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Techno-economic and Life Cycle Assessments of Oil Sands Products and Liquefied Natural Gas Supply Chains from Canada to Asia-Pacific and Europe Open Access


Other title
oil sands products
liquefied natural gas
life cycle assessment
Techno-economic assessment
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sapkota, Krishna
Supervisor and department
Kumar, Amit (Mechanical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Qureshi, Ahmed (Mechanical Engineering)
Kim, Amy (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
The diversification of Canadian oil sands and natural gas markets is imperative for their long-term economic growth. In order to ensure a competitive spot in the natural gas and oil global market, it is considerably important for Canada to supply its natural gas and oil at a competitive price with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Earlier studies on techno-economic and life cycle assessment modeling of the supply chain costs and environmental risks associated in the delivery of Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) and oil sands products mostly focus on exports to the U.S. This study addresses key gaps by conducting techno-economic and life cycle assessments (LCA) of the Canadian oil sands and LNG supply chains to Asia-Pacific and Western Europe, respectively. This study conducts a comparative cost analysis of potential pathways for Canadian oil sands products (synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen) and the LNG supply chain to seaport destinations in the Asia-Pacific and Western Europe, respectively, and develops comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) models to understand the GHG emissions associated with the respective supply chain. The total supply chain costs and life cycle GHG emissions of Canadian oil sands and the LNG supply chain from the production site to the Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, and India) and Europe, respectively, through the development of data-intensive techno-economic and life cycle analysis models. For Canadian oil sands, four pathways (two for synthetic crude oil (SCO) and two for dilbit) were considered for production (SAGD), transportation (SAGD-upgrader-port in Vancouver), upgrading, and shipping, and Canadian LNG includes two supply chain routes, one from the west coast and the other via the east coast of Canada, from recovery, processing, transmission, liquefaction, and shipping. The results show that the supply chain costs (C$) per barrel of bitumen to China, Japan, and India ranged from 61–87, 60–86, and 62–90. The cost for LNG exports to Europe is in the range of $11.40–$16.50/GJ, respectively, depending on the pathway. Overall supply chain costs of dilbit and SCO are influenced most by production and upgrading costs. From the sensitivity analysis, it is observed that production and upgrading costs are mostly influenced by capital cost, while pipeline lifetime and capacity highly impact transportation (pipeline) and shipping costs, respectively. It is found that life cycle (LC) well-to-wheel (WTW) GHG emissions for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel are from 102.5–132.8, 96.08–128.5, and 91.9–124.6 g-CO2eq/MJ, respectively. The total well-to-port (WTP) GHG emissions (including emissions from recovery, processing, transportation, liquefaction, shipping, and re-gasification at the destination port) from the Canadian production site to Europe are 22.9–42.1 g-CO2eq/MJ, depending on the resources and pathway followed. It is also observed that the LC WTW GHG emissions from Canadian oil sands products are higher than from Saudi Arabian crude with 94.6, 91.7, and 83.3 g-CO2eq/MJ for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, respectively. This difference is largely because of the inclusion of an upgrader unit in the Canadian oil sands energy conversion chain, which significantly increases overall LC emissions. Irrespective of the pathway, the overall emissions can be reduced if the extraction technology is improved such that products require partial or no upgrading before being refined. The costs and GHG emissions values reported in the literature on the delivery of natural gas from countries like Russia, Algeria, Norway, and Qatar were lower than the Canadian LNG supply chain. Therefore, finding alternative sources of natural gas in Eastern Canada might provide the lowest cost and least GHG-intensive alternative to Canadian LNG.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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