Oil Sands

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Definition of 'Oil Sands'

Oil sands are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit found in geological formations of sand, silt, and clay. They contain a mixture of sand, clay, water, and bitumen—a tar-like substance that can be upgraded into synthetic crude oil. Oil sands are found in Canada, Venezuela, and the United States.

Oil sands are a controversial resource because they are expensive to extract and produce a high level of greenhouse gas emissions. However, they are also a potential source of energy security for Canada and the United States.

The extraction of oil sands is a complex process. First, the oil sands must be mined. This can be done using open-pit mining or in situ mining. Open-pit mining involves digging up the oil sands and transporting them to a processing plant. In situ mining involves injecting steam into the oil sands to loosen the bitumen, which is then pumped to the surface.

Once the oil sands have been mined, they are processed to extract the bitumen. This process involves heating the oil sands to separate the bitumen from the sand and water. The bitumen is then upgraded into synthetic crude oil, which can be used to produce gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products.

The extraction and processing of oil sands produces a high level of greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the process requires a lot of energy, and the bitumen contains a high level of carbon. The greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands are a major concern for environmental groups.

Oil sands are a potential source of energy security for Canada and the United States. Canada has the world's largest reserves of oil sands, and the United States is a major consumer of oil. Oil sands could help to reduce the United States' dependence on foreign oil imports.

The development of oil sands is a controversial issue. There are concerns about the environmental impact of oil sands extraction, and the high cost of production. However, oil sands could be a valuable source of energy for Canada and the United States.

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