Oil Sands Today

What are oil sands?

Oil sands are a mixture of sand, water, clay and bitumen. Bitumen is oil that is too heavy or thick to flow or be pumped without being diluted or heated. At 10°C/50°F, bitumen is hard as a hockey puck. Some bitumen is found between the surface and 70 metres (200 feet) underground, but the majority is much deeper. 

test picture

GHG Emissions

Canada’s oil sands industry continues to reduce GHG emissions intensity. 

  • Oil sands account for 8.7% of Canada’s GHG emissions and just over 0.13% of global GHG emissions. Source: Environment Canada 2013 and United Nations Statistical Division.
  • Canada, with 0.5% of the world’s population, produces 2% of GHG emissions.
  • On a full cycle basis, about 30% of oil-related GHG emissions come from exploration and production.
  • On a full cycle basis, about 70% of oil-related emissions come from combustion - including automobile exhaust. Oil sands crude has similar CO2 emissions to other heavy oils and is 9% more intensive than the U.S. crude supply average on a wells-to-wheels basis. “Wells-to-wheels” measures CO2 emissions from the start of oil production through to combustion.

Learn more about the industry progress to lower GHG emissions.

STT Enviro Corp: Storage Tank Innovation for the Oil Sands

Canada's Energy