This report discusses basic methodology of life-cycle assessments and compares several publicly-available assessments of life-cycle emissions data for Canadian oil sands crudes against each other and against those of other global reference crudes. It also includes a survey of the scientific literature and the findings of the State Department's Keystone XL Project Envoronmental Impact Statement, and concludes with a discussion of tools for policymakers who are interested in using the assessments to investigate the potential impacts of U.S. energy policy choices onthe environment.
Recent congressional interest in U.S. energy policy has focused in part on ways through which the United States could secure more economical and reliable crude oil resources both domestically and internationally. Many forecasters identify petroleum refined from Canadian oil sands as one possible solution. This report discusses conclusions revealed from a survey of available literature on the matter, particularly in regards to Greenhouse Gas and Well-to-Tank emissions.