The Global Energy Prize laureate 2008

Sands of Strength


The Canadian province of Alberta is sometimes called the epicenter of oil sands fever of the 21 century: a vast and wild territory of 140 thousand square kilometers covered with forests keeps colossal petroleum deposits in situ. At the beginning of the millennium, the total oil reserves of Canada were estimated as the third in North America, after the USA and Mexico. However, in January 2003 the estimate increased dramatically: up to 24-32 billion tons of extraction per year, which took Canada to the second position at the global level, after Saudi Arabia. Bituminous sands of Alberta were classified as oil deposits. Today, bituminous sands are considered one of the sources of non-conventional oil. These deposits lay at shallow depths, where oil basically infilters into the surIRINA face soil, converts into bituminous mixes: viscous maltha, thick pitch and quick bituminous sands. While Fort McMurray is the capital of oil sands, the Canadian chemical engineer Clement (Clem) Bowman is called the pioneer of their industrial development.

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