Finance

Oil Sands

MEANING of ‘Oil Sands’

Sand and rock product which consists of crude bitumen (a heavy, thick type of petroleum). Oil sands are found mostly in the Athabasca area of northern Alberta, Canada, and in areas of Venezuela. Bitumen is extracted and processed utilizing two methods:

1. Mining – Large locations of land are cleared of trees and brush, then the top soil and clay are removed to expose the oil sand. This surface mining method utilizes large trucks and shovels to get rid of the sand, which can have a volume of anywhere from 1-20% of real bitumen. After processing and updating, the end outcome is sent out to refineries, where it’s made into gas, jet fuel and other petroleum products.

2. In Situ – This reasonably brand-new approach is generally utilized to get bitumen in oil sand that is buried too deep listed below the earth’s surface to be recovered with a truck and shovel. In situ innovation injects steam deep below the earth to separate the viscous bitumen from the sand and pump it up to the surface area. The bitumen then goes through the very same updating process as it would in the mining approach.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Oil Sands’

The Alberta government approximates that there are 1.7 to 2.5 trillion barrels of oil caught in the oil sands, however some industry groups and organizations dispute this claim. The end product from oil sand is very comparable to, if not much better than, that of traditional oil extraction (using oil rigs). However the intensive mining, extraction and updating process indicates that oil from oil sands typically costs several times more money to produce than conventional techniques.

1. The mining technique is considered to be very damaging to the environment, as it involves leveling numerous square miles of land, trees and wildlife. Oil companies utilizing this method are required to return the area to its original ecological condition once the mining is completed, including further to expenses.

2. The in situ technique is more pricey than the mining approach, but it’s much less damaging to the environment, needing just a couple of hundred meters of land and a neighboring water source to run. It’s approximated by the Alberta government that 70-80% of oil in the oil sands is buried unfathomable for open pit mining; therefore, in situ methods will likely be the future of extracting oil from oil sands. The most common type of in situ is called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD).

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