Canadian Security In the High Arctic: a Strategic Analysis In Three Parts- Part 2 - The Energy Shortage
- Harriet Critchley (University of Calgary)
- Document ID
- Petroleum Society of Canada
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- January 1982
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 86 - 88
- 1982. Petroleum Society of Canada
- 4.3.4 Scale, 7.4.5 Future of energy/oil and gas, 7.4.4 Energy Policy and Regulation, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen, 5.9.2 Geothermal Resources
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Dr. Critchley's paper is available in three parts; Part 1, the "FourthBoundary Problem," Part 2, "The Energy Shortage," and Part 3, "MilitaryConsiderations."
II. The Energy Shortage
The energy shortage or crisis, correctly speaking, refers to decreasingdomestic and foreign supplies of the right kind of energy at an economicallyfeasible price. The "right kind of energy" includes high-quality fossil fuelswhich have few impurities, and hydro-and nuclear-generated electricity in otherwords, energy sources which can be used in industry, transportation andresidences with, at most, minor modifications of the equipment using theenergy. An "economically feasible price" means a cheap price, in relation tothe total cost of producing and using other types of energy, and thereforerelatively low energy production and transportation costs.
As a result of the energy shortage, individuals and groups in many state areendeavouring to develop alternative energy sources-solar, geothermal, biomassand nuclear fusion. Assuming continued and concentrated efforts, thesealternatives are expected to provide energy on a significant scale by 2020 or2030 A.D.(1). Thus, getting through the intervening fifty yearswithout experiencing major economic and political dislocations induced by theenergy shortage is the problem which confronts many political leaders.Intermittent dislocations due to severe weather conditions, sudden priceincreases for imported fuel or temporary shut-offs of foreign supplies serve asharbingers of the serious shortage situation which will probably exist withinten years. They also put a premium on further exploration for high-qualityfossil fuels in domestic conventional and frontier areas. Despite the fact thatcurrently Canada is one of the few industrialized states which has a surplus ofdomestic energy supplies over domestic demand, it is expected that demand willexceed supply during the 1980s(2).
Given the fifty-year term forecasted for the energy shortage, Canada-like otherindustrialized states-will be affected by the shortage, and the pressure tofind additional domestic fossil fuel reserves will increase. These reservesmust come from additional discoveries in conventional areas, the development offrontier areas or some combination of both. Conventional areas are mainly inBritish Columbia and Alberta. Frontier areas-those areas of Canada which have apotential for, but no history of, production- include the tar sands and heavyoil deposits in Alberta-Saskatchewan, East Coast offshore areas, the MackenzieDelta - Beaufort Sea and the Arctic lsiands.
Although it is always possible that new reserves of an extraordinary size maybe discovered in conventional areas, they are not likely to affectsupply/demand ratios over the next fifteen to twenty years(3). Inaddition, responsible public officials cannot base energy policy decisions- theeffects of which will be felt in one or two decades on "possibilities" which,by their very nature, have such a high degree of uncertainty(4). Forthese reasons, the argument in this paper will focus on the pressure to findadditional domestic fossil fuel reserves in frontier areas. must come fromadditional discoveries in conventional areas, the development of frontier areasor some combination of both. Conventional areas are mainly in British Columbiaand Alberta.
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