In an election year when access to domestic oil supplies will figure prominently in the presidential campaign, uncertainty is growing over how much life the critical Trans-Alaska Pipeline has left in it. The pipeline transports roughly 14 percent of U.S. crude oil supplies, yet energy companies are starting to suggest that the lifeline to some of the richest oil fields in the country may not be worth the expense of upkeep. Oil production in Alaska’s North Slope oil fields has declined every year since production peaked in 1988, and the consortium of energy companies that own the line say they are worried: If production slows down too much, the pipeline can become unsafe—or at least uneconomical—to run. But some watchdogs say the industry may be fudging its numbers as part of a ploy to get access to new, potentially rich oil fields. Read more: How Much Life Is Left in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline? - Popular Mechanics
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U.S. Tar Sands? Canadian Company Seeks to Drill in Utah
Extracting oil sands, or tar sands, is big business in Canada. But there are a few deposits here in the Western U.S. too, and now the Canadian experts are looking to get at them.
The United States’ largest source of oil imports is not the Middle East, but rather Canada: The Athabasca oil sands underlying a huge swath of northern Alberta, containing perhaps 175 billion barrels of oil, have been a steady—and controversial—source of liquid fuel. Extracting it is a dirty business, and a recent plan to escalate development by building a pipeline through the Midwest inspired thousands of people to throng the White House. But while Canada is home to most of the world’s oil sands, the United States can claim an area rich in oil sands, too. A small Calgary-based company, U.S. Oil Sands,, wants to extract the oil from sands found in Eastern Utah.