Canada’s Oil Sands: Strategic Decisions to Make Canada an Energy Superpower
Kim, Young Jae
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Systems methodologies are employed to investigate strategic decision problems regarding the development of the oil sands in Canada. Many countries believe energy to be one of their most important national security factors in today’s competitive global era. Canada is no exception. Energy is an issue in Canadians’ growing concerns related to the conflicting priorities of its economy, environment, and society. Various studies have tried to map out Canada’s establishment as an energy superpower. In particular, the massive resources in Canada must be considered as competitive advantages, and oil sands (tar sands) constitute one of the most crucial elements in terms of non-renewable energy. This thesis describes Canada’s oil sands – their characteristics, cost and market analysis, as well as social, economic, and environmental impacts – in order to clarify conflicts that have arisen in recent years. In addition, the importance, potential, and constraints of the oil sands are examined as leading drivers to the country becoming an energy superpower and are compared with the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE)’s studies and recommendations. Multiple-criteria decision analyses based on the ProGrid methodology are carried out at different levels to clarify the structure and current position of Canada’s energy system. An Evaluation Matrix, including multiple criteria, is built, and language ladders with different weights are established to allow various groups of experts to evaluate available options. Based on their evaluations, the strong and weak points of the oil sands are analyzed. At a more detailed level, alternative solutions for water quantity and quality problems in Canada’s oil sands are prioritized with respect to specific criteria, using the ProGrid methodology. The strategic issues in Canada’s oil sands are addressed at different levels, and priorities for decision-making are determined and discussed to guide Canada in becoming an energy superpower.