what is OIL SAND

Bituminous sands are a major source of unconventional oil, although only Canada has a large-scale commercial oil sands industry. In 2006, bitumen production in Canada averaged 1.25 million barrels per day (200,000 m3/d) through 81 oil sands projects. 44% of Canadian oil production in 2007 was from oil sands.[20] This proportion is expected to increase in coming decades as bitumen production grows while conventional oil production declines, although due to the 2008 economic downturn work on new projects has been deferred. Petroleum is not produced from oil sands on a significant level in other countries.

The Alberta oil sands have been in commercial production since the original Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor Energy) mine began operation in 1967. A second mine, operated by the Syncrude consortium, began operation in 1978 and is the biggest mine of any type in the world. The third mine in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Albian Sands consortium of Shell Canada, Chevron Corporation, and Western Oil Sands Inc. [purchased by Marathon Oil Corporation in 2007] began operation in 2003. Petro-Canada was also developing a $33 billion Fort Hills Project, in partnership with UTS Energy Corporation and Teck Cominco, which lost momentum after the 2009 merger of Petro-Canada into Suncor.

In the Republic of the Congo, the Italian oil company Eni have announced in May 2008 a project to develop the small oil sands deposit in order to produce 40,000 barrels per day (6,400 m3/d) in 2014.

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