Advancement in refining technologies enabling the crude oil refiners to process and refine the heaviest and dirtiest of crude has boosted the drilling activities pertaining to heavy oil and oil sands. Oil sands are the sandstones saturated with viscous petroleum (bitumen). In addition to the petroleum sandstones are also enriched with a mixture of sand, water and clay. Rapid industrialization driving the demand for fossil fuels especially in the developing nations such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and others is the major factor augmenting the drilling activities pertaining to the oil sands. Bituminous sands or the oil sands are the unconventional sources of fossil fuel with majority of production coming out of Canada and Venezuela.
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Oil sands production is limited with only Canada, Venezuela, and Democratic republic of Congo producing in significant levels. North America is the leading oil sand extraction market. The Alberta oil sands in Canada are one of the largest oil sands reservoirs in the world. Currently, a large percentage of oil production is contributed by the oil sands of Alberta. Venezuela’s heavy oil deposits are mainly concentrated in the Orinoco Belt of the country. The political turmoil in the country has negatively affected its heavy oil production and Venezuela is now facing an intense competition from Canada for the export of heavy oil to the U.S. Democratic Republic of Congo is produces only a small amount of heavy oil. The heavy oil production in the country was commenced by the Italian oil and gas company ENI in 2008.
Increasing energy demands arising as a result of rapid industrialization in emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa are the major drivers for the oil sands market. Moreover, the advancement in the refining technology enabling the refiners to process the heaviest of crude oil has also augmented the drilling activities pertaining to the extraction of oil sands. Rigorous efforts by the U.S. government to reduce country’s energy imports (oil…