Alberta's Oil Sands

Topics: Petroleum, Athabasca Oil Sands, Coal Pages: 2 (424 words) Published: October 6, 2013
Alberta Oil Sands

Did you know Canada's energy mostly comes from Alberta's oil sands? It has been estimated that between 1.7 trillion and 2.5 trillion barrels of oil come from Alberta. The province's oil resource plays an important role for the world's oil supply. It has enough oil to keep Canada supplied for the next 400 years!

The oil sands were formed in a pretty complex way.The oil was formed in source rocks, then continued pressure from overlying rock forced the oil through permeable rock layers until it was trapped in reservoirs of sedimentary rock. As years passed, more then a kilometre of sedimentary rock covered the sediments including the oil. About 50 million years ago, huge amounts of liquid hydrocarbons moved the oil-bearing sediments eastward and upward until they reached large areas of sandstone at Northern Alberta. You would find these oil sands in three major areas in northeast Alberta. The oil sands resource is huge, about the size of Florida! There are several processes and techniques on how to remove the oil or extract it. Removing the oil sands from the ground is easy. They are dug out of the ground with huge shovels and dumped in heavy trucks that take them to the processing plant. Here the oil sands are crushed then hot water is added to them which creates a slurry. This slurry now enters a seperating machine. The sands sinks to the bottom and bitumen stays at the top, it is then mixed with solvent and spun. Finally, it can be processed into oil. There is another technique for removing oil that is better for the environment and increases production. It is called the “in situ” technique. This involves injecting steam or solvent into the machine, which seperates the oil from the sand (oil is brought up to surface).One more way of removing oil is a process called upgrading. Upgrading is done in two ways: The first way involves a process called “coking”, which removes carbon, while the second way called hydro-processing adds hydrogen....
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