it's processed in refineries, tar sands oil releases far higher levels of toxics into the air.

Earthjustice is challenging the government's approval of two new pipelines—the Alberta Clipper and Keystone XL—that would deliver this dirty tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S. These expensive projects would lock the U.S. into a dirty energy future at precisely the time we need to transition to clean energy. And Shell's decision to put tar sands expansion on hold is a signal from one of the world's largest oil companies that the additional supply of tar sands oil the pipeline would deliver to U.S. refineries may never even materialize.

The pipeline companies—Enbridge and TransCanada—want us to believe that the oil companies are clamoring for additional pipeline capacity to transport ever-increasing amounts of tar sands crude oil to the U.S. The reality is that this new infrastructure is not only unnecessary; it's also a roadblock to the development of low-carbon alternatives.

Tar sands oil is far too costly for the planet. And if one of the richest companies in the world decides it's too expensive, you can bet it's a bad financial investment, too.

(To see some incredible—and horrifying—images of the Alberta tar sands, check out the photos at Garth Lenz's website.)

I'm really impressed that there's so much about this subject that's been uncovered and you did it so well, with so much class. Good one you, man! Really great stuff here. Hdmi Cable

I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often. I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else. Life Insurance

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.