Wednesday , 16 August 2017


The Oil Sands are NOT the "Tar" Sands and 9 More Interesting Facts

The oil sands in northern Alberta are crucially important to the Canadian economy. People from all over the country are traveling there to find work. The news is filled with controversy over proposed pipelines (the Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway) to carry the oil to export markets. Here are 10 things everyone should know about the oil sands. Words: 878

So says an article* posted on www.sympatico.ca which Lorimer Wilson, editor of www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com (A site for sore eyes and inquisitive minds) and www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) has further edited ([ ]), abridged (…) and reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) below for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. The article’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article. Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

Who in the world is currently reading this article along with you? Click here

The article goes on to say, in part:

1. The oil sands are NOT the “tar” sands

(credit: Getty Images)

In the past, the oil sands were referred as tar sands because the bitumen – the very viscous oil found in the oil sands – was used for roofing and paving tar. This was an ineffective use of the oil sands because it did not harden enough.   

 

2. Alberta has the third highest amount of proven crude oil reserves in the world

(credit: Getty Images)

After Saudi Arabia (260.1 billion barrels) and Venezuela (211.1 billion), Alberta with 170.8 billion barrels ranks third. Of that, 169.3 billion barrels are crude bitumen in the oil sands and 1.5 billion barrels are in conventional crude. Alberta holds 96% of Canada’s oil reserves.   

 

3. Only 54% of the oil in the oil sands is currently recoverable

(credit: Getty Images)

There are 315 billion barrels of potentially recoverable oil in Alberta’s oil sands. Under current economic conditions – mainly the price of oil – and the technology available, only 170.8 billion barrels are worth recovering.   

 

4. The U.S., Venezuela and Russia also have oil sands

(credit: Getty Images)

Oil sands are also found in Venezuela, the United States and Russia. Alberta’s oil sands are the largest, the most developed and use the most advanced production processes.   

 

5. 2 methods are used to extract oil from the oil sands

(credit: Getty Images)

The two main ways are:

  1. surface mining: where the bitumen must be within 75 metres of the surface. Approximately 2 tonnes of sand is dug up to find one barrel of synthetic crude oil. Only about 20% of the oil sands oil is recoverable through this method  
  2. in situ recovery: uses steam, solvent or thermal energy to make it possible to pump the bitumen to the surface. Immense amounts of water are necessary to recover the bitumen and the oil companies involved are working on recycling and reducing the amount of water used.

 

 6. Bitumen from the oil sands must be upgraded before it is sold as crude oil

The oil sands bitumen has been degraded by million of years of organic processes which leave it with too much carbon or too little hydrogen.The upgrading, which is usually done near Edmonton, involves three steps:

  1. separating the compounds;
  2. improving the hydrogen to carbon ratio and
  3. removing contaminants such as sulphur.

 

7. Upgraded bitumen (known as synthetic crude) travels by pipeline to refineries across North America

(credit: Getty Images)

Most of the oil sands oil is moved through pipelines to refineries or to ports for shipping. Most of it is refined in California, the U.S. Midwest, the Gulf Coast and southern Ontario and Quebec. A small amount is refined in Alberta for local use. Two new controversial pipelines have been proposed:

  1. the Keystone XL would carry oil sands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, and
  2. Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project would travel over the Rockie Mountains to the British Columbia coast.

 

8. Producing oil from the oil sands creates more greenhouse gases than from ”conventional” oil

(credit: Getty Images)

In situ excavation creates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of the final product as conventional oil. In situ ”well to wheels” emissions – which includes combustion of final product – creates 5% – 15% more carbon dioxide than average crude oil, according to the consulting firm Cambridge Energy Research Associates.    

 

9. Oil companies are required to return mine sites to their natural states once a mine is finished

(credit: Getty Images)

Once a company is finished with a mine site, the developer is required to restore the site so that the ecosystem is as healthy as it was before. For a surface mine, this means putting the sand, clay and gravel back into the mine, followed by topsoil so that the forests will regenerate. Surface mining has disturbed 715 square kilometres of oil sands land. About 71 square kilometres are under active reclamation, including more than 7.5 million newly planted seedlings. Most of the oil sands are only accessible by in situ methods that disturb only 10% to 15% of a similar sized surface mine.    

 

10. The oil sands are the highest non-renewable revenue generator in Alberta

(credit: Getty Images)

In fiscal year 2010 – 2011, the Alberta government collected more than $3.7 billion in royalties from the oil sands. This was the second fiscal year that the oil sands were the top source of non-renewable resource revenue in the province. This money became part of the government’s general revenues, which funds hospitals, schools and infrastructure.  *http://finance.sympatico.ca/galleries/oil_sands.htm?feedname=FINANCE_GALLERY-Oil-Sands&pos=9&nolookup=true

 

If you enjoyed reading the above article then:

Sign-up for Automatic Receipt of Articles in your Inbox or via FACEBOOK | and/or TWITTER so as not to miss any of the best financial articles on the internet edited for clarity and brevity to ensure you a fast an easy read.

 
 

 Related Articles:

1. Canada’s Oil Sands: “The World’s Dirtiest Commodity”?

When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind: the world’s peacekeeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country’s government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee’s tea party. Words: 1377

2. How ‘Crude’ are Canada’s Oil Sands?

The carbon footprint left by Canada’s oil sands has been a target of criticism for years with many environmentalists suggesting that the extraction and processing of bitumen from Alberta’s northern oil sands is “two to three times worse” for the environment than any other supply of oil on the planet. Is that legitimate criticism? Words: 692

3. Crude Oil: How ‘Sweet’ it can be!

Some people arbitrarily speak about oil as if it is a single, indistinguishably homogenous substance without any unique differentiation, but this is actually not the case at all! In fact, there are many different kinds of oil. Words: 1007

4. What Happens to Oil Prices if Israel Bombs Iranian Nuclear Facilities?

OIL

We now believe that there is at least a 50% probability of Israeli airstrikes against Iranian nuclear sites… Iran has multiple retaliatory options at its disposal…[and it begs the question:] Which options would most adversely affect the price of oil? [Let’s take a look at what those options would be.] Words: 544

5. What is Shale Oil?

People often say: “You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.” However that’s exactly what shale oil is. An alternative fuel, created by squeezing our planet’s proverbial “Life Blood” out of rock. Words: 1066

6. Peak Oil: What a Farce!

OIL

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. By now, Peak Oil was supposed to be a fact of daily life. People were supposed to be lined up at gas stations, struggling to buy US$10-a-gallon gas. Solar and wind companies were supposed to occupy prominent places on the Big Board instead of going out of business right and left. People were supposed to have diminished expectations – resigned to shivering in the dark. Free markets, a flawed system of commerce, were to be exposed as a misleading theoretical construct, incapable of providing for people’s needs…The world was running out of resources…Now, suddenly, there is a different tale to tell and the New York Times is up to the task. Up and down the Americas, we learn, there is an Oil Boom. Suddenly, we have gone from enforced austerity to an unheralded plenty. Middle East, watch out! [But all is not as it seems. Let me explain.] Words: 1440

7. Peak Oil Is Still With Us – Here’s Why

OIL

In a recent article called There Will Be Oil in the WSJ, Daniel Yergin once again attempts to debunk the concept of peak oil and sees global production capacity growing to 110 mmbpd by 2030, followed by slow decline. In this short report I take a quick look at his key arguments in an effort to bring further convergence between the peak oil and business-as-usual camps. [Unfortunately, I failed to do so concluding that Peak Oil is still very much with us. Let me explain.] Words: 2032

8. Get Positioned: Oil & Uranium Going to Record Highs! Here’s Why

As the world approaches ‘Peak Oil’ crude oil usage will begin to be rationed more and more and the world will turn to nuclear energy to meets its energy needs. As such, expect both oil and uranium to surpass their previous record levels of US$147 per barrel and US$140 per pound, respectively, within the next 2-3 years. Let me explain why. Words: 1446

9. Why Oil is Headed To $300 – Yes, $300!

The price of oil is headed “unimaginably higher” in the next few years – to somewhere north of $300 a barrel – because of two very simple forces. Words: 708

10. U.S. Military Warns of Serious Oil Shortfall by 2015

The US military’s Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear by 2012 and that there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact. Words: 455