Business: Gas from Goo

More energy from heavy oil

At first glance, it looks like any other oilfield, with acre upon acre of pumps rhythmically nodding up and down as they suck up the crude oil trapped in rock below the surface. But the Guadalupe, Calif., oil patch 50 miles northwest of Santa Barbara is no ordinary oilfield. Like a growing number of production sites in California and Texas, Guadalupe is producing a gloppy goo that looks more like asphalt than normal petroleum. This is so-called heavy oil, a once rejected energy source that oilmen now believe may help diminish the nation's dependence on imported petroleum.

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