Extraction – Getting To The Oil

There are several technologies to extract oil sands bitumen. Mining operations are used to produce the oil near the surface, and for oil deeper underground, processes such as Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) and Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) are used. However, new technologies include:

  • burning the bitumen to produce steam
  • vapor extraction (VAPEX)
  • Toe-to-heel-Air-Injection (THAI) – injecting air into the oil well and igniting it to stimulate oil flow

Experts estimate that the cost to develop the many announced oil sands projects will be in the neighborhood of $150 billion Canadian dollars. Many billions of dollars have already been spent, obviously.

Operating costs to produce a barrel of oil from bitumen vary greatly, fluctuating based on labor and material costs, the cost of natural gas, and other variables. It has gone up year to year.

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All About Bitumen