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 still hard as a hockey puck ...

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What are Oil Sands

Recovering the Oil

Oil sands are recovered using two main methods: open-pit mining and in situ drilling. The method depends on how deep the reserves
are deposited ...

Learn more about Mining and In Situ Drilling Techniques

Recovering the Oil

Quick Facts

  • Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world.
  • 97% of Canada’s oil reserves are in the oil sands. ...

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Cenovus Air


Canada's oil sands have drawn interest for more than 200 years. Historical documents date back as far as 1715, when James Knight, Factor of Fort York, wrote in his journal ...

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Oil is an important part of daily life in Canada, providing energy for transportation, residential and industrial uses.

Learn more about crude oil products


Raise Your Hand

We need your support

Now is a critical time for Canada’s oil and natural gas industry. We are fortunate to have energy resources the world needs, but we have a challenge in getting it there. By working together, we know we can find a way to get our oil and natural gas to new markets by rail, pipe or marine – safely and responsibly.  We will never stop working to protect our environment, our people and our communities; that is energy developed the Canadian way.

Oil sands or tar sands?

Tar sands
was coined in the early years of the industry and was used to describe the oil sands deposits found in northern Alberta. It is also a term associated with distilled or man-made products such as road-paving mixtures.

Oil sands is now more commonly used, and is a more accurate term, since bitumen, a heavy petroleum product, is mixed with the sand, and oil is what is derived from the bitumen.

Canada's Oil Sands: Come See for Yourself