Re: [OPE-L] Oil Sands

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Mon Jan 23 2006 - 09:43:59 EST

> The labour input required to extract oil from shale and
> tar sands is well above that required to pump it from current
> reservoirs. Hence the immedidate effect would be to reduce the rate of
> surplus value and the rate of profit.

Hi Paul C,

Perhaps I don't understand the technical processes enough, but it
seems to me that a) there is much more labor input typically with
conventional oil 'exploration' and drilling (especially when first
setting-up a site) and b) the labor input for the extraction of
oil from the sand is relatively minimal (i.e. there are truckdrivers,
working essentially alone, who dig the sand and place it in the
trucks and there is the labor at the processing plant). It is
noteworthy in this connection that there is a sizable investment in
constant fixed capital (e.g. the trucks are specially made and
relatively expensive), but I'm not sure how that compares to the
constant capital requirements for conventional drilling.

OTOH, in one sense the wage costs for extracting oil from the sands
in Alberta are very high: it is not a very populated area and
relatively high wages  have been offered in an attempt to induce
workers to re-locate there.

In solidarity, Jerry

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