Handles like oil, priced like coal

A reader notes that another point in favor of Orimulsion is that it doesn’t count towards OPEC production quotas.

This New York Times article gives you a feel for what the Orimulsion buzz was like…back in 1990:

Using the label ”liquid coal,” Venezuela started marketing a bitumen and water emulsion this year that is liquid and easy to handle like oil but priced like coal – a cheap and stable commodity…

After two years of successful tests in power plants in Canada, Britain and Japan, the world power generating industry appears to be optimistic about the product.

Depending on contracts, Orimulsion is sold at $8 to $9.50 a ton, or about $1.10 to $1.30 a barrel. In contrast, heavy fuel oil is now selling for about $19 a barrel, sharply up from $10 a barrel at the end of July

”Once the Middle East crisis hit, my phone started to ring,” said Blair A. Kennedy, Orimulsion’s project manager for the New Brunswick Power Company, in a telephone interview. After test-burning 1.1 million barrels of the fuel, the Canadian utility is negotiating a 20-year supply contract with the Venezuelans.

Venezuela is the only country to produce the fuel commercially, but plant managers do not appear to be overly worried about becoming dependent on a single supplier.

Think they’ll be so blasé next time?