The global energy trend forecasts point out an increasing demand over the next decades, especially for electricity and automotive fuel. Over the next 25 years, the growing activity of the transport sector will involve increasing quantities of liquid fuels. On the supply side, the crude oil share in the total primary energy supply should remain to around 35% until 2030. Thus, the non conventional supply, coming from non-conventional oil (tar sands, extra-heavy oil and oil shale) as well as technologies transforming gas or coal to liquids should give a significant and necessary contribution to the global crude oil availability.

We have analysed the potential development of the non conventional supply in a worldwide model which aims to satisfy the oil products demand until 2030. In this analysis, several geographical areas have been distinguished, to take into account the regional dimension of the supply and the demand. This paper is organised as follow: section 1 concerns the resources availability, section 2 deals with the production technologies, ongoing and future known projects, section 3 gives an overview of the modelling approach and, finally, the results are given in the last section.

Heavy crude which often result from a bacterial oxidation of conventional oils inside the reservoir rock, have different physical and chemical properties, generally degraded: they have much higher viscosity, higher heavy metals and higher sulphur and nitrogen contents. Due to those specific properties, their exploitation implies specific methods to extract, transport and transform them into final products. Different categories of heavy crude are usually defined according to their density:

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    the heavy oils, the API° degree of which is between 10 and 22.3;

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    the extra-heavy oils and bitumen, the API° degree of which is less than 10. The « in situ » level of viscosity makes the distinction between extra-heavy oils and natural bitumen:

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      extra-heavy oils have a viscosity smaller than 10 000 centipoises (cP), which means that they are flowing at reservoir conditions;

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      natural bitumen, also called tar sands or oil sands, have a viscosity greater than 10 000 cP; they are not flowing at reservoir conditions.

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