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Exploitation of Canadian Tar Sands

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Exploitation of Canadian tar sands
How is the oil formed?
Conventionally crude oil is extracted by drilling into a petroleum reservoir, but tar sands are mostly mined by opencast mining. The extracted material is then crushed, mixed with water and the bitumen separated out before it can be refined for use. Tar sands are also pumped out. High pressure steam is injected underground to separate the bitumen from the sand.
Economic costs: * Producing useable oil from tar sands is expensive; it is only viable when oil costs over $30 a barrel. It costs $15 a barrel to extract bitumen from tar sands, compared with $2 a barrel for conventional crude oil * Producing useable oil from tar sands is also very energy intensive. It takes the equivalent of one barrel of oil to produce three barrels of crude oil from tar sands. Conventional oil production requires much less energy.
Economic Benefits: * Oil is vital to the Canadian economy. In 2007, the oil industry accounted for nearly 20% of the total value of Canadian exports. * By 2030, tar sands could meet 16% of North America’s demand for oil. – Providing a secure sizable source of oil for Canada and the USA. * At a local scale, mining, processing and its multipliers generate around 100,00 jobs in Northern Alberta
Environmental costs: * The Alberta Energy Research Institute says that processed tar sands are a large source of greenhouse gas emissions due to their energy intensive production * The environmental impact of mining Canada’s tar sands includes the removal of trees, shrubs and soul. 470 km2 of forest have been removed and lakes of toxic wastewater cover 130 km2
Key players: * Local residents of Alberta, Canada * National government * Albertas Oil sands cooporation, Shell Canada limited and Suncor Energy are all the production compnays involved. * Canadian...

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