3Athabasca Oil Sands Facts Oil Sands occupy ~140,000 km2 (96.6% in situ/3.4% mining)First oil sands mine opened in 1967 – GCOS (now Suncor)60% of the total area has been leased to companies for extractionOil sands operations involve both mining and in-situ extractionSurface mineable area is larger than Greater VancouverMining operations occupies and area over 700 km2Alberta’s oil sands petroleum second in size to Saudi ArabiaIn 2008, 45% of Canada’s total oil production came from oil sandsA doubling of current industry size by 2030 has been approved
4Oil Sand Reserves and Resources 1,409 yearsat current plannedproduction rateProduction RatesYear bbl/day,000,000,000,000,489,000,200,000,500,000247 yearsat current plannedproduction rate133 yearsat current plannedproduction rate
33In-Situ Extraction Commences at Cold Lake 1985: Imperial Oil Ltd. produces first “in-situ” oil.1989: Production rate hits 140,000 bbl/day.- Initally high water requirements- Over 4 bbl water / bbl oil- Today, ratio is 0.5Reduction achieved via recycling95% of water recovered withoil is recycled.
34Mining operations: Athabasca oil sands. NASA Earth Observatory image, 2009.
44Clark Hot-Water Process Clark hot-water process uses caustic water solution to emulsify oil from the oil sand particles.Sand particles are hydrophilic but surrounded by bitumen.Process initially recovered ~85% of the bitumen.Recent process improvements have increased recovery to between 88 and 92 percent.Unrecovered bitumen discharged with the tailings, leads to significant environmental concern.
54Pipelines Bitumen is diluted with Naphtha to allow it to flow Nevertheless, it is viscous and highly corrosiveWhen spilled, it behaves differently than does crudeIn water, it sinks rather than floatsSo skimmers are useless for cleanup.In 2010, pipelines transported 600,000 barrels of bitumen to the U.S.Spills are rare but very expensive to deal with and damaging to the environmentFirst oil-sands bitumen spill occurred into the Kalamazoo River in Clean-up is still on-going.