HOUSTON, Texas (September 1, 2011) – Global production of heavy crude oil, led by new output from Canada, Venezuela and the Middle East, will rise to 12.3 million barrels per day by 2020. This estimate is drawn from short-term and medium-term projections in Hart Energy’s Heavy Crude Oil: A Global Analysis and Outlook to 2035.
The latest edition of the just-released annual study shows even greater production in the long-term project scenario, with average daily output expected to reach 16 million barrels by 2025 and maintaining this level for 10 years. Strong production increases are forecast for North America and South America, as well as Africa and China. North America has the world’s largest combined heavy oil and bitumen resources at 2.2 trillion barrels.
Heavy crude oil does not flow as easily as light crude and is therefore more difficult and expensive to extract. Steam, natural gas or polymers are often injected into the wells to produce the oil. Despite the added costs, Laura Atkins, Hart Energy’s Director of Petroleum Research and principal author of the outlook, notes that “With worldwide sources of low cost light crude diminishing and energy needs spiraling upward each year, heavy crude oil costs are competitive with shale oil, deep-water fields, arctic development and other potential new sources of crude oil.”
Hart Energy’s 200-page study incorporates regional dispositions evaluating internal markets as well as export opportunities; country-by-country analyses focusing on companies and projects; and costs and economics. Projections are differentiated between the outlook for the short- and medium-term projects, and more speculative ones in the long term (projects not stated to start before 2020).
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