U.S. crude production from shale and other tight oil plays will reach nearly 5 million barrels a day by 2020. The country currently imports nearly 8 million barrels a day. Even if demand remained flat, the U.S. still couldn't produce enough crude to eliminate imports.
"Despite the fact that the U.S. is growing in terms of its ability to supply oil, there's still room for oil sands."
Jackie Forrest is a senior director with IHS CERA. She says the main destination for the heavy, oil sands crude will be the Gulf Coast.
"At least 1.5 million barrels a day of Canadian crude could be taken into the U.S. Gulf Coast without modifications to the existing refineries. So those refineries are already geared to take that type of crude because they've been taking similar crudes from other heavy crude suppliers, such as Mexico and Venezuela."
TransCanada has applied for a fresh permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, linking the Alberta oil sands directly to Port Arthur and Houston. The White House is expected to rule on whether to grant the permit later this year.
IHS CERA, Canadian Oil Sands Energy Dialogue