Presentation on theme: "The Alberta Oil Sands. Where are the Oil Sands? Alberta Oil Sands There are 3 major Deposits: 1.Athabasca 2.Cold Lake 3.The Carbonate Triangle: Peace."— Presentation transcript:
Alberta Oil Sands There are 3 major Deposits: 1.Athabasca 2.Cold Lake 3.The Carbonate Triangle: Peace River, Wabasca and Buffalo Head Hills The Athabasca Deposit is the largest, and is the only area being mined. Cold Lake deposit is only being drilled (in-situ). The Carbonate Triangle is too difficult to access currently
What Type of Ecozone? The Oil Sands are found in the boreal plains ecozone. Canada’s largest biome and contains many animals, plants and products. Human activities are causing stress and changes to this land. Cumulative and long-term effects will cause far- reaching and potentially disastrous changes to the forest.
An area that drains all surface water into the same body of water Starts as tiny trickles of water and becomes large rivers and oceans Always flow from high elevation to low elevation, and from upstream to downstream
The Athabasca Watershed The water starts in the Rocky Mountains and flows NORTH towards the Arctic Ocean. The Athabasca oil sands are in the middle of the watershed, which means waters downstream can be affected by its pollution.
What are the Oil Sands? The sands are in the ground and are a mix of: sand, clay, water, and viscous petroleum = BITUMEN Bitumen exists in the semi-solid or solid phase of natural deposits It will not flow unless: –Heated –Diluted
METHOD 1: Mining When sands are 40-60 m deep Remove overlying soil and rock Excavate the oil sands
EXTRACTION (Oil from Sands) Hot water and solvents (e.g. caustic soda) are added to the sands Slurry is piped to extraction plant It is agitated and bitumen is skimmed from top Sand, water, fine clays and minerals are called the tailings and are sent to tailing ponds Bitumen is further processed to become crude oil
METHOD 2: In Situ (Drilling) When sands are buried too deep >75 m, often 350-600 m below the surface Steam, solvents or thermal energy make the bitumen flow It is then pumped by a well to the surface