Sabbie Bituminose – Alghe Obama

By Jeremy van Loon – Aug 12, 2013 

Jim Dyson/Getty Images
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is already lining up customers for the dried algae and is counting on the technology to be applied across Canada and the world.

Canada’s response to President Barack Obama’s challenge to reduce emissions of global-warming gases from the oil sands starts with sewage and algae.

Algae Used to Appease Obama on Keystone Pipeline’s Carbon Impact

An oil pipeline sits under construction near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Alberta, where most of the 170 billion barrels of recoverable reserves of bitumen are located, collects C$15 per ton of carbon from industrial emitters who don’t meet mandatory reduction targets established by the provincial government. Photographer: Brett Gundlock/Bloomberg

The paste-like crude extracted from oil sands is softened by heat and steam to make it flow though pipelines. Burning natural gas to process the fuel creates carbon dioxide that researchers say can be mixed with waste water and fed to algae, which can be processed into cattle feed and other products.

“We’re taking CO2 and making it into a valuable product,” said John Parr, vice president at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNQ), the country’s third-largest oil-sands producer by market value. “There’s a business case that can be made for it.”

Such efforts by Canadian Natural and rival oil producers, including Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO) and Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), are partly aimed at convincing U.S. decision makers that the industry can mitigate the climate-change impact of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Coast from Alberta.

Obama has said he won’t issue the permit TransCanada Corp. needs to build the $5.3 billion pipeline to link Alberta with refineries on the Gulf of Mexico if it would significantly worsen global warming. In a July 28 interview with the New York Times (NYT), Obama said that Canada “could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.”


To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Susan Warren; David Scanlan at

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