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Economics Speaker Jeff Rubin: Oil & Water Don't Mix—And That's A Problem
Economics | January 22, 2013

Economics Speaker Jeff Rubin: Oil & Water Don't Mix—And That's A Problem

First there were disputes over oil. Now, economics speaker Jeff Rubin says, there is a tug-of-war over the water needed to extract that oil. As he writes in The Globe and Mail, oil and water don't mix—and that's bad news for the energy industry. "It’s unfortunate, because the new fuel sources that the International Energy Agency claims will allow North America to reach energy independence require tremendous amounts of water," he says. And when you need about 2 barrels of water to produce a single barrel of bitumen—and are experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than half a century—energy independence moves even farther out of reach.

Fracking (a process that brings hydrocarbons to the surface using a mixture of water and rock-shattering chemicals) is becoming the go-to oil-refining process in many parts of North America. In Alberta, Canada, the Athabasca River provides the water needed to fulfill the energy needs of the province. However, in American states like Texas and Pennsylvania, no such resource exists. As Rubin laments, drought and fracking do not go well together. If we can't find a solution that fulfills the energy sector's water needs, it could bring America's shale revolution to a grinding halt.

Rubin is a leading voice on the energy industry and the economic implications that surround it. He is the author of Why Your World is About To Get a Whole Lot Smaller and The End of Growth; both tackling the issue of rising oil costs and the effect that triple-digit barrel prices will have on the economy. He also advocates for the implementation of greener technologies. Alongside renowned environmentalist David Suzuki, he discusses how increased energy costs will lead us into more carbon neutral, Eco-friendly times. His keynotes are realistic and practical, and he combines current trends with future projections to explain the path that our economy is on—and how we can alter it for the better.
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