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Oil Sands Development
Oil sands also known as tar sands or bituminous sands are a mixture of sand, water and clay saturated with bitumen, which is a dense, and extremely viscous form of petroleum. Bitumen is oil that is heavy to flow and cannot be extracted without being heated with hot water or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons such as light crude oil or natural-gas condensate. The sands are saturated with oil which has preventing them from consolidating into hard sandstone.

Oil sands are found in several locations around the globe including Canada, Venezuela, Russia and the United States but the Athabasca deposit in Alberta is the largest reserve using the most advanced technology. 
Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Of Canada's 173 billion barrels of oil reserves, 170 billion barrels are located in Alberta, and about 168 billion barrels are recoverable from bitumen.Bituminous sands are a major source of unconventional oil, although only Canada has a large-scale commercial oil sands industry.Oil sands production in Canada has increased from 1.98  to 2.2 
million barrels per day from 2013 to 2014 and is expected to keep that trend in the future through technology advancement and significant investment.

Except for a fraction which can be extracted by conventional oil well technology, oil sands are generally produced by mining and using sophisticated in-situ techniques. Those techniques are costly, less profitable especially when oil price is low. They require large amount of water, chemicals and energy making them less environmentally sound; and often leading to strong opposition from nearby communities and concerned citizen. However, in order to comply with environmental regulations, oil sands projects in Canada claim to recycle 80-95% of water used and use saline water where possible. 

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