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Heavy oil is bottom of the barrel

Beyond Canada, only Venezuela and a handful of other producers are still persisting with very heavy oil

NOT LONG ago, the world’s barrel of oil seemed destined to get heavier. Dwindling supplies of light sweet crude forced global refiners to start retooling to take heavier feedstock. A rush was on to exploit the world’s tarry pits. All manner of costly schemes − from extraction of shale-bound kerogen using giant ovens to liquifying coal − were concocted to find brass in the muck. Fracking and tight oil changed all that and with the new abundance of lighter grades, especially from the US, heavy oil’s development outside North America is being stunted. Outside Canada, Venezuela’s huge Orinoco reserves make it the main player, while Estonia still relies on shale oil. Kuwait and Jordan are also p



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