Canada´s Oil Sands

analytical Essay
1891 words
1891 words

The statement ‘Canada oil sands are much more of a blessing rather than a curse’ is not true because the disadvantages of oil sands outweigh the advantages. For this reason, this paper aims at indicating points against the statement. To understand the defects of oil sand exploration in Canada, one has to delve into the explanation of what oil sands are as well as how the entire process of mining and refining and thereafter, determine the disadvantages based on socioeconomic factors, environmental factors, as well as the infrastructure and energy required for its production.
Oil sands are unconventional petroleum deposits that consist of loose sand and partially consolidated sand stone that contains natural mixtures of natural clay, sand and water which is saturated with a highly viscous form of petroleum that flows extremely slowly known as bitumen (Yunchez, 2012).
Concisely, to mine the oil sands, all the wetlands have to be drained and the rivers diverted. Then all trees and any form of vegetation and soil are required to be scraped away to expose the oil sands. Then steam shovels into dump trucks that haul the sand to an extraction plant scoop the sand. This sand is then processed at high temperatures using large amounts of water and chemicals, to extract the extremely viscous tar (Smith, 2009). In general, the processes relating to refining, extracting, and processing oil sands have social, economic, and environmental effects that are undesirable as discussed here.
Socio economic Effects
The oil sands in Canada have been proven to have adverse economic effects to the people of Canada and Alberta. It is the most unsympathetic economic activity killing birds, insects, and other creatures. This is because mining, r...

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...oreign Relations, Center for Geo-economics Studies.
Phillips, M. (2013). Why Canada's Oil Sands Look Like a Shaky Investment. Retrieved on December, 23, 2013 from
Siegel, P. (2012). Tar Sands Oil: Pros and Cons. Retrieved on December, 24, 2013 from
Smith, C. (2009). How things work: Canada's oil sands. United Nations University, Vol.1, No. 110. Retrieved on December, 24, 2013 from Timilsina,G, (2005). Economic Impacts of Albertas Oil Sands, Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Yunchez. (2012). Advantages and Disadvantages of Oil Sands. Retrieved on December, 24, 2013 from

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that canada's oil sands are a blessing rather than curse because the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. the paper aims at indicating points against the statement.
  • Explains that oil sands are unconventional petroleum deposits consisting of loose and partially consolidated mudstone that contains natural mixtures of natural clay and water which is saturated with a highly viscous form of petroleum known as bitumen.
  • Explains that refining, extracting and processing oil sands has undesirable social, economic, and environmental effects.
  • Explains that oil sands in canada have been proven to have adverse economic effects to the people of canada and alberta.
  • Explains that the oil sands in canada could adversely affect the growth of not only canada but u.s.a as well.
  • Explains that pipelines and massive processes of refining oil sands in canada pose a great threat to air, water, and land as well as human health.
  • Analyzes how phillips (2013) determined that oil sand extraction around alberta is unlikely to remain viable economically over the next decade. the viscosity of the crude oil inhibits its flow, making it two to three times more expensive than pipelines.
  • Explains that to mine the oil sands, all wetlands must be drained and the rivers diverted. this takes up a lot of investment and affects the water supply to the people living in alberta.
  • Explains that only 20% of the sand is shallow enough to be scooped up using the steam shovels, but it requires steam heated up to 538•c to reduce the viscosity of bitumen.
  • Analyzes how environmental degradationsmith's explanation of how the oil is extracted affects the environment and wildlife tourism in canada.
  • Explains that the oil sands exploration in alberta has provided employment and resulted in the growth of the economy.
  • Explains that the production of crude from oil sands results in 200% and 400% green house gas emissions per barrel in comparison to the normal conventional method.
  • Explains that the amount of water used in alberta is very large, resulting in a reduction in water levels and pollution. the canadian government has provided legislation to govern the amounts of waters used and to minimize the emission.
  • Explains that the energy and infrastructure required for the effective, efficient and safe production of oil sand is massive and requires heavy use and dependence on technology.
  • States that the canadian government has invested heavily in a carbon capture and storage (ccs) system, which is still unproven so far.
  • Opines that economic profitability should not overlook the fundamental human rights of the people and the importance of environmental preservation.
  • Evaluates the pros and cons of oil sands in canada. it has its economic advantages but its downside seems to outweigh its pros.
  • Recommends that the canadian government establish stricter laws that will result in the elimination or total minimization of emissions and the producers come up with more efficient and effective ways of production that don't lead to environmental degradation.
  • Explains that oil sands boom is a two-edged sword in canada's alberta province.
  • Cites job, m., and levant, e. (2011). ethical oil: the case for canada's oil sands.
  • Explains phillips, m., and siegel, p. (2012). tar sands oil: pros and cons.
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