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MCW Enterprises Ltd., a Canada-based corporation, announced on Nov. 19 that it has received all necessary permits to streamline tar sands extraction at its Asphalt Ridge plant located in Vernal, Utah starting in December.

The announcement comes just weeks after U.S. Oil Sands Company received the first ever green light to extract tar sands south in the United States.

Recently changing its name from MCW Energy, MCW Enterprises Ltd. owns MCW Oil Sands Recovery LLC as a wholly owned subsidiary. The company’s CEO, R. Gerald Bailey – often also referred to as Raymond Bailey or Jerry Bailey - is the former President of Exxon Arabian Gulf and also served as an Executive for Texaco (since purchased by Chevron) for 15 years.

Cross-Posted From DeSmogBlog

MCW Enterprises Ltd., a Canada-based corporation, announced on Nov. 19 that it has received all necessary permits to streamline tar sands extraction at its Asphalt Ridge plant located in Vernal, Utah starting in December.

The announcement comes just weeks after U.S. Oil Sands Company received the first ever green light to extract tar sands south in the United States.

Recently changing its name from MCW Energy, MCW Enterprises Ltd. owns MCW Oil Sands Recovery LLC as a wholly owned subsidiary. The company’s CEO, R. Gerald Bailey – often also referred to as Raymond Bailey or Jerry Bailey - is the former President of Exxon Arabian Gulf and also served as an Executive for Texaco (since purchased by Chevron) for 15 years.

MCW’s website explains that its stake in the Asphalt Ridge is a “proven/probable resource of over 50+ million barrels of oil” and that it “is seeking other oil sands leases in Utah, which contains over 32 billion barrels of oil within 8 major deposits.”

Bailey told Flahrety Financial News that he sees this first project as a crucible, or testing grounds, with the potential for more extraction to come down the road.

“This is really going to be a technology play,” he stated. “I don’t plan to build another Exxon out there in the desert.”

The Frac Sand Connection

In June 2012, Temple Mountain Energy (TME) – also based in Vernal, UT – cut a five-year oil sands supply agreement deal with MCW.

“Under this five year Supply Agreement, Temple Mountain will supply MCW with 8,333 tons of oil sands material per month until the year 2016,” MCW’s website explains.

Once the bitumen is extracted, TME plans on selling the fine-grained sand under which it sits to unconventional oil and gas companies forhydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

“The recent rapid expansion of shale gas and shale oil drilling…has greatly increased the need for fracking sand in this region,” TME wrote on it website. “Asphalt Ridge is well-positioned to serve this high-volume market—both in terms of geographic location and in terms of sand quality.”

To date, frac sand mining companies have targeted five states - Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, and Iowa - transforming tens of thousands of acres of land into “Sand Land.” Utah is soon to become number six.

Race for What’s Left: End of “Easy Oil,” Heavy Price to Pay

With domestic unconventional oil and gas wells under-producing, setting the stage for the shale gas bubble to burst, the push to extract tar sands in the United States is a depiction of the oil and gas industry’s reckless push to extract every last drop in a “race for what’s left.”

The age of “easy oil,” to borrow the term from scholar Michael Klare, is over. In a May 2012 interview with FutureMoneyTrends.com, Bailey acknowledged this as well, stating that the “cheap, easy oil is pretty much behind us.”

Bailey defines “cheap” here with regards to the price of extracting the “tough oil” from a production point-of-view.

But as the Alberta tar sands north of the border have shown, it’s the ecosystem and climate that really pays the heaviest price of all.

Originally posted to Steve Horn on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We'll find that our newfound push for energy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, citisven, DawnN

    independence has an unbearable price.  Thanks for the diary Steve.

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 10:22:49 AM PST

  •  Hopefully Those Sites Will Be Future Solar Farms (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, trumpeter, DawnN

    Since the land will be worthless.

    We've already strip mined an area the size of Delaware in the US.   Just to put that in perspective, that is also right in the ballpark of how much solar energy collection we'd need to supply all our needs.   Change is coming.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 10:46:42 AM PST

  •  I think they're going to lose their ass on this (0+ / 0-)

    because renewables are becoming viable so quickly that tar sand extraction won't be economical anymore by the end of the decade.  There are going to be lots of electric vehicles on the roads by 2020.

    And President Obama's doubling of CAFE efficiency standards sure doesn't help their cause, either.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:20:25 PM PST

  •  This seems so sad to me, it appears to be a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN

    very beautiful place (like much of UT). You can see some photos, here.

    The people in this area are NOT going to be happy, most likely, with the resulting damage to their community from fracking and tar sands. Did the community fight this?

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:47:33 PM PST

    •  Drill baby drill... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnN

      That's the motto of the GOP. Of which Utah is -- what -- 198% GOP? If not more?

      I guess they're going to have to modify that to "frack baby frack".

      The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

      by kmiddle on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 01:45:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vernal is one of the towns nearest Dinosaur (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN

    National Monument on the Utah...the other is in Colorado. The Green River cuts through there on its way down toward Moab and its junction with the Colorado. Lot of great habitats on those rivers...how much threat is this project to the river and its waters?

    The truth is we are tortured by the truth.

    by walkshills on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 03:39:40 PM PST

  •  Were these permits only state level or was there (0+ / 0-)

    Federal involvement. What a clusterfrack of horribleness.

    350.org announces major Washington, DC, rally on Presidents Day, Feb. 18, 2013. See you there.

    by DawnN on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 04:58:30 PM PST

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