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The region with the largest contribution to the Canadian economy is Southern Ontario

Personally, I have to wonder if this will be the case over the next decade. Forget the money that will be brought in by actually selling the oil...over the next 6-7 years, expers currently estimate that there will be at least $80 billion (Canadian) spent constructing oil sands mining operations. And that number only keeps rising. Just 6 months ago, the number was $60 billion...and just 2 weeks ago, I saw where some experts had raised their estimates to $90 billion plus.

Why such rapid increases? First, the oil companies are more confident that oil prices will remain high enough to make huge they are willing to "gamble" more money in capital expenditures. Second, there's simply a ton of oil up there -- the confirmed reserves are as big as the estimated reserves in Saudi Arabia. Granted, the oil is MUCH more expensive to produce, but there is a lot of it. And, finally, there is simply an amazing shortage of workers to do the required the people that are up there are getting great pay and the oil companies are having to increase their budgets to account for this.

Albian Sands -- just one of the many operations -- will begin producing oil later this year. They will produce approximately 155,000 barrells of oil every day...for 30 years. True North will begin construction in the next year...and in 2005 they will start to produce about 95,000 barrells of oil per day...that will increase to about 190,000 barrells per day in 2008 when their second line is slated to start running. Syncrude and Suncor each have massive operations that are currently expanding to be even larger than either of these. CNRL (Canadian National Resource Labs) is getting their funding together for a facility to be about the size of Albian. And there are many smaller operations currently producing additional future operations that are just now starting to put plans together.

I could be wrong about the economic impact of this...and I admit that I know very little about the economic impact of Southern Ontario (though I believe that Canada's population and economy as a whole are roughly that of California's)...but I know a lot about the oil sands industry and the numbers I quoted are real. Given that much money -- just from the construction of the sites -- it seems like Alberta could be the dominant economic player over the next decade.

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