The Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada have boosted that country into the upper echelon of oil producing countries. Oil production being in decline in decline in most of the world, Canada’s projections are vastly increasing as oil sands development continues. Through an extensive extraction process, with better technology development, the oil from the oil sands is coming more easily, and projecting better payoff with the high worldwide demands. However, the obstacles occurring now include a shortage of workers – so if you are in the oil and gas field, look to Alberta and start brushing up on oil sands technology! See: List of Top Oil Sands Employers
Oil sands are deposits of bitumen, a molasses-like, heavy black viscous oil that must be rigorously treated to convert it into and upgraded crude oil so it can be used by refineries to produce the oil products we use every day. Until recently, Alberta’s bitumen deposits were known as ‘tar sands,’ but are now referred to as oil sands. (Sounds nicer, and more lucrative at the same time, doesn’t it?)
Oil sands are substantially heavier than other crude oils. Bitumen, that lovely tar-like mixture of petroleum hydrocarbons, has a density of greater than 960 kilograms per cubic meter. Light crude oil has a density as low as 793 kilograms per cubic meter. Compared to crude oil, bitumen requires upgrading and also dilution with lighter hydrocarbons before it can be transported via oil pipelines.