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Tar Sands:. A Future Energy?. Definition of Tar Sands. In a nutshell: gravels or sands that are saturated with very heavy crude oil. Think of a very soggy, new asphalt road. Tar Sands:. Process of Creation. Process of Creating Tar Sands.

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tar sands

Tar Sands:

A Future Energy?

definition of tar sands
Definition of Tar Sands

In a nutshell: gravels or sands that are saturated with very heavy crude oil.

Think of a very soggy, new asphalt road.

tar sands1

Tar Sands:

Process of Creation

process of creating tar sands
Process of Creating Tar Sands

The petroleum is created in the same fashion as other petroleum.

However, over time, various processes have eliminated the lighter components of the crude oil.

interest in tar sands little until recently
Interest in Tar Sands:Little Until Recently

Remote, very nasty location, cheap conventional crude oil, technology for extraction not yet developed:

Perfect formula for ignoring tar sands until recently.

interest in tar sands
Interest in Tar Sands

Development of expertise in drilling for oil in nasty remote places has made their location not the problem it was 30 years ago.

interest in tar sands1
Interest in Tar Sands

Canadians, mostly, have worked on the technology since the 1970’s, with assistance from their government and increasingly, US oil companies.

Technology proven for the last 15 years.

interest in tar sands2
Interest in Tar Sands

Surge in price in the last decade, and issues of reliability, have suddenly made them much more popular.

tar sands2

Tar Sands:

Location

location of tar sands
Location of Tar Sands

Two known sites, of very large size:

Canada and Venezuela

location of tar sands1
Location of Tar Sands

Many other sites, of large size:

US, Russia, other countries

tar sands3

Tar Sands:

Advantages

advantages of tar sands
Advantages of Tar Sands

Enormous quantities.

Developed technology.

Converted to crude oil, can fit into existing system without change.

advantages of tar sands enormous quantities
Advantages of Tar Sands: Enormous Quantities

Canadian tar sands are estimated to have as much crude oil as Saudi Arabia has petroleum.

At least.

Ditto for Venezuela.

advantages of tar sands developed technology
Advantages of Tar Sands: Developed Technology

The technology is now developed, in place, and has been for at least 15 years.

All we need to do is expand production.

advantages of tar sands no great change
Advantages of Tar Sands: No Great Change

The final product is crude oil, same as crude oil from elsewhere.

All we have to do is build more pipelines and refineries, and plug it into our current system.

No change to anything!

tar sands4

Tar Sands:

Disadvantages

disadvantages of tar sands
Disadvantages of Tar Sands

Energy hog to develop.

Need to expand pipelines etc. in remote area.

Production process very polluting.

Contributes to global warming.

disadvantages of tar sands energy hog
Disadvantages of Tar Sands: Energy Hog

Different studies have produced different numbers, but all agree:

Takes enormous amount of energy to produce:

Anywhere from 20-50% as much energy as obtained.

disadvantages of tar sands energy hog1
Disadvantages of Tar Sands: Energy Hog

Currently, uses natural gas for the process.

Does this make sense?

disadvantages of tar sands infrastructure costs
Disadvantages of Tar Sands: Infrastructure Costs

If we want to replace “foreign” oil with Canadian oil, we will need to dramatically expand the mining, refining, and pipeline system.

Quite a few billion dollars necessary.

disadvantages of tar sands local pollution
Disadvantages of Tar Sands: Local Pollution

Uses enormous amounts of water, only a small portion is recycled.

Very large scale strip mines.

Local air pollution.

disadvantages of tar sands global warming
Disadvantages of Tar Sands: Global Warming

Use adds more oil burning to rest of planet, with all the problems we talked about earlier:

  • Global warming
  • Air pollution
  • Etc.