This infographic about the oil sands is from the Alberta Factbook.
Download the PDF in the Learning Activity to look at how oil is extracted from the oil sands in Alberta...
For more information on Alberta's energy mix, click on the other Factbook pages linked here...
Download the PDF in the Learning Activity to look at how oil is extracted from the oil sands in Alberta.
For more information on Alberta's energy mix, click on the other Factbook pages linked here.
For years, Alberta’s crude oil came from conventional wells drilled throughout the province. But over the past 25 years, the share of Alberta’s oil from the oil sands has increased dramatically.
About 80 per cent of Alberta’s crude oil production now comes from the oil sands. The province has three oil sands regions. The largest, and by far the most well known, is the Athabasca oil sands near Fort McMurray. About 300 kilometres west of Fort McMurray are the Peace River oil sands, while directly southeast of the city is the Cold Lake oil sands, which straddle the Saskatchewan border. All three regions are geographically unique. The oil that comes from each area is also distinct.
The Athabasca oil sands form the only oil deposit shallow enough to be excavated using trucks and open-pit mines. Still, some of the Athabasca oil sands are buried deeper and are therefore extracted using steam-assisted gravity drainage to avoid disturbing the soil, trees and wildlife on the surface. Meanwhile, the Peace River oil sands, the smallest of the three regions, are found deep below the ground throughout the Peace River watershed and are also removed using steam-assisted gravity drainage. The Cold Lake oil sands are unique because, while they are also buried deep in the ground, some of the oil is fluid enough to be pumped to the surface using traditional oil wells.
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