If you’re in to oil investing, here’s a story you’re going to want to hear. It would seem as though Canada may have the world’s richest oil deposits. And, if the proper technology can be developed to unlock these crude commodities, Canada could very well position herself as the number one oil reserve in the world. Yes, that’s even over Saudi Arabia.
The problem is that the crude oil is hard to access. The majority of the estimated 2.1 trillion barrels of the rich, heavy crude is embedded deep within the Earth’s crust, most of it beneath oil-sands and some of it trapped inside of carbonate rock.
Harvesting the oil isn’t as simple as a “drill here, drill now” approach. Fortunately, an existing technology that was first developed to assist US authorities in listening in on underground bunker conversations may be helpful in retrieving much of the valuable resource.
Yet Another Use for Radio Waves
Technology has found a variety of functions for radio waves, from the obvious transmission of media information to ground-breaking medical treatments. Specialized radio wave technology could now help to unlock enough oil to meet the entire world’s demands, by itself, for more than two decades.
The crude oil found in Canada, called bitumen, is particularly heavy and sticky. If this bitumen can be heated enough to liquefy without burning, it can be pumped to the surface using more traditional methods.
That’s where radio waves come in. The right frequency may be able to generate just enough energy to get the crude flowing smoothly and up to the surface. This technology is being considered and researched in an effort to accomplish the same goal as existing technology, without expending more energy than it is worth to harvest the oil.
Current methods use steam to liquidate the stores of bitumen. But even steam power, while relatively clean in and of itself, requires a great deal of energy to produce, not to mention the amount of water it uses. Radio frequencies that could travel down an antenna could accomplish the same effect, without wasting precious water supplies or burning excess energy to create the heat required.
The electromagnetic energy travels through the antenna and into a series of heating coils. These coils relay the heat and result in a more fluid form of the sticky bitumen — a form that can be recovered and utilized.
While this new technology could prove to be not only cleaner, but also more efficient than current technologies, it’s important to note that it is not ready for mass implementation. It could be 2017 at the earliest before companies are ready to test the technology on a large scale.
Even so, if things go according to plan, this technology could reduce the consumption of natural resources used for recovering oil by up to 30%, while increasing production by as much as 25%. All in all, that’s a pretty fair deal.
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