Canadas oil industry based on albertas oil sands

The canada based industry that i chose to do is oil and natural gas extraction. Oil extraction done in canada is mainly based in the alberta oil sands in the athabaska, cold lake and peace river regions which employ over 275 000 people. the oil sands are roughly the size of the state of florida (about 20 percent of alberta). These oil sands come with many benefits socially and economically but also come with many issues.

Alberta oil sands

There are two main ways that oil is extracted in canada either open pit mining or in situ which is latin for “situated in the original, natural, or existing place or position”. Open pit mining is like normal mineral mining, when bitumen (which is heavy and thick oil) is located close to the surface it will be extracted by open-pit mining. When the bitumen is located closer to the ground the land will be completely cleared (trees, and animal habitats) to ensure oil is properly extracted. first the oil is collected then it is transported to a crushing facility. once the oil is crushed hot water is added and when it settles the bitumen rises to the top and sand and rocks sink. when bitumen is located deep below the surface it will be extracted through in-situ. Since bitumen is so thick first they need to drill a pipe and inject hot steam to make it thinner, then they let the bitumen rest when it is liquid enough they drill another pipe and extract it. 80 % of oil sands are accessible through in -situ and 20% are accessible through open-pit mining

this diagram shows how oil is extracted through in-situ. since the bitumen is so thick and heavy first they need to inject steam (fresh water) to make it thinner so they can extract it.

The resources gathered through oil extraction are bitumen a heavy and thick oil and natural gas. Natural gas is a fossil fuel used as a source of energy to heat homes, cooking (when you use a gas stove) , electricity generation and fuel for vehicles. Some of the biggest benefits that come from the oil sands are its contribution to canada's economy and gdp. For example the oil industry contributed an estimated 91 billion to canadas gross domestic product in 2012 and over 475 000 jobs. The oil sands are very beneficial for canadians bec

The oil sands have a much bigger social impact then most people would think for example they help pay for everyday things like healthcare and education for albertans by contributing to our economy. Humans are very dependent on oil and natural gas because they are used for transportation (trucks,cars,planes etc.) and for cooking and heating, the alberta oil sands provide 80% of canada's oil and gas production and are very important to most canadians.

There are many issues related to extracting, producing as well as using oil and natural gas found in the alberta oil sands. Since oil and natural gas are non renewable resources they cause many environmental issues. For example forest areas are cleared in order to extract oil but clearing land to extract oil harms the wildlife like caribous that once lived in them. When oil and natural gas are being extracted from oil sands the toxic water that has been known to be cancerous is left in tailings ponds which can leak into indigenous people's water supply and harm wildlife if they are exposed to it. for example the fishes in the athabaska river were exposed to this toxic waste and were found with tumors the size of golf balls. these fish and the water from the athabaska river are food supply for nearby indigenous communities and they could be exposed to these cancerous toxins. As well as issues related to extracting oil and natural gas there are also issues related to producing it. it requires a large amount of water to produce oil for example it takes about 2 to 4.5 barrells of fresh water, mainly from the athabaska river to produce 1 barrell of oil. the oil sands use more water per year than the entire city of calgary even though the water is recycled. using oil and natural gas can have many impacts on the environment. using oil and gas are responsible for 1/3 of canada's greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to melting glaciers, acid rain and global warming. oil that leaks from vehicles can also enter our sewer systems, water supply and contaminate soil making it toxic and not suitable for growing vegetation.


Created with images by jasonwoodhead23 - "ALBIAN SANDS 2011"

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