Oil sands extraction

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Oil sands extraction is the process of removing oil sand from the ground and extracting bitumen from it. This bitumen is later upgraded into a synthetic crude oil that can be separated into usable fractions through fractional distillation. There are two main methods that can be used to extract bitumen from this oil sand:[1]

  • Oil sands surface mining: In this method, large amounts of oily sand are dug out of the ground and the bitumen is separated from it afterwards through mechanical and chemical processing.
  • In situ oil sands mining: This is a process used to extract bitumen from oil sand that is buried deeply below the ground. In this process a well is drilled into a deposit and steam is injected into the formation to allow bitumen to become less viscous and flow out of the well. This removes the desired bitumen but leaves the sand in place.

Further Reading

Please visit the following pages for much more information on nuclear science and its role in the energy industry.

References

  1. Natural Resources Canada. (Feb 19, 2016). Oil Sands Extraction and Processing [Online]. Accessed Oct.12, 2018. Available: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/oil-sands/18094

Authors and Editors

Danish Chahal, Ellen Lloyd, Omer Mohamed, Ashley Sheardown, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: January 4, 2019
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