Oil Sands

Canada Election: Voters Divided Over Oil Sands Wealth, Climate - Bloomberg

Oil sands, sometimes also called tar sands, are a geologic formation of mixed clay, sand, water and bitumen. Bitumen is a thick oil, something like tar in consistency. 

There is a huge amount of fossil fuel potential in oil sands, but it is difficult to mine and expensive to process. It’s more accurate to describe mining for the bitumen rather than drilling for it. It is so viscous that getting it to flow is a major technical problem. 

Two huge areas of oil sands exist, one in Venezuela and another in Canada. The oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta and in the Orinoco region of Venezuela are estimated to contain the energy equivalent of more than a trillion barrels of oil each. That makes Alberta and Venezuela oil sands potentially as rich in oil reserves as Saudi Arabia and its friends in OPEC. 

There are some serious problems. Getting oil out of the Alberta tar sands requires that the world price per barrel gets high, and stays high enough to make it economically worthwhile to mine in Alberta. 

Another problem is that the oil is dangerous to the environment, partly because of the volatile content of the bitumen. An additional, perhaps unsurmountable problem is that processing oil sands requires a huge amount of water that can be badly polluted in the process.

Deep knowledge,and happy reading.
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