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    Oil sands and energy wealth

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    Back in 1990, the oil sands of Northern Alberta represented just $19 billion, or 13%, of Canada's energy resource wealth for the year, while natural gas had the highest value at $59 billion. Twenty years later, that picture has changed.

    By 2009, the value of the oil sands reserves under active development was $441 billion—more than the value of coal, crude oil and natural gas combined. Indeed, at its peak in 2008, the value was over $600 billion. Since 2006, the wealth from oil sands has exceeded that from other energy resources, mainly on account of increased reserves.

    The oil sands hold one of the world's largest hydrocarbon deposits, in the form of crude bitumen. In 2009, 169.9 billion barrels, or about 99% of Alberta's total proven oil reserves were attributed to the oil sands—around 13% of total global oil reserves (1,354 billion barrels). Alberta ranks second after Saudi Arabia in proven crude oil reserves, followed by Iran, Iraq and Kuwait.

    Chart 11.3 Value of energy resource stocks
    View data source for chart 11.3

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