"While tar sands projects are relatively new in the U.S., Canada has been a major producer for years, and in doing so, has become the No.1 foreign supplier to oil in America. Alberta's sprawling oil sands deposits are the second largest oil reserves in the world outside of Saudi Arabia. The region produces about 1.2 million barrels of oil a day with an estimated 174 billion barrels in reserve."
Not to say this doesn't come at price. The oil sands operations in Canada contribute about 4% of their greenhouse emissions. But they would say it's a small price to pay.
According to a report put out by the United States Geological Survey, there are 3 to 4.3 billion barrels of oil assessed in North Dakota and Montana's Bakken Formation. This is 25 times more than the estimate put out in 1995.
"Technically recoverable oil resources are those producible using currently available technology and industry practices. USGS is the only provider of publicly available estimates of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources..
"New geologic models applied to the Bakken Formation, advances in drilling and production technologies, and recent oil discoveries have resulted in these substantially larger technically recoverable oil volumes..."
"The Bakken Formation estimate is larger than all other current USGS oil assessments of the lower 48 states and is the largest 'continuous' oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS. A 'continuous' oil accumulation means that the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrences. The next largest 'continuous' oil accumulation in the U.S. is in the Austin Chalk of Texas and Louisiana, with an undiscovered estimate of 1.0 billions of barrels of technically recoverable oil."
The question remains, will the government make an effort to conduct studies, further research and attempt to wean America from the current foreign oil dependence? Based on the current gas prices, and their continuous rise, it doesn't look promising.