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Keystone XL dies with Alberta oilsands, but Utah thrives

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World Pipelines,

Oil prices continue their slump, Keystone XL is dead, and several major oilsands projects have been scrapped, but America's first-ever clean oilsands project in Utah is defying the market with low-cost production.

The decision to kill Keystone XL was an economic one: with the major oil sands projects that were to supply the pipeline going under, it no longer makes sense. Now, some US$60 billion of Canadian oilsands projects are in big trouble, unable to withstand high production costs and low oil prices.

Shell has moved to scrap its 80 000 bpd Carmon Creek project. And earlier this year, three major Canadian companies said they would halt new projects and expansions, and Total and Statoil have also thrown in the towel.

A new direction

Breaking away from this trend, one North American oilsands project is thriving, led by MCW Energy Group. The project debuted in Utah with a breakthrough technology that offers not only low production costs that can withstand price volatility, but also gives us the previously impossible: a clean way to produce oilsands.

Major Canadian oilsands projects require US$80 oil to break even. MCW's clean oilsands extraction plant at Asphalt Ridge, Utah, is producing 250 bpd for only US$27 - 30 per bbl. This is low enough to turn a profit even in today's market. And when the company finishes building its second 5000 bpd plant, the costs will be closer to US$20 per bbl.

The plant is right in the heart of Utah's Green River Formation at Asphalt Ridge, which alone is believed to hold some 1 billion bbls of recoverable oil.

Experts estimate that production using this new technology in Utah is more profitable than any other oilsands project in North America, and more profitable than today's shale production.

This combination of clean and profitable even attracted the former Exxon president of Arabian Gulf operations, Dr. R Gerald Bailey, to Utah, where today he is the CEO of MCW. Once washed with MCW's patented solvent, the sand comes out 99.9% clean before it is returned to the Earth, according to Dr. Bailey.

Edited from source by Stephanie Roker

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