Oil sands Definition: Oil sands are bitumen deposits which naturally occurred from the mixture of thick, heavy oil, water and sand. Since the heavy oil is classified as bitumen, Oil sands are scientifically named as Bituminous sands. Oil sands may also be called Tar sands where Tar refers to the residue produced from organic material distillation such as bitumen. Comments Canada, Kazakhstan and Russia have the largest oil sands deposits in the world, but Canada concentrates 70% of them. Since the oil sands reserves have been integrated in the calculation of the oil reserves, Canada holds now more reserves than Saudi Arabia. In Canada these Oil sand deposits are even concentrated in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan provinces. The World Energy Council (WEC) defines natural bitumen as oil having a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoises under reservoir conditions and an API gravity of less than 10 API. The Oil sands were known for ever but their extraction costs had banned them from large industrial production. Still in the 1990s the large scale production costs were estimated around $80 per barrel. But ten years ago, Canadian companies like Syncrude or Imperial Oil improved recovery performances with the development of the horizontal drilling technologies to reduce these costs in the same time as the oil price was increasing making the production of Oil sands commercially viable. Oil sands are recovered using two methods: - Open-pit-mining if the deposit is on the surface - In-situ or drilling if the deposit is stocked underground as conventional crude. The method is selected in respect with the depth of the reserves. In Canada about 3% of the 140,000 square kilometers of land contain mineable deposit, the other 97% will require the in-situ approach. These 3% of the surface area contains 20% of the total oil sands deposits. That means that 80% of the Canadian Oil sand reserves occupying 97% of the surface are recoverable using in-situ techniques not requiring more ground footprint than light crude oil production anywhere else in the world. Open-pit-mining deposit production will require a classical mining process with heavy shovels, trucks and crushers. While the in-situ oil recovery uses different techniques such as the Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) and more recently the so called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD). In-situ production is based on the injection of steam in the deposit through an horizontal drilling. The steam will cause the oil to melt within the sands and to drain down. The melted oil is then collected by a second horizontal drilling roughly positioned 5 meters below the first one and pumping up the melted oil back to the surface. The advantage of the in-situ process is that it leaves all the sand in the ground. Hot water extraction were tested first in Canada in the 1920s, then the first steam injection were developed in the 1960s. Since then all the companies are working to improve its efficiency and reduce its carbon and water footprint.
oil shale Definition Oil shale refers to solid hydrocarbon (kerogen) rock resulting from a decomposed organic matter still at solid state, in a sedimentary rock unit. The oil shale may also be called black shale. Oil shale and shale oil must not be confused as they do not mean the same thing since shale oil designates tight oil or tight shale oil. Comments Oil shale and shale oil are different as oil shale is a rock as a variety of the shale rocks while shale oil is a light crude trapped in shale, limestone and sandstone formations characterized by very low porosity and permeability. That is the reason why shale oil is better named tight oil or light tight oil (LTO) or tight shale oil. The shale oil is normally found in the sedimentary formations as oil shale but at the state of light crude oil captured between the rock layers. Instead, oil shale is a rock which contains hydrocarbon, oil in this case, and belongs to the large shale rock family. Shale is a sedimentary rock which can be found in all sedimentary basins on earth. As made of thin aggregated mineral particles, shale is classified as a mudstone. Depending on the sedimentary basin where they lie, the shale may have different colors, red, brown, green and black. The black shale contains hydrocarbons, that is why oil shale may also be called black shale. Since this sedimentary rocks were produced by the addition and compression of sediments deposits laying on each other over millions years, the shale got a laminated and fissile structure. The lamination represents the million of thin layers of sediments deposits. Fissile indicates that these laminations are not linked between each other by other mean than the pressure under which they were maintained for million years. Therefore these laminations may be separated easily under any mechanical action or in releasing the natural pressure which maintains them together. This laminated and fissile structure of the shale guided researchers to develop the fracturing process in creating over pressure to separate the shale laminations. Black shale or oil shale may contain up to 30% of solidi hydrocarbons or kerogen. To extract the oil from the pores of the shale the laminations must be separated, for example by fractionation or hydraulic fracturing. Then heating and the introduction of solvents improve the quantity of oil released by the shale and facilitates its collection back to the surface.
Olefin Definition: Olefin is the common name given by the Petrochemical industry to the Alkene chemical products. The Olefins are classified in two families, the: Monoolefins, such as the Ethylene and Propylene Diolefins, such as the Butadiene and the Isoprene Comments: As we can see from the diagram above, the Olefins may be produced through a steam Cracker either from Oil with Naphtha, either from Gas such as Ethane, Propane or Butanes. Regarding the applications, the Olefins are all over our daily life and much more well known under famous registered trade marks such as Tyvek® by DuPont®, Thinsulate® by 3M® and Duraguard® by Kimberly-Clark for wear, clothing, car and furniture, truck liners, indoor/outdoor carpeting, wallpaper/wallcoverings, bedding construction, synthetic rubber and ropes. Olefins are also used in cigarette filters and diapers. Olefins are the cornerstone of the Petrochemical industry and therefore concentrate massive capital expenditures from the Oil & Gas producing countries because they have easy access to the feed stock, and from the consuming countries because they are closed to the market.