Source: (Abandoned oil well in West Texas)


..and the great thing is that while the old Weyburn Oil Field will be depleted by 2030, the new Weyburn field will have an infinite life. Read on...

The Weyburn field is located near Midale, Saskatchewan: approximately 60km. to the Northwest of Estevan.  The field was discovered in 1954 and has been producing since 1957. Measured by cumulative crude oil output it is the largest oil field in Saskatchewan and one of the top-10 largest in Canada.  Production peaked at 45,000 barrels of crude oil per day in the 1960s but has been in steady decline since and is now 30,000 barrels.

30,000 barrels per day is the same as 1.5 million tonnes annually. The energy content of that crude oil is about 17,500 gigawatt hours (a tonne of crude oil contains 11.7 megawatt hours of energy). 

However extracting energy from crude oil (either in a power station or the internal combustion engine of a car or truck) is very inefficient: a 38 percent conversion efficiency is about as good as one can hope for.

So the 17,500 gigawatt hours of energy in those 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil can be converted, at the 38 percent efficiency rate, to 6,700 gigawatt hours of usable energy. To put that in context; this amount is equivalent to about a third of all the electricity generated in Saskatchewan each year.

Now turning to the recently discovered 'new Weyburn':  There is no technical nor economic reason why wind energy should not generate 25 percent of the province's electricity; add in solar and the figure rises to 35 percent. 35 percent of SaskPower's annual generation of 23,155 gigawatt hours equals 7,640 gigawatt hours. There you have it - one new Weyburn! 

Now all we need is the decision makers to start making some decisions and to stop getting hung up on mythical problems. Judging by progress over the last 8 years we shouldn't hold our collective breath.


AuthorJames Glennie