Canadian Mining Journal

Feature

It’s not too late to “refine” refineries

Canada’s oil sands have been making international headlines for decades now and while much of the news over the years has contained negative con­notations, dismissing the exploration and development of this world-scale resource is...


Canada’s oil sands have been making international headlines for decades now and while much of the news over the years has contained negative con­notations, dismissing the exploration and development of this world-scale resource is nothing short of irresponsible.

In fact, one may go so far as to say that certain “ignorant emotions” are taking over from “logic and under­standing.”

Arguably, there’s no denying that developing the second largest oil depos­it in the world (after Saudi Arabia) has resulted in varying degrees of stress on the environment, but like all advances in the industrialized world, there’s pain with progress and the oilsands are no different than the side effects from mak­ing steel or producing electricity.

Almost everything that mankind does impacts the environment in some way or another and unless everyone gives up everything they know, and use, things will continue that way.

But, and that’s a big but, the people responsible for what appears to be a sheer disregard for the environment are, in fact, the ones spending billions of dol­lars a year researching and developing possible solutions for not only their industry, but for others as well.

Suncor, Imperial Oil, Cenovous, Husky, and on and on, are just some of the compa­nies banking their futures on oil from the sands of western Canada, but they’re also the companies that are investing and giving back more than they’re taking.

Again, some may question that, but in hard-core technological terms, the oil com­panies working the oilsands are constantly developing ways and means of providing for the future, because like it or not, petro­leum is here to stay.

Even those who swear to boycott the use of Canada’s “dirty” oil will become hypo­crites as technology continues to develop refining to a level of wide-spread acceptance.

And it will happen. It has to, because the ozone layer is thinning faster than my hair and while I can live with a little less on top, the world cannot survive with a bald spot in its upper regions.

Global warming is no longer something that Dr. David Suzuki warns about; it’s a real­ity, and while much of the cause is directly connected with hydrocarbon emissions, I still think that the “refine” part of the word “refinery” will prevail and that the petroleum producers of Canada will lead the way.


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