Oil Sands

Oil Sands

Oil sands, tar sands or, more technically, bituminous sands, are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The oil sands are loose sand or partially consolidated sandstone containing naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, and water, saturated with a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen (or colloquially tar due to its similar appearance, odour and colour). Natural bitumen deposits are reported in many countries, but in particular are found in extremely large quantities in Canada. Other large reserves are located in Kazakhstan and Russia. Total natural bitumen reserves are estimated at 249.67 billion barrels (39.694×10^9 m3) globally, of which 176.8 billion barrels (28.11×10^9 m3), or 70.8%, are in Canada.

Oil sands reserves have only recently been considered to be part of the world's oil reserves, as higher oil prices and new technology enable profitable extraction and processing. Oil produced from bitumen sands is often referred to as unconventional oil or crude bitumen, to distinguish it from liquid hydrocarbons produced from traditional oil wells.

The crude bitumen contained in the Canadian oil sands is described by Canadian authorities as "petroleum that exists in the semi-solid or solid phase in natural deposits. Bitumen is a thick, sticky form of hydrocarbon, so heavy and viscous (thick) that it will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. At room temperature, it is much like cold molasses". The World Energy Council (WEC) defines natural bitumen as "oil having a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoises under reservoir conditions and an API gravity of less than 10° API". The Orinoco Belt in Venezuela is sometimes described as oil sands, but these deposits are non-bituminous, falling instead into the category of heavy or extra-heavy oil due to their lower viscosity. Natural bitumen and extra-heavy oil differ in the degree by which they have been degraded from the original conventional oils by bacteria. According to the WEC, extra-heavy oil has "a gravity of less than 10° API and a reservoir viscosity of no more than 10,000 centipoises".

Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates a 12 percent higher amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as the "production" of conventional oil.

Read more about Oil SandsHistory, Reserves, Production, Extraction Process, Transportation and Refining, Economics, Environmental Issues, Input Energy

Other articles related to "oil sands, oil, oils, sands":

Oil Sands - Input Energy
... Since a barrel of oil equivalent is about 6.117 gigajoules (1,699 kWh), its EROEI is 5–6 ... Alternatives to natural gas exist and are available in the oil sands area ...
Clement Bowman - Career
... He then joined Imperial Oil Limited, an affiliate of Exxon Corporation, at the Esso Research Centre in Sarnia, Ontario ... In 1964, Imperial Oil selected him as one of the staff to test the process of bitumen separation on a variety of oil sands by taking the plant to the oil sands formation in Alberta ... conducting studies on the molecular and interfacial properties of the oils sands and the mechanism of the Clark hot water separation process ...
Alberta Research Council - Overview - History
... resource energy research including preliminary coal and oil sands investigation ... Further progress was made on oil sands research in the 1940s with an extraction process patent issued to Dr ... Clark in 1948, laying the foundation for investment in oil sands development ...
Sierra Club Canada - Successes
... Air Quality Council to oversee the regime Raising public awareness about oil sands development - Sierra Club Canada and Sierra Club Prairie have been at the forefront of campaigns to ... terminal were never built Ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions are assessed in oil sands projects - Sierra Club Canada won a law suit in the Federal Court of Canada requiring that greenhouse gas emissions ... Phase-out of a federal tax subsidy to oil sands companies, as well as growing support for a moratorium on new Alberta tar sands projects, which produce the dirtiest oil on the planet ...
Scotford Upgrader
... processes crude bitumen (extra-heavy crude oil) from oil sands into a wide range of synthetic crude oils ... The upgrader is owned by Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), a joint venture of Shell Canada Energy (60%), Marathon Oil Sands L.P ...

Famous quotes containing the words sands and/or oil:

    Perchance the time will come when we shall not be content to go back and forth upon a raft to some huge Homeric or Shakespearean Indiaman that lies upon the reef, but build a bark out of that wreck and others that are buried in the sands of this desolate island, and such new timber as may be required, in which to sail away to whole new worlds of light and life, where our friends are.
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