WorldWideScience

Sample records for alberta oil sands

  1. Asian interests in Alberta oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Du Plessis, D.; Laureshen, C.

    2004-01-01

    The growing Asian interest in Alberta's oil sands and import opportunities was discussed along with the feasibility of marketing bitumen to Asia. Asia is an obvious new market for Canadian heavy oil and bitumen due to an increasing demand for petroleum products in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. This paper examined the following three criteria that will determine the success of any initiative to move Canadian crude oil to Asian-Pacific markets: (1) a sustainable supply from Alberta; a pipeline to transport the crude to a deepwater port on the west coast; and, a guaranteed market at the other end. The basis for Asian interest in Alberta's oil sands is the sustainable secure supply of oil for growing Asian markets; heavy dependence on supplies from the Middle East; the desire to diversify supply sources; and, opportunities to invest in oil sands developments. Examples of Asian (Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China) missions to Alberta were presented along with the challenges of getting products to market with reference to Enbridge's new market access plan, Terasen's staged capacity expansion for heavy crudes and refined products, and sea transport from Prince Rupert. The paper also included graphs depicting world GDP; incremental increase in world primary energy demand by fuel for 2000 to 2020; world oil demand by region; oil demand by region in Asia; oil demand and supply in northeast Asia (Japan, China, Korea) and dependence level on Middle Eastern oil; oil demand and supply in China; China's petroleum production and consumption; refined products market forecast for 2000 to 2020; 2002 crude oil imports to Asia; 2004 refining capacity; product quality comparisons; cost competitive study; and energy policy objectives for China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. 19 figs

  2. New production techniques for alberta oil sands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carrigy, M A

    1986-12-19

    Low world oil prices represent a serious threat to expanded commercial development of the Canadian oil sands in the near term, as they do to all of the higher cost alternatives to crude oil such as oil shales and coal liquefaction. Nonetheless, research and field testing of new technology for production of oil from oil sands are being pursued by industry and government in Alberta. New production technology is being developed in Canada to produce synthetic oil from the vast resources of bitumen trapped in the oil sands and bituminous carbonates of northern Alberta. This technology includes improved methods of mining, extraction, and upgrading of bitumen from near-surface deposits as well as new drilling and production techniques for thermal production of bitumen from the more deeply buried reservoirs. Of particular interest are the cluster drilling methods designed to reduce surface disturbance and the techniques for horizontal drilling of wells from underground tunnels to increase the contact of injection fluids with the reservoir.

  3. Economic impacts of Alberta's oil sands, volume 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Timilsina, G.R.; LeBlanc, N.; Walden, T.

    2005-01-01

    In 2004, the international media recognized Alberta's oil sands as part of the global oil reserves, thereby establishing Canada as second to Saudi Arabia as potential oil producing nations. The economic impacts of Alberta's oil sands industry on economies were assessed at regional, provincial and international levels for the 2000 to 2020 period. A customized input-output model was used to assess economic impacts, which were measured in terms of changes in gross domestic product; employment and labour income; and, government revenues. Cumulative impacts on employment by sector and by jurisdiction were also presented. An investment of $100 billion is expected through 2020, resulting in production of crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil outputs valued at about $531 billion. The impact of the oil sands industry on local employment was also evaluated. It was shown that activities in the oil sands industry will lead to significant economic impact in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and the rest of Canada. Alberta's local economy would be the main beneficiary of oil sands activities with nearly 3.6 million person years employment created in Alberta during the 2000 to 2020. Another 3 million person years employment would be created in other Canadian provinces and outside Canada during the same time period. A sensitivity analysis on the responsiveness to oil prices and the removal of various constraints incorporated in the main analysis was also presented. The federal government will be the largest recipient of revenues generated to to oil sands activities. The results of the study were compared with that of the National Task Force on Oil Sands Strategies. This first volume revealed the results of the study while the second volume includes the data and detailed results. 48 refs., 57 tabs., 28 figs

  4. Alberta's oil sands fiscal system : historical context and system performance

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2007-01-01

    This report described the fiscal system applied to Alberta's oil sands. It is the first technical report forming part of a series designed to provide information and to invite comment as part of the Government of Alberta's public review of the fiscal system applied to the province's oil and gas resources. Specifically, this report assessed the robustness of Alberta's oil sands fiscal system and assessed how the regime balanced the risks and rewards to both investors and Albertans across a range of expected and probable economic outcomes. The report provided an explanation of the history and context of Alberta's royalty regime and included a case-by-case approach. It also provided a discussion of the oil sands fiscal system description. Next, it described the methodology employed for the analysis of the oil sands fiscal system. It also provided the assumptions for 5 scenario cases and presented the fiscal map approach for assessing project economics and fiscal system performance. Last, summary observations were presented. It was found that the oil sands fiscal system is very flexible for adverse economic conditions and much less so for highly profitable conditions. tabs., figs

  5. Comparative analysis of fiscal terms for Alberta oil sands and international heavy and conventional oils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Meurs, P.

    2007-01-01

    There are considerable differences between international heavy oil and Alberta oil sands projects, notably the high viscosity of the bitumen in the oil sands reservoirs. The oil sands bitumen do not flow to wells without heating the bitumen, thereby adding to the already high cost of Alberta oil sand operations. This report provided an economic comparison of Alberta oil sands and international heavy oil projects. It also included a brief scoping review to compare with conventional oil regimes. Full exploration costs including the costs of dry holes were allocated to conventional oil operations in order to obtain a proper comparison. This investigation included the costs of dry holes. The report was a follow up to an earlier study released on April 12, 2007 on the preliminary fiscal evaluation of Alberta oil sand terms. The report provided an economic framework and described project selection. It then provided a discussion of production, costs and price data. Four adjusted projects were presented and compared with Alberta. The Venezuelan royalty formula was also discussed. Last, the report provided a detailed fiscal analysis. Comparisons were offered with Cold Lake and Athabasca Mine. A review of some other fiscal systems applicable to conventional oil were also outlined. It was concluded that Alberta oil sands developments are very competitive. It would be possible to modestly increase government revenues, without affecting the international competitive position of Alberta with respect to conventional oil. There is also some possibility to increase the base royalty on the Alberta oil sands without losing competitiveness. tabs., figs

  6. Preliminary fiscal evaluation of Alberta oil sands terms

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Meurs, P.

    2007-01-01

    The cost of oil sands projects varies significantly. While costs have escalated considerably over the past few years, oil prices have gone significantly higher. This report provided an economic evaluation of the current fiscal terms applicable to Alberta oil sands. The analysis was done to evaluate the profitability of oil sand projects to investors under current conditions based on the generic royalty regime based on bitumen values. The objective of the royalty review was to determine whether Albertans received a fair share from their oil and gas resources. It discussed the wide variety of oil sands projects in Alberta using five case studies as examples. Cases involving steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations were assessed for both the Athabasca Mine and Cold Lake. The report provided a discussion of the economic assumptions including economic cases as well as production, costs and price data. It then provided the preliminary results of the economic-fiscal evaluation from the investor perspective including profitability indicators; international comparisons; internal rate of return; and net present value. The government perspective was also discussed with reference to attractiveness indicators; royalties as a percentage of bitumen values; and non-discounted and discounted government take. A royalty and tax feature analysis was also provided. Several issues for possible further review were also presented. tabs

  7. Alberta Oil Sands Equity annual report, 1992-93. Partnership and progress in Alberta's oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-01-01

    Alberta Oil Sands Equity (AOSE) manages the Alberta government's equity investments in oil sands and heavy oil projects. AOSE is a 16.74% participant in the Syncrude Project, a 10% participant in the OSLO (Other Six Leases Operation) Commercial Project and the OSLO New Ventures project, and a 24.17% participant in the Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader. Syncrude produces ca 12% of Canadian crude oil requirements, and AOSE's share yielded $44 million profit for 1992/93, slightly higher than the the $43.3 million the previous year. The OSLO Commercial Project is a proposed commercial oil sands plant with a mine site and extraction plant to be located north of Fort McMurray, and an upgrading facility to be situated north of Edmonton. Work on this project was suspended in early 1992. The OSLO New Ventures project will handle the exploration and development of the remaining five oil sands leases plus the southern portion of Lease 31. As of March 31, 1993, the project owners were considering a commercial demonstration project utilizing dredging and cold-water extraction processes. Two of the owners are unable to provide funding and discussions are under way to resolve the matter and move the program forward. The Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader opened Noveber 20, 1992, and production has reached 41,000 bbl/d, or 89% of design capacity. The upgrader will increase the value of heavy crude oil and thereby increase its demand. 5 figs., 3 tabs

  8. Opportunities for CANDU for the Alberta oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hopwood, J.M.; Bock, D.; Miller, A.; Kuran, S.; Keil, H.; Fiorino, L.; Hau, K.; Zhou, X.; Dunbar, R.B.

    2003-01-01

    The Alberta oil sands bitumen deposits comprise of one of the largest sources hydrocarbon in the world, and have emerged as the fastest growing, soon to be dominant, source of crude oil in Canada. The oil industry has made great strides in improving the effectiveness of gathering this resource. In particular, alternatives to open-pit mining have been developed which enable in-site recovery of underground deposits with a minimum of environmental disruption. The main challenge that remains is the large quantity of energy needed in the process of extracting the oil and upgrading it to commercial levels. For a typical in-situ extraction project, about 18% of the energy content of the oil produced is used up in the extraction process, while a further 5% is used in generating hydrogen to upgrade the bitumen to synthetic crude oil. Looking ahead, even as improvements in energy use efficiency, (and hydrocarbon use efficiency) counterbalance the increases in hydrocarbon demand from economic growth (particularly in the developing world), Canada and Alberta recognize that the oil sands resource will be needed, and both support the development of this resource in an environmentally responsible way. The large energy requirement for the oil sands extraction process represents a challenge with regard to both environmental impact and security of supply. The use of natural gas, the current energy supply, has impacts in terms of air quality (via NOX and other emissions) and also represents a large greenhouse gas emissions component. As the oil sands industry expands, the availability of natural gas also becomes a concern, as does price and price stability. With this background, the opportunity for nuclear reactors to provide an economical, reliable, virtually zero-emission source of energy for the oil sands becomes very important. Over the last few years, developments in oil sands extraction technology, and developments in CANDU technology through the Advanced CANDU Reactor, (ACR

  9. Cleaning oil sands drilling waste in Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mikic, N.; Nilsen, C.; Markabi, M. [Mi SWACO, Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2008-07-01

    The waste generated from steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) wells is brought to the surface and separated by shale shakers. The waste can include drilling fluids and sand contaminated with bitumen. This paper described a new technology developed to treat waste using the addition of hot water and various mixing and separation technologies to reduce the viscosity of the bitumen and separate it from the sand. The bitumen-contaminated drill cuttings were mixed with hot water to form a slurry that was then separated through the G-force created by a hydrocyclone. A secondary separation was then conducted in an elutriation column to remove residual contaminants from the sand. The flow rate of the process was controlled by the fine solids composition of the cuttings, the temperature of the cleaning process, and the performance of the individual components. Laboratory tests conducted to tests the method showed that the sand particles produced using the method were clean enough to be safely disposed in the environment. A pilot study will be conducted to test the sand cleaning technology at a commercial scale. 6 refs., 3 figs.

  10. Alberta Oil Sands Equity annual report, 1991-92. Partnership and progress in Alberta's oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    Alberta Oil Sands Equity (AOSE) manages the Alberta government's equity investments in oil sands and heavy oil projects. AOSE is a 16.74% participant in the Syncrude Project, a 10% participant in the OSLO (Other Six Leases Operation) Commercial Project and the OSLO New Ventures project, and a 24.17% participant in the Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader. Syncrude produces over 11% of Canadian crude oil requirements, and AOSE's share yielded $43.3 million profit for 1991/92, down significantly from the $82.1 million the previous year due to lower oil prices. The OSLO Commercial Project is a proposed commercial oil sands plant with a mine site and extraction plant to be located north of Fort McMurray, and an upgrading facility to be situated north of Edmonton. Work on this project was suspended in early 1992. The OSLO New Ventures project will handle the exploration and development of the remaining five oil sands leases plus the southern portion of Lease 31. As of March 31, 1992, the project owners were considering a commercial demonstration project utilizing dredging and cold-water extraction processes. Two of the owners are unable to provide funding and discussions are under way to resolve the matter and move the program forward. The Lloydminster Bi-Provincial Upgrader was nearly 90% complete in March 1992 and full startup is expected in November 1992; engineering work was completed in March 1991. The upgrader will increase the value of heavy crude oil and thereby increase its demand. 4 figs., 4 tabs

  11. Alberta's economic development of the Athabasca oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinmann, Michael

    This dissertation examines the 61-year evolution of public policies pertaining to development of Alberta's non-conventional source of crude oil. The Athabasca oil sands contain an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels and provide for a safe continental supply. The Provincial Government first sponsored this undertaking in 1943. The period from then to 1971 was one of a transition from a wheat economy to a natural-resource economic base. A stable government emerged and was able to negotiate viable development policies. A second period, 1971 to 1986, was marked by unstable world conditions that afforded the Alberta government the ability to set terms of development with multi-national oil firms. A 50% profit-sharing plan was implemented, and basic 1973 terms lasted until 1996. However, 1986 was a critical year because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced prices, causing the Alberta economy to lapse into recession. During a third period, 1986 to 1996, the Alberta Government was unable to adapt quickly to world conditions. A new leadership structure in 1996 made major changes to create ongoing fiscal and development policies. That history provides answers to two primary research questions: How do public policies affect the behaviors of the modern corporation and visa versa? What are the implications for development theory? Two sources of information were used for this study. First, it was possible to review the Premier's files located in the Provincial Archives. Materials from various government libraries were also examined. Some 7,000 documents were used to show the evolution of government policymaking. Second, interviews with leaders of oil companies and federal research facilities were important. Findings support the thesis that, to facilitate oil sands development, government and the private sector have closely collaborated. In particular, revenue policies have allowed for effective R&D organization. Relying on intensive technological

  12. Managing uncertainty : an examination of adaptive management and progressive reclamation in Alberta's mineable oil sands

    OpenAIRE

    Gouin, Clayton David

    2017-01-01

    Alberta’s oil sands are large, naturally occurring deposits of bitumen, a non- renewable, mineral resource. One problem Alberta faces is the scale of ecological disturbance from oil sands mining. Alberta’s current reclamation law for oil sands requires land to be reclaimed to a state of equivalent land capability and reclamation responsibilities are placed on oil companies. Reclamation publications from oil sands mine sites are currently limited. Additionally, less research on stakeholders’ r...

  13. Threshold Considerations and Wetland Reclamation in Alberta's Mineable Oil Sands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lee Foote

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Oil sand extraction in Alberta, Canada is a multibillion dollar industry operating over 143 km² of open pit mining and 4600 km² of other bitumen strata in northern boreal forests. Oil production contributes to Canada-wide GDP, creates socio-cultural problems, provides energy exports and employment, and carries environmental risks regarding long-term reclamation uncertainties. Of particular concern are the implications for wetlands and water supply management. Mining of oil sands is very attractive because proven reserves of known quality occur in an accessible, politically stable environment with existing infrastructure and an estimated 5.5 billion extractable barrels to be mined over the next five decades. Extraction occurs under a set of limiting factors or thresholds including: limited social tolerance at local to international levels for externalities of oil sand production; water demands > availability; limited natural gas supplies for oil processing leading to proposals for hydroelectric dams and nuclear reactors to be constructed; difficulties in reclaiming sufficient habitat area to replace those lost. Replacement of the 85 km² of peat-forming wetlands forecast to be destroyed appears unlikely. Over 840 billion liters of toxic fluid byproducts are currently held in 170 km² of open reservoirs without any known process to purify this water in meaningful time frames even as some of it leaches into adjacent lands and rivers. Costs for wetland reclamation are high with estimates of $4 to $13 billion, or about 6% of the net profits generated from mining those sites. This raises a social equity question of how much reclamation is appropriate. Time frames for economic, political, and ecological actions are not well aligned. Local people on or near mine sites have had to change their area use for decades and have been affected by industrial development. Examining mining effects to estimate thresholds of biophysical realities, time scales

  14. Evaluating the oil sands reclamation process: Assessing policy capacity and stakeholder access for government and non-governmental organizations operating in Alberta's oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patterson, Tyler

    By employing interpretive policy analysis this thesis aims to assess, measure, and explain policy capacity for government and non-government organizations involved in reclaiming Alberta's oil sands. Using this type of analysis to assess policy capacity is a novel approach for understanding reclamation policy; and therefore, this research will provide a unique contribution to the literature surrounding reclamation policy. The oil sands region in northeast Alberta, Canada is an area of interest for a few reasons; primarily because of the vast reserves of bitumen and the environmental cost associated with developing this resource. An increase in global oil demand has established incentive for industry to seek out and develop new reserves. Alberta's oil sands are one of the largest remaining reserves in the world, and there is significant interest in increasing production in this region. Furthermore, tensions in several oil exporting nations in the Middle East remain unresolved, and this has garnered additional support for a supply side solution to North American oil demands. This solution relies upon the development of reserves in both the United States and Canada. These compounding factors have contributed to the increased development in the oil sands of northeastern Alberta. Essentially, a rapid expansion of oil sands operations is ongoing, and is the source of significant disturbance across the region. This disturbance, and the promises of reclamation, is a source of contentious debates amongst stakeholders and continues to be highly visible in the media. If oil sands operations are to retain their social license to operate, it is critical that reclamation efforts be effective. One concern non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed criticizes the current monitoring and enforcement of regulatory programs in the oil sands. Alberta's NGOs have suggested the data made available to them originates from industrial sources, and is generally unchecked by government

  15. Historical trends in greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta oil sands (1970–2010)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Englander, Jacob G; Bharadwaj, Sharad; Brandt, Adam R

    2013-01-01

    There has been increased scrutiny of the Alberta oil sands due to their high carbon intensity (CI) relative to conventional crude oil. Relying entirely on public and peer-reviewed data sources, we examine historical trends in the CI of oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining. Monthly data were collected and interpolated from 1970 to 2010 (inclusive) for each oil sands project. Results show a reduction in oil sands CI over time, with industry-average full-fuel cycle (well-to-wheels, WTW) CI declining from 165 gCO 2 e MJ −1 higher heating value (HHV) of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to 105 (−12, +9) gCO 2 e MJ −1 HHV RFG. 2010 averages by production pathways are 102 gCO 2 e MJ −1 for Mining and 111 gCO 2 e MJ −1 for in situ. The CI of mining-based projects has declined due to upgrader efficiency improvements and a shift away from coke to natural gas as a process fuel. In situ projects have benefitted from substantial reductions in fugitive emissions from bitumen batteries. Both mining and in situ projects have benefitted from improved refining efficiencies. However, despite these improvements, the CI of oil sands production (on a pathway-average basis) ranges from 12 to 24% higher than CI values from conventional oil production. Due to growing output, total emissions from the oil sands continue to increase despite improved efficiency: total upstream emissions were roughly 65 MtCO 2 e in 2010, or 9% of Canada’s emissions. (letter)

  16. On properties of royalty and tax regimes in Alberta's oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Plourde, Andre

    2010-01-01

    Simulation models that include royalty and tax provisions are used to examine the distribution between developers and governments of net returns from the development of Alberta's oil sands deposits. A specific focus is to assess the effects on the level and distribution of net revenues associated with a number of changes in assumed revenue and expenditure conditions. Developers typically bear a greater share of the consequences of variations in capital expenditures than they do of changes in operating expenditures, prices, and exchange rates. A comparison across royalty and tax regimes suggest that there is a positive relationship between the level of net revenues estimated to accrue to either developers or governments and the share of the consequences of changes in conditions borne by that party. Some differences across production technologies are noted. The role of the federal government as a fiscal player in oil sands development has shrunk over time. In contrast, under the current regime, the Government of Alberta captures a higher share of net returns and typically bears a greater proportion of the consequences of changes in conditions than at any time since the introduction of an explicit royalty and tax regime in 1997.

  17. Foliage Chemistry of Pinus baksiana in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bernadette C. Proemse

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Industrial emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR, Alberta, Canada, have caused concerns about the effect of oil sands operations on the surrounding terrestrial environments, including jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb. stands. We collected jack pine needles from 19 sites in the AOSR (13–128 km from main operations for foliar chemical analyses to investigate the environmental impact on jack pine. Pine needles from three age classes, the current annual growth (CAG, 2011, one year and two year old pine needles, were collected. Samples were analyzed for total carbon (TC, nitrogen (TN, and sulfur (TS, inorganic S (SO4-S, base cations (Ca, Mg, Na, and other elements (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, P, Zn; CAG needles were also analyzed for their nitrogen and carbon isotopic compositions. Only TN, TS, Ca, B, Zn, and Fe contents showed weak but significant increases with proximity to the major oil sands operations. C and N isotopic compositions showed no trend with distance or TC and TN contents. Total S contents in CAG of pine foliage increased significantly with proximity to the main industrial operation while foliar inorganic S to organic S ratios (SO4-S/Sorg ranged consistently between 0.13 and 0.32, indicating low to moderately high S loading. Hence, this study suggests some evidence of uptake of S emissions in close proximity to anthropogenic sources, although the reported values have not reached a level of environmental concern.

  18. Cultural keystone species in oil sands reclamation, Fort McKay, Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Garibaldi, A.; Straker, J. [Stantec Consulting Ltd., Surrey, BC (Canada)

    2009-12-15

    This presentation discussed a reclamation project conducted in Fort McKay, Alberta that was designed to address some of the social and cultural concerns related to oil sands mining in the region. Conventional reclamation practices in the region have demonstrated a lack of communication and participation from surrounding communities. The project was designed to address future land use plans and to include cultural values in the reclamation process. An integrative approach was used to address community landscapes issues and to explore methods of reclaiming the social and ecological components impacted by oil sands development. Traditional environmental knowledge was also incorporated into the program's design. Cultural keystone species (CKS) were used to provide a culturally relevant compass to guide people engaging in long-term reclamation and land use planning. Cultural keystone species were defined as salient species that significantly shape the cultural identity of a people. Keystone species in the region include the beaver; the moose; the ratroot; and cranberries and blueberries. Challenges to the program included the fact that the scale of oil sands disturbances are so immense that some community recommendations for reclaiming CKS may be impractical. tabs., figs.

  19. Sediment oxygen demand of wetlands in the oil sands region of north-eastern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Slama, C.; Ciborowski, J.J.; Gardner Costa, J.

    2009-01-01

    Reclaimed land in the Alberta oil sands mining area contains both reference and oil sands process-affected wetlands constructed using varying sediment compositions. The sediments derived from oil sands process materials (OSPM) may alter the biochemical reactions that take place and affect the sediment oxygen demand (SOD), which is a key factor that contributes to oxygen depletion. This presentation reported on a study in which SOD was measured in a suite of constructed wetlands of different ages, with or without OSPM and topsoil. The purpose of the study was to clarify the role of SOD in wetland function and in the reclamation process. Dissolved oxygen loggers were inserted into dome-shaped chambers on the sediment to measure changes in oxygen demand. Complementary measurements of respiration (CO 2 elution) were used to quantify the biological sediment oxygen demand (BSOD) component of SOD. The chemical sediment oxygen demand (CSOD) was then determined by subtraction from SOD. Wetlands reclaimed using OSPM are expected to have a lower BSOD to CSOD ratio than reference wetlands. Residual ammonia in OSPM sediments may react with sulphate and bind phosphorus. This reduces phosphorus bioavailability and may impede submergent macrophyte growth. As such, wetlands affected by CSOD will have fewer submerged macrophytes than BSOD dominant wetlands.

  20. Airborne Lidar Measurements of Pollution above the Oil Sands Region in Northern Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aggarwal Monika

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Lidar measurements of ozone and aerosol were conducted from a Twin Otter aircraft above the oil sands region of northern Alberta. For the majority of the flights, significant amounts of aerosol were observed within the boundary layer, up to an altitude of 2.0 km above sea level (ASL, while the ozone concentration remained at background levels (30-45 ppb downwind of the industry. On August 24th the lidar measured a separated layer of aerosol above the boundary layer, at a height of 2.0 km ASL, in which the ozone mixing ratio increased to 70 ppb. Backward trajectory calculations revealed that the air containing this separated aerosol layer had passed over an area of forest fires. Directly below the layer of forest fire smoke, pollution from the oil sands industry was observed. Measurements of the backscatter linear depolarization ratio were obtained with a ground based lidar operated by Environment Canada within the oil sands region. The depolarization measurements aided in discriminating between the separate sources of pollution from industry and forest fires. The depolarization ratio was 5-6% in forest fire smoke and 7-10% in the industrial pollution.

  1. Outcrop - core correlation and seismic modeling of the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit, Fort McMurray area, northeast Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hein, F.J. [Alberta Geological Survey, Calgary, AB (Canada); Langenberg, C.W.; Cotterill, D.C.; Berhane, H. [Alberta Geological Survey, Edmonton, AB (Canada); Lawton, D.; Cunningham, J. [Calgary Univ., AB (Canada)

    1999-11-01

    A joint study between the Alberta Geological Survey and the University of Calgary was conducted which involved a detailed facies analysis of cores and outcrops from the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit in Alberta`s Steepbank area. A unified facies classification for the deposit was developed. Larger scale facies associations were also determined, as well as proxy sonic logs for outcrops used in seismic modeling. The cores which were displayed exhibited detailed sedimentological and stratigraphic analysis of 10 outcrops in the area. 7 refs.

  2. Spatial and temporal distribution of ambient nitric acid and ammonia in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    A. Bytnerowicz; W. Fraczek; S. Schilling; D. Alexander

    2010-01-01

    Monthly average ambient concentrations of gaseous nitric acid (HNO3) and ammonia (NH3) were monitored at the Athabasca Oils Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, between May 2005 and September 2008. Generally, concentrations of both pollutants were elevated and highly variable in space and time. The highest atmospheric...

  3. Sediment oxygen demand of wetlands in the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Slama, C.; Gardner Costa, J.; Ciborowski, J. [Windsor Univ., ON (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Sediment oxygen demand (SOD) can significantly influence the dissolved oxygen concentrations in shallow water bodies. This study discussed the types of sediments used to reclaim wetlands and their influence on SOD, successional processes, and ecosystem trajectories. The study hypothesized that oil sands process material (OSPM) affected wetlands would support cyanobacterial biofilms as opposed to submergent macrophytes as a result of insufficient phosphorus levels. SOD was assessed by monitoring dissolved oxygen concentrations within domes placed on the sediment surface for a 3-hour period. Gas flux and composition analyses were used to quantify the biological SOD components. Chemical SOD components were then determined by subtraction. Concentrations of phosphorus bioavailable to the macrophytes were estimated using plant root simulator probes. The study showed that OSPM wetlands exhibited higher chemical SOD and SOD than reference wetlands, and supported benthic biofilms as opposed to the submergent macrophyte communities typically found in northeastern Alberta wetlands.

  4. Sediment oxygen demand of wetlands in the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Slama, C.; Gardner Costa, J.; Ciborowski, J.

    2010-01-01

    Sediment oxygen demand (SOD) can significantly influence the dissolved oxygen concentrations in shallow water bodies. This study discussed the types of sediments used to reclaim wetlands and their influence on SOD, successional processes, and ecosystem trajectories. The study hypothesized that oil sands process material (OSPM) affected wetlands would support cyanobacterial biofilms as opposed to submergent macrophytes as a result of insufficient phosphorus levels. SOD was assessed by monitoring dissolved oxygen concentrations within domes placed on the sediment surface for a 3-hour period. Gas flux and composition analyses were used to quantify the biological SOD components. Chemical SOD components were then determined by subtraction. Concentrations of phosphorus bioavailable to the macrophytes were estimated using plant root simulator probes. The study showed that OSPM wetlands exhibited higher chemical SOD and SOD than reference wetlands, and supported benthic biofilms as opposed to the submergent macrophyte communities typically found in northeastern Alberta wetlands.

  5. Managing regional cumulative effects of oil sands development in Alberta, Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Spaling, H.; Zwier, J.

    2000-01-01

    This paper demonstrates an approach to regional cumulative effects management using the case of oil sands development in Alberta, Canada. The 17 existing, approved, or planned projects, all concentrated in a relatively small region, pose significant challenges for conducting and reviewing cumulative effects assessment (CEA) on a project-by-project basis. In response, stakeholders have initiated a regional cumulative effects management system that is among the first such initiatives anywhere. Advantages of this system include (1) more efficient gathering and sharing of information, including a common regional database, (2) setting acceptable regional environmental thresholds for all projects, (3) collaborative assessment of similar cumulative effects from related projects, (4) co-ordinated regulatory review and approval process for overlapping CEAs, and (5) institutional empowerment from a Regional Sustainable Development Strategy administered by a public authority. This case provides a model for integrating project-based CEA with regional management of cumulative effects. (author)

  6. Water management challenges and perspective for surface oil sands operations in North Eastern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    MacKinnon, M.

    2009-01-01

    Oil sands waters has many sources, such as raw water inputs (import water and hydrologic waters); oil sands ore water such as formation water; and oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) such as produced water and released water from tailings. This presentation demonstrated the importance of water to oil sands operations and indicated how oil sands processing affects water quality. Water imports to meet oil sands needs is a topic of particular interest. Other topics that were presented included water properties changing during oil sands operations; tailings management and the effects on water quality; oil sands tailings and water management and the impact on water quality of the region; how oil sands processing affected water quality; and current tailings approach and proposed new tailings methods and the effects on water composition. Post extraction changes in OSPW and the potential impacts of engineered tailings were also discussed. It was concluded that water treatment options must meet water management objectives. figs.

  7. Measurements of oxygenated volatile organic compounds in the oil sands region of Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moussa, S. G.; Leithead, A.; Li, S. M.; Gordon, M.; Hayden, K. L.; Wang, D. K.; Staebler, R. M.; Liu, P.; O'Brien, J.; Mittermeier, R.; Liggio, J.

    2014-12-01

    Oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) are ubiquitous in the atmosphere, and represent an important fraction of volatile organic compounds. Additionally some OVOC species may pose health risks. OVOCs can affect the oxidative and radiative budget of the atmosphere since they are precursors to ground level ozone, hydroxyl radicals and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). OVOCs such as methanol, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, crotonaldehyde, methylvinylketone (MVK), methylethylketone (MEK) and acrolein can be emitted from anthropogenic and biogenic sources. Additionally, they are the secondary products of the photo-oxidation of hydrocarbons (biogenic and anthropogenic). Understanding the magnitude of these sources is a prerequisite for accurate representations of radical cycling, ozone production and SOA formation in air quality models. The sources of OVOCs in the Alberta Oil Sands (OS) region have not previously been well characterized. In the summer of 2013, airborne measurements of various OVOCs were made in the Athabasca oil sands region between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) was used to measure methanol, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, crotonaldehyde, MVK, MEK, acrolein as well as other hydrocarbons. Emission ratios (ER) for several OVOCs (relative to carbon monoxide; CO) were used to estimate direct anthropogenic emissions from OS industrial sources, while the calculated OH radical exposures were used to estimate the production and removal of secondary anthropogenic OVOCs. The results indicate that OVOCs such as acetaldehyde, crotonaldehyde and MVK have both primary and secondary anthropogenic and biogenic sources. However, species such as methanol and acrolein are from biogenic and anthropogenic sources, respectively. The results of this work will help to characterize sources of OVOCs and the factors influencing their atmospheric fate in the Oil Sands region.

  8. Differences between measured and reported volatile organic compound emissions from oil sands facilities in Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Shao-Meng; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G; Liggio, John; Moran, Michael D; Wang, Daniel; Hayden, Katherine; Darlington, Andrea; Gordon, Mark; Staebler, Ralf; Makar, Paul A; Stroud, Craig A; McLaren, Robert; Liu, Peter S K; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L; Zhang, Junhua; Marson, George; Cober, Stewart G; Wolde, Mengistu; Wentzell, Jeremy J B

    2017-05-09

    Large-scale oil production from oil sands deposits in Alberta, Canada has raised concerns about environmental impacts, such as the magnitude of air pollution emissions. This paper reports compound emission rates ( E ) for 69-89 nonbiogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for each of four surface mining facilities, determined with a top-down approach using aircraft measurements in the summer of 2013. The aggregate emission rate ( aE ) of the nonbiogenic VOCs ranged from 50 ± 14 to 70 ± 22 t/d depending on the facility. In comparison, equivalent VOC emission rates reported to the Canadian National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) using accepted estimation methods were lower than the aE values by factors of 2.0 ± 0.6, 3.1 ± 1.1, 4.5 ± 1.5, and 4.1 ± 1.6 for the four facilities, indicating underestimation in the reported VOC emissions. For 11 of the combined 93 VOC species reported by all four facilities, the reported emission rate and E were similar; but for the other 82 species, the reported emission rate was lower than E The median ratio of E to that reported for all species by a facility ranged from 4.5 to 375 depending on the facility. Moreover, between 9 and 53 VOCs, for which there are existing reporting requirements to the NPRI, were not included in the facility emission reports. The comparisons between the emission reports and measurement-based emission rates indicate that improvements to VOC emission estimation methods would enhance the accuracy and completeness of emission estimates and their applicability to environmental impact assessments of oil sands developments.

  9. Cultural keystone species in oil sands mine reclamation, Fort McKay, Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Garibaldi, A.; Straker, J. [Stantec Ltd., Sidney, BC (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    Cultural keystone species (CKS) shape the cultural identify of people through the roles they have in diet, material and spiritual practices. The use of the CKS concept is regarded as a method of addressing linked social and ecological issues. This paper presented the results of using the CKS model in the indigenous community of Fort McKay, Alberta to address, social, ecological and spiritual values in regional mine-land reclamation. Fort McKay is at the epicenter of the existing mine developments. Its residents regard human and environmental health to be be linked and therefore experience the effects of development and subsequent reclamation on both cultural and ecological levels. The community is actively engaged in working with the local mining companies on issues of mine reclamation design. In order to hold meaning to the local people, oil sand operators used the CKS concept in their reclamation efforts to take into account ecological functionality and also address the linked social factors. Five CKS were identified through a literature review and extensive community interviews. The list includes moose, cranberry, blueberry, ratroot and beaver. These 5 CKS were used to focus discussions and make recommendations for relevant land reclamation within Fort McKay traditional territory. The project has influenced the way both the community and oil sands operators engage with reclamation. Lessons learned from this process will help direct reclamation activities on other portions of traditional territory, while offering guidance to other regional developers for addressing cultural values in reclamation on their leases. 15 refs., 1 fig.

  10. The stable isotopes of site wide waters at an oil sands mine in northern Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baer, Thomas; Barbour, S. Lee; Gibson, John J.

    2016-10-01

    Oil sands mines have large disturbance footprints and contain a range of new landforms constructed from mine waste such as shale overburden and the byproducts of bitumen extraction such as sand and fluid fine tailings. Each of these landforms are a potential source of water and chemical release to adjacent surface and groundwater, and consequently, the development of methods to track water migration through these landforms is of importance. The stable isotopes of water (i.e. 2H and 18O) have been widely used in hydrology and hydrogeology to characterize surface water/groundwater interactions but have not been extensively applied in mining applications, or specifically to oil sands mining in northern Alberta. A prerequisite for applying these techniques is the establishment of a Local Meteoric Water Line (LMWL) to characterize precipitation at the mine sites as well as the development of a 'catalogue' of the stable water isotope signatures of various mine site waters. This study was undertaken at the Mildred Lake Mine Site, owned and operated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. The LMWL developed from 2 years (2009/2012) of sample collection is shown to be consistent with other LMWLs in western Canada. The results of the study highlight the unique stable water isotope signatures associated with hydraulically placed tailings (sand or fluid fine tailings) and overburden shale dumps relative to natural surface water and groundwater. The signature associated with the snow melt water on reclaimed landscapes was found to be similar to ground water recharge in the region. The isotopic composition of the shale overburden deposits are also distinct and consistent with observations made by other researchers in western Canada on undisturbed shales. The process water associated with the fine and coarse tailings streams has highly enriched 2H and 18O signatures. These signatures are developed through the non-equilibrium fractionation of imported fresh river water during evaporation from

  11. Estimating the sensitivity of forest soils to acid deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julian AHERNE

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available The Athabasca Oil Sands Region of northern Alberta is home to the largest source of S emissions in Canada, and some of the surrounding upland forests are located on acid-sensitive soils. The relative sensitivity of these ecosystems to acidic deposition is largely dependent upon the mineral weathering rate. Weathering rates were evaluated across a range of soils (n = 43 typical of the region using a soil texture approximation (STA and the PROFILE model. The STA was recalibrated for use in the region, and the weathering rates calculated with this method were used to calculate steady-state critical loads of acidity at 333 sites using the Simple Mass Balance (SMB Model and a critical chemical criterion for molar base cation (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+ to aluminium ratio of 10. Soils are dominated by quartz, with small quantities of slowly weatherable minerals, and consequently weathering rates are among the lowest in Canada (median = 11.5 meq m–2 y–1, resulting in very low critical loads. Atmospheric acid (S and N deposition varies considerably across the region, but in general is much lower than impacted areas of central Canada. Under conditions of complete N retention, 34% of the sites receive acid deposition in excess of their critical load; if all N deposition is leached, 62% of the sites are currently exceeded. Acid-sensitive soils in the region are at risk of acidifying due to pressures from industrialization associated with extraction of fossil fuels.

  12. A bioassessment of lakes in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, using benthic macroinvertebrates

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Keith M. SOMERS

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Emissions of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants have increased in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR in Alberta, Canada. Atmospheric pollutants impact aquatic communities through a number of processes, but due to a lack of regional monitoring programs potential biological impacts have not been assessed. In this study, a bioassessment was conducted using approaches borrowed from a variety of protocols to establish a baseline dataset, determine appropriate methodologies, and to assess the current impact of emissions on benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI communities in the AOSR. As a result, 32 lakes, including 5 test lakes located in a modelled high deposition region, were sampled for water chemistry and BMI. The Reference Condition Approach (RCA was used because a baseline dataset does not exist and data were evaluated using three separate statistical techniques. All of the statistical methods used: One Sample T-Tests, Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA and Test Site Analysis (TSA, showed that BMI assemblages in test lakes differed from BMI assemblages in reference lakes. Traditional statistics classified all 5 test lakes as "significantly impaired" whereas TSA identified 3 of the 5 test lakes as only potentially impaired and 2 lakes were in "reference condition". The variability in lake attributes present challenges in interpreting BMI data and establishing an accurate biomonitoring program in the AOSR which need to be addressed in future assessment studies.

  13. Midges (Diptera:Chironomidae) as indicators of wetland viability in the Alberta Oil Sands region

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ciborowski, J. J. H.; Whelly, M. P.; Leonhardt, C.; Laing, D. [Windsor Univ., Dept. of Biological Sciences, ON (Canada)

    1999-07-01

    Thirty-three wetlands northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, ten of which are receiving oil sands mine process-affected water (OSPW), have been examined to assess their biological integrity. Physico-chemical and environmental attributes were measured, sediment, zoobenthic, plankton and chlorophyll samples were analyzed. Results of principal component analysis indicated that the wetlands could be categorized into three classes on the basis of three independent combinations of environmental features, namely pH/size/dissolved oxygen; conductivity; and sediment composition. Cluster analysis identified four groups of wetlands. High conductivity wetlands were found to support greater density but reduced richness of benthic population, irrespective of the presence of OSPW. To evaluate OSPW wetland ability to support and maintain benthic populations chironomid larval morphology, density, adult emergence, flight activity, egg-laying behaviour and the ability of eggs to hatch in OSPW were monitored. Results indicated no inhibition of adult chironomid flight activity, egg-laying or hatching by OSPW, although there was some evidence of OSPW reducing chironomid density, diversity and secondary production.

  14. Petrochemicals from oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Du Plessis, M.P.; McCann, T.J.

    2003-01-01

    The petrochemical industry in Alberta developed rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s. However, projected diminishing gas production from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin has raised concerns about the future growth of the industry in Alberta. A joint industry/government study has been conducted to evaluate new feedstocks from Alberta's vast oil sands resources to supplement natural gas liquids. Having both gas and oil sands feedstock options should increase the long-term competitiveness of Alberta's petrochemical industry.This paper presents a framework for evaluating and optimizing schemes for helping Alberta develop synergies for its oil sands and petrochemical industries through cost effective integration of oil sands, upgrading, refining and petrochemical development from 2005 to 2020. The paper places emphasis on specific locations and market conditions. It demonstrates that phased integration of oil sands and petrochemical developments is technically and economically feasible to co-produce high grade fuels and petrochemicals, assuming a new pipeline is built between Edmonton and Vancouver. Alberta has the potential to become a world-scale energy and petrochemical cluster. Alberta's oil sands facilities are potentially capable of supporting new world-scale plants producing ethylene, propylene, benzene, para-xylene, and other high-value-added derivatives. The products can be produced by integrating existing and new oil sands upgrading plants, refineries and petrochemical plants within the next 5 to 10 years. 3 refs., 2 tabs., 7 figs

  15. Small mammals as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants and health effects in northeastern Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; Smits, Judit E G

    2016-02-01

    The extraction of bitumen in areas of northeastern Alberta (Canada) has been associated with the release of complex mixtures of metals, metalloids, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) to the environment. To mitigate effects on ecosystems, Canadian legislation mandates that disturbed areas be reclaimed to an ecologically sustainable state after active operations. However, as part of reclamation activities, exposure to, and effects on wildlife living in these areas is not generally assessed. To support successful reclamation, the development of efficient methods to assess exposure and health effects in potentially exposed wildlife is required. In the present study, we investigated the usefulness of two native mammalian species (deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus, and meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus) as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants by examining biomarkers of exposure and indicators of biological costs. Tissue residues of 31 metals and metalloids in kidneys and muscle, activity of the hepatic detoxification enzyme EROD (as a biomarker of exposure to organic contaminants), body condition, and the relative mass of liver, kidney, spleen, and testes were compared in animals from one reclaimed area and a reference site. Deer mice from the reclaimed site had higher renal levels of Co, Se and Tl compared to animals from the reference site, which was associated with reduced body condition. Lower testis mass was another feature that distinguished mice from the reclaimed site in comparison to those from the reference site. One mouse and one vole from the reclaimed site also showed increased hepatic EROD activity. In marked contrast, no changes were evident for these variables in meadow voles. Our results show that deer mouse is a sensitive sentinel species and that the biomarkers and indicators used here are efficient means to detect local contamination and associated biological effects in native mammals inhabiting reclaimed areas on active oil sands mine

  16. Long-term reliability of the Athabasca River (Alberta, Canada) as the water source for oil sands mining

    Science.gov (United States)

    St-Jacques, J. M.; Sauchyn, D.; Luckman, B. H.

    2015-12-01

    Exploitation of the Alberta oil sands, the world's third largest crude oil reserve, requires fresh water from the Athabasca River, an allocation of 4.4% of the mean annual flow. This allocation takes into account seasonal fluctuations but not long-term climatic variability and change. This paper examines the decadal-scale variability in river discharge in the Athabasca River Basin (ARB) with 1) a generalized-least-squares (GLS) regression analysis of the trend and variability in gauged flow, and 2) a 900-year tree-ring reconstruction of the water-year flow of the Athabasca River at Athabasca, Alberta. The GLS analysis removes confounding transient trends related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Pacific North American mode (PNA). It shows long-term declining flows throughout the ARB. The tree-ring record reveals a larger range of flows and severity of hydrologic deficits than those captured by the instrumental records that are the basis for surface water allocation. It includes periods of sustained low flow of multiple decades in duration, suggesting the influence of the PDO and PNA teleconnections. These results together demonstrate that low-frequency variability must be considered in ARB water allocation, which has not been the case. We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record.

  17. A role for nuclear energy in the recovery of oil from the tar sands of Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Puttagunta, V.R.; Sochaski, R.O.; Robertson, R.F.S.

    1976-12-01

    Techniques of oil recovery from the tar sands and the energy requirements of this operation are described. Fossil fuels, and CANDU reactors are examined as competitive sources of energy for the tar sands plants. The CANDU-OCR reactor appears to have the necessary flexibility to fit into many of the possible methods of recovering oil from the tar sands. Cost comparisons of fossil and nuclear sources show that, for the supply of process steam, the nuclear source is competitive under the criteria of debt financing or low discount rates on capital, continued escalation, and long plant capital write-off period. (author)

  18. Characterization of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions at Sites of Oil Sands Extraction and Upgrading in northern Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marrero, J.; Simpson, I. J.; Meinardi, S.; Blake, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    The crude oil reserves in Canada's oil sands are second only to Saudi Arabia, holding roughly 173 billion barrels of oil in the form of bitumen, an unconventional crude oil which does not flow and cannot be pumped without heating or dilution. Oil sands deposits are ultimately used to make the same petroleum products as conventional forms of crude oil, though more processing is required. Hydrocarbons are the basis of oil, coal and natural gas and are an important class of gases emitted into the atmosphere during oil production, particularly because of their effects on air quality and human health. However, they have only recently begun to be independently assessed in the oil sands regions. As part of the 2008 ARCTAS airborne mission, whole air samples were collected in the boundary layer above the surface mining operations of northern Alberta. Gas chromatography analysis revealed enhanced concentrations of 53 VOCs (C2 to C10) over the mining region. When compared to local background levels, the measured concentrations were enhanced up to 1.1-400 times for these compounds. To more fully characterize emissions, ground-based studies were conducted in summer 2010 and winter 2011 in the oil sands mining and upgrading areas. The data from the 200 ground-based samples revealed enhancements in the concentration of 65 VOCs. These compounds were elevated up to 1.1-3000 times above background concentrations and include C2-C8 alkanes, C1-C5 alkyl nitrates, C2-C4 alkenes and potentially toxic aromatic compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylenes.

  19. Creating peatlands in the oil sand region of Alberta : challenges and opportunities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Graf, M.; Rochefort, L. [Laval Univ., Quebec City, PQ (Canada). Dept. of Phytologie, Peatland Ecology Research Group; Price, J. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada). Dept. of Geography

    2010-07-01

    A research project was launched to study the physiological effects that oil sands process affected water have on peatland plants. Modeling indicates that peatlands can be recreated in post-tar sand mined landscapes, although this is untested. Processing oil sands creates large volumes of tailings, a wet material that contains organic compounds and base cations that have a toxic effect on plants in the region. This toxicity is a significant barrier to peatland creation in post-mined landscapes. The research targets mosses, a keystone species in peatlands. The research focused on determining the contaminant thresholds for typical fen species and identifying the most tolerant species. The conclusions will be useful in addressing the future outcomes of oil sand affected landscapes, allowing reclaimed landscape designs to position peatlands in landscapes according to the tolerable level of contamination.

  20. Should Alberta upgrade oil sands bitumen? An integrated life cycle framework to evaluate energy systems investment tradeoffs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Choquette-Levy, Nicolas; MacLean, Heather L.; Bergerson, Joule A.

    2013-01-01

    The inclusion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions costs in energy systems investment decision-making requires the development of a framework that accounts for GHG and economic tradeoffs. This paper develops such a framework by integrating partial cost–benefit analysis with life cycle assessment to explore the question of whether bitumen should be upgraded in the Canadian province of Alberta to produce synthetic crude oil (SCO), or blended with light hydrocarbons to produce lower-quality diluted bitumen (dilbit). The net present value (NPV) of these options is calculated from the stakeholder perspectives of the oil sands industry, the Alberta public, and a climate-concerned Alberta resident. This calculation includes monetized GHG emissions costs stemming from a hypothetical economy-wide GHG price, and a sensitivity analysis explores the effects of variations in technical and economic conditions on stakeholders’ preferences. We find that under most plausible sets of conditions, industry would prefer the dilution option, while the climate-concerned Alberta resident would prefer the upgrading option. In contrast, the preferences of the general Alberta public depend on the values of key variables (e.g., the SCO-dilbit price differential). Key drivers of differences among stakeholders’ preferences include different perceptions of risks and responsibilities for life cycle GHG emissions. - Highlights: • We develop a novel integrated partial cost-benefit analysis/LCA framework. • We consider stakeholder perspectives, and technical and GHG price variations. • Upgrading is typically less GHG-intensive than dilution per barrel of bitumen. • Dilution is typically less GHG-intensive than upgrading per mega joule of gasoline. • Even stringent GHG prices may not align preferences on energy systems investment decisions

  1. Phytoremediation of Alberta oil sand tailings using native plants and fungal endophytes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Repas, T.; Germida, J.; Kaminskyj, S.

    2012-04-01

    Fungal endophytes colonize host plants without causing disease. Some endophytes confer plant tolerance to harsh environments. One such endophyte, Trichoderma harzianum strain TSTh20-1, was isolated from a plant growing on Athabasca oil sand tailings. Tailing sands are a high volume waste product from oil sand extraction that the industry is required to remediate. Tailing sands are low in organic carbon and mineral nutrients, and are hydrophobic due to residual polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Typically, tailing sands are remediated by planting young trees in large quantities of mulch plus mineral fertilizer, which is costly and labour intensive. In greenhouse trials, TSTh20-1 supports growth of tomato seedlings on tailing sands without fertilizer. The potential use of TSTh20-1 in combination with native grasses and forbs to remediate under field conditions is being assessed. Twenty-three commercially available plant species are being screened for seed germination and growth on tailing sands in the presence of TSTh20-1. The best candidates from this group will be used in greenhouse and small scale field trials. Potential mechanisms that contribute to endophyte-induced plant growth promotion, such as plant hormone production, stress tolerance, mineral solubilization, and uptake are also being assessed. As well, TSTh20-1 appears to be remarkably frugal in its nutrient requirements and the possibility that this attribute is characteristic of other plant-fungal endophytes from harsh environments is under study.

  2. Characterization and determination of naphthenic acids species in oil sands process-affected water and groundwater from oil sands development area of Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Rongfu; Chen, Yuan; Meshref, Mohamed N A; Chelme-Ayala, Pamela; Dong, Shimiao; Ibrahim, Mohamed D; Wang, Chengjin; Klamerth, Nikolaus; Hughes, Sarah A; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Brown, Christine; Mahaffey, Ashley; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2018-01-01

    This work reports the monitoring and assessment of naphthenic acids (NAs) in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), Pleistocene channel aquifer groundwater (PLCA), and oil sands basal aquifer groundwater (OSBA) from an active oil sands development in Alberta, Canada, using ultra performance liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-TOF-MS) analysis with internal standard (ISTD) and external standard (ESTD) calibration methods and Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) for compositional analysis. PLCA was collected at 45-51 m depth and OSBA was collected at 67-144 m depth. Results of O x -NA concentrations follow an order as OSPW > OSBA > PLCA, indicating that occurrences of NAs in OSBA were likely related to natural bitumen deposits instead of OSPW. Liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) was applied to avoid the matrix effect for the ESTD method. Reduced LLE efficiency accounted for the divergence of the ISTD and ESTD calibrated results for oxidized NAs. Principle component analysis results of O 2 and O 4 species could be employed for differentiation of water types, while classical NAs with C13-15 and Z (-4)-(-6) and aromatic O 2 -NAs with C16-18 and Z (-14)-(-16) could be measured as marker compounds to characterize water sources and potential temporal variations of samples, respectively. FTICR-MS results revealed that compositions of NA species varied greatly among OSPW, PLCA, and OSBA, because of NA transfer and transformation processes. This work contributed to the understanding of the concentration and composition of NAs in various types of water, and provided a useful combination of analytical and statistical tools for monitoring studies, in support of future safe discharge of treated OSPW. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Assessing the effects of oil sands related ozone precursor emissions on ambient ozone levels in the Alberta oil sands region, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cho, Sunny; Vijayaraghavan, Krish; Spink, David; Cosic, Biljana; Davies, Mervyn; Jung, Jaegun

    2017-11-01

    A study was undertaken to determine whether, and the extent to which, increased ground-level ozone (O3) precursor emissions from oil sands development have impacted ambient air quality in the north-eastern Alberta, Canada, over the period 1998 to 2012. Temporal trends in emissions of O3 precursors (NOx and VOC) and ambient air concentrations of O3 precursors, and O3 were examined using the Theil-Sen statistical analysis method. Statistically significant correlations between NOx emissions and ambient NOx concentrations were found mainly near surface (open-pit) mining areas where mine fleets are a large source of NOx emissions. No statistically significant trends in the 4th highest daily maximum 8-hr average O3 at any of the continuous and passive ambient air monitoring stations were found. A significant long-term decrease in monthly averaged O3 is observed at some ambient monitoring sites in summer. A visual examination of long-term variations in annual NOx and VOC emissions and annual 4th highest daily maximum 8-hr O3 concentrations does not reveal any indication of a correlation between O3 concentrations and O3 precursor emissions or ambient levels in the study area. Despite a significant increase in oil sands NOx emissions (8%/yr), there is no statistically significant increase in long-term O3 concentrations at any of monitoring stations considered. This suggests that there is surplus NOx available in the environment which results in a titration of ambient O3 in the areas that have ambient monitoring. The limited ambient O3 monitoring data distant from NOx emission sources makes it impossible to assess the impact of these increased O3 precursor levels on O3 levels on a regional scale. As a precautionary measure, the increasing oil sands development O3 precursor emissions would require that priority be given to the management of these emissions to prevent possible future O3 ambient air quality issues.

  4. Determining air pollutant emission rates based on mass balance using airborne measurement data over the Alberta oil sands operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gordon, M.; Li, S.-M.; Staebler, R.; Darlington, A.; Hayden, K.; O'Brien, J.; Wolde, M.

    2015-09-01

    Top-down approaches to measure total integrated emissions provide verification of bottom-up, temporally resolved, inventory-based estimations. Aircraft-based measurements of air pollutants from sources in the Canadian oil sands were made in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring during a summer intensive field campaign between 13 August and 7 September 2013. The measurements contribute to knowledge needed in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring. This paper describes the top-down emission rate retrieval algorithm (TERRA) to determine facility emissions of pollutants, using SO2 and CH4 as examples, based on the aircraft measurements. In this algorithm, the flight path around a facility at multiple heights is mapped to a two-dimensional vertical screen surrounding the facility. The total transport of SO2 and CH4 through this screen is calculated using aircraft wind measurements, and facility emissions are then calculated based on the divergence theorem with estimations of box-top losses, horizontal and vertical turbulent fluxes, surface deposition, and apparent losses due to air densification and chemical reaction. Example calculations for two separate flights are presented. During an upset condition of SO2 emissions on one day, these calculations are within 5 % of the industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. During a return to normal operating conditions, the SO2 emissions are within 11 % of industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. CH4 emissions calculated with the algorithm are relatively constant within the range of uncertainties. Uncertainty of the emission rates is estimated as less than 30 %, which is primarily due to the unknown SO2 and CH4 mixing ratios near the surface below the lowest flight level.

  5. Understanding ozone formation and the radical budget during oil sands plume transport in the Athabasca region of Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moussa, S. G.; Leithead, A.; Li, S. M.; Wang, D. K.; O'brien, J.; Mittermeier, R. L.; Gordon, M.; Staebler, R. M.; Liu, P.; Liggio, J.

    2015-12-01

    The sources of ozone and hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the Alberta oil sands (OS) region have not previously been well characterized. In the summer of 2013, airborne measurements of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO2+NO) and ozone were made in the Athabasca OS region between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) and whole air samples were used to measure VOCs. A box model incorporating the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.3), was constrained by measured chemical species and meteorological parameters and used to simulate the evolution of an OS plume. In doing so, an improved understanding of the chemical factors controlling the radical budget and the evolution of ozone in oil sands plumes is achieved. Our results indicate that approximately 20% of the in-plume generated OH radicals are derived from primary sources (HCHO, O3 and HONO photolysis). The remaining OH is derived from the recycling of hydroperoxyl radical (HO2). The HO2 and alkyl peroxyl radical (RO2) chemistry leads to 35% of the ozone formation in the plume, while the main sink for ozone in the plume was via reactions with alkenes (anthropogenic and biogenic). The results of this work will help to characterize ozone formation and the factors influencing its atmospheric fate in the oil sands region.

  6. Potential methane production and oxidation in soil reclamation covers of an oil sands mining site in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pum, Lisa; Reichenauer, Thomas; Germida, Jim

    2015-04-01

    Anthropogenic activities create a number of significant greenhouse gases and thus potentially contribute to global warming. Methane production is significant in some agricultural production systems and from wetlands. In soil, methane can be oxidised by methanotrophic bacteria. However, little is known about methane production and oxidation in oil sand reclamation covers. The purpose of this study was to investigate methane production and oxidation potential of tailing sands and six different reclamation layers of oil sands mining sites in Alberta, Canada. Methane production and oxidation potential were investigated in laboratory scale microcosms through continuous headspace analysis using gas chromatography. Samples from a reclamation layer were collected at the Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) reclamation site at depths of 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm and 20-40 cm in October 2014. In addition, tailing sands provided by Suncor Energy Inc. and soil from a CNRL wetland were studied for methane production. Samples were dried, crushed and sieved to 4 mm, packed into serum bottle microcosms and monitored for eight weeks. Methane production potential was assessed by providing an anoxic environment and by adjusting the samples to a moisture holding capacity of 100 %. Methane oxidation potential was examined by an initial application of 2 vol % methane to the microcosms and by adjusting the samples to a moisture holding capacity of 50 %. Microcosm headspace gas was analysed for methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and oxygen. All experiments were carried out in triplicates, including controls. SF6 and Helium were used as internal standards to detect potential leaks. Our results show differences for methane production potential between the soil depths, tailing sands and wetlands. Moreover, there were differences in the methane oxidation potential of substrate from the three depths investigated and between the reclamation layers. In conclusion, the present study shows that

  7. Understanding the primary emissions and secondary formation of gaseous organic acids in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Liggio

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Organic acids are known to be emitted from combustion processes and are key photochemical products of biogenic and anthropogenic precursors. Despite their multiple environmental impacts, such as on acid deposition and human–ecosystem health, little is known regarding their emission magnitudes or detailed chemical formation mechanisms. In the current work, airborne measurements of 18 gas-phase low-molecular-weight organic acids were made in the summer of 2013 over the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, an area of intense unconventional oil extraction. The data from these measurements were used in conjunction with emission retrieval algorithms to derive the total and speciated primary organic acid emission rates, as well as secondary formation rates downwind of oil sands operations. The results of the analysis indicate that approximately 12 t day−1 of low-molecular-weight organic acids, dominated by C1–C5 acids, were emitted directly from off-road diesel vehicles within open pit mines. Although there are no specific reporting requirements for primary organic acids, the measured emissions were similar in magnitude to primary oxygenated hydrocarbon emissions, for which there are reporting thresholds, measured previously ( ≈  20 t day−1. Conversely, photochemical production of gaseous organic acids significantly exceeded the primary sources, with formation rates of up to  ≈  184 t day−1 downwind of the oil sands facilities. The formation and evolution of organic acids from a Lagrangian flight were modelled with a box model, incorporating a detailed hydrocarbon reaction mechanism extracted from the Master Chemical Mechanism (v3.3. Despite evidence of significant secondary organic acid formation, the explicit chemical box model largely underestimated their formation in the oil sands plumes, accounting for 39, 46, 26, and 23 % of the measured formic, acetic, acrylic, and propionic acids respectively and with

  8. Understanding the primary emissions and secondary formation of gaseous organic acids in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liggio, John; Moussa, Samar G.; Wentzell, Jeremy; Darlington, Andrea; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Hayden, Katherine; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Staebler, Ralf; Wolde, Mengistu; Li, Shao-Meng

    2017-07-01

    Organic acids are known to be emitted from combustion processes and are key photochemical products of biogenic and anthropogenic precursors. Despite their multiple environmental impacts, such as on acid deposition and human-ecosystem health, little is known regarding their emission magnitudes or detailed chemical formation mechanisms. In the current work, airborne measurements of 18 gas-phase low-molecular-weight organic acids were made in the summer of 2013 over the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, an area of intense unconventional oil extraction. The data from these measurements were used in conjunction with emission retrieval algorithms to derive the total and speciated primary organic acid emission rates, as well as secondary formation rates downwind of oil sands operations. The results of the analysis indicate that approximately 12 t day-1 of low-molecular-weight organic acids, dominated by C1-C5 acids, were emitted directly from off-road diesel vehicles within open pit mines. Although there are no specific reporting requirements for primary organic acids, the measured emissions were similar in magnitude to primary oxygenated hydrocarbon emissions, for which there are reporting thresholds, measured previously ( ≈ 20 t day-1). Conversely, photochemical production of gaseous organic acids significantly exceeded the primary sources, with formation rates of up to ≈ 184 t day-1 downwind of the oil sands facilities. The formation and evolution of organic acids from a Lagrangian flight were modelled with a box model, incorporating a detailed hydrocarbon reaction mechanism extracted from the Master Chemical Mechanism (v3.3). Despite evidence of significant secondary organic acid formation, the explicit chemical box model largely underestimated their formation in the oil sands plumes, accounting for 39, 46, 26, and 23 % of the measured formic, acetic, acrylic, and propionic acids respectively and with little contributions from biogenic VOC precursors. The model

  9. Conservation and reclamation at Alberta's mineable oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Purdy, B.; Richens, T. [Alberta Environment, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The regulatory foundation for oil sands in this region is established by the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), as well as the Water Act. This presentation discussed the regulatory foundation for conservation and reclamation in the mineable oil sands region. EPEA requirements and conservation objectives were identified. EPEA conservation and reclamation requirements stipulate that an operator must conserve and reclaim and obtain a reclamation certificate. EPEA approvals that were presented compared prescriptive standards versus meeting outcomes at certification. Operational and management challenges as well as the role of research networks and multi-stakeholder organizations were also addressed. Challenge facing the industry include progressive reclamation; tailings management and process-affected water; reclamation certification; integrated landscapes; soil handling and revegetation and monitoring and research. The presentation demonstrated that reclamation begins with mine planning and ends with certification. figs.

  10. A multi-isotope approach for assessing industrial contributions to atmospheric nitrogen deposition in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernadette C. Proemse; Bernhard Mayer; Mark E. Fenn; Christopher S. Ross

    2013-01-01

    Industrial nitrogen (N) emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, affect nitrate (NO3) and ammonium (NH4) deposition rates in close vicinity of industrial emitters. NO3-N and NH4-N open field and throughfall deposition rates were determined at various...

  11. Emissions from cold heavy oil production with sands (CHOPS) facilities in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roscioli, J. R.; Herndon, S. C.; Yacovitch, T. I.; Knighton, W. B.; Zavala-Araiza, D.; Johnson, M. R.; Tyner, D. R.

    2017-12-01

    Cold heavy oil production with sands (CHOPS) is generally characterized as a pump driven oil extraction method producing a mixture of sand, water, and heavy oil to heated liquid storage tanks. In addition to fluids, CHOPS sites also produce solution gas, primarily composed of methane, through the well annulus. Depending on formation and well production characteristics, large volumes of this solution gas are frequently vented to the atmosphere without flaring or conservation. To better understand these emission we present measurements of methane, ethane, propane and aromatic emission rates from CHOPS sites using dual tracer flux ratio methodology. The use of two tracers allowed on-site emission sources to be accurately identified and in one instance indicated that the annular vent was responsible for >75% of emissions at the facility. Overall, a measurement survey of five CHOPS sites finds that the methane emissions are in general significantly under-reported by operators. This under-reporting may arise from uncertainties associated with measured gas-to-oil ratios upon which the reported vent volume is based. Finally, measurements of ethane, propane and aromatics from these facilities indicates surprisingly low non-methane hydrocarbon content.

  12. Nitrogen and sulphur deposition and the growth of Sphagnum fuscum in bogs of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melanie A. VILE

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available One of the consequences of ongoing development of the oil sands reserve in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada (56° 39' N, 111° 13' W is an increase in emissions of nitrogen (N and sulphur (S, with an attendant increases in regional atmospheric N and S deposition. Regional land cover across northeastern Alberta is a mixture of Boreal Mixedwood, Boreal Highlands, and Subarctic areas. Peatlands occupy between 22 and 66% of these natural regions, and the land cover of bogs varies between 6.7% in the Mixedwood Region to 46% in the Subarctic Region. Ombrotrophic bog ecosystems may be especially sensitive to atmospheric deposition of N and S. Across 10 ombrotrophic bog sites in the AOSR over four years (2005– 2008, we found no evidence of elevated deposition of NH4 +-N, NO3 –-N, total inorganic nitrogen (TIN; NH4 +-N plus NO3 –-N, or SO4 2–-S, with values measured using ion exchange resin collectors averaging 0.61 ± 04, 0.20 ± 0.01, 0.81 ± 0.04, and 1.14 ± 0.06 kg ha–1 y–1, respectively. Vertical growth and net primary production of Sphagnum fuscum, an indicator of elevated deposition, did not differ consistently across sites, averaging 11.8 ± 0.2 mm y–1 and 234 ± 3.3 g m–2 y–1, respectively, over the four years. Neither vertical growth nor net primary production of S. fuscum was correlated with growing season atmospheric N or S deposition. Our data provide a valuable benchmark of background values for monitoring purposes in anticipation of increasing N and S deposition over a broader geographic region within the AOSR.

  13. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frankel, Mathew L.; Demeter, Marc A.; Lemire, Joe A.; Turner, Raymond J.

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada’s oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings–oil sands process water (OSPW)–are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs) and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni) were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb). Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment. PMID:26849649

  14. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathew L Frankel

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada's oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings-oil sands process water (OSPW-are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb. Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment.

  15. Emergence, growth, and dispersal of Chironomidae in reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kennedy, K.; Ciborowski, J.

    2010-01-01

    Concerns over the environmental impacts of oil sands extraction in northeastern Alberta has increased as the industry continues to expand. This study examined if the emergence, growth, and dispersal of Chironomidae differ in reclaimed wetlands constructed with oil sands process materials (OSPM) when compared with growth in reference wetlands. Five floating 30 cm diameter halo traps were deployed in various wetlands for a 24 hour period. Exuviae trapped in the surface water film were then collected, identified, and counted. Chironomids grown in laboratories from egg masses collected from 2 OSPM-affected wetlands and 2 reference wetlands were paired according to geographic proximity under controlled conditions for 1 generation. Chironomid larval growth was quantified in situ in the wetlands by reciprocally transferring second instar, second generation culture larva. The dispersal of the larvae was quantified by tabulating the number of adults caught in sticky insect traps located along 3 radially-arranged transects in each wetland. A preliminary analysis has suggested that fewer chironomids emerged from the OSPM-affected wetlands. No differences in dispersal distance between the OSPM-affected and reference wetlands were observed.

  16. Spatial and temporal patterns in trace element deposition to lakes in the Athabasca oil sands region (Alberta, Canada)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooke, Colin A.; Kirk, Jane L.; Muir, Derek C. G.; Wiklund, Johan A.; Wang, Xiaowa; Gleason, Amber; Evans, Marlene S.

    2017-12-01

    The mining and processing of the Athabasca oil sands (Alberta, Canada) has been occurring for decades; however, a lack of consistent regional monitoring has obscured the long-term environmental impact. Here, we present sediment core results to reconstruct spatial and temporal patterns in trace element deposition to lakes in the Athabasca oil sands region. Early mining operations (during the 1970s and 1980s) led to elevated V and Pb inputs to lakes located mining operations. Subsequent improvements to mining and upgrading technologies since the 1980s have reduced V and Pb loading to near background levels at many sites. In contrast, Hg deposition increased by a factor of ~3 to all 20 lakes over the 20th century, reflecting global-scale patterns in atmospheric Hg emissions. Base cation deposition (from fugitive dust emissions) has not measurably impacted regional lake sediments. Instead, results from a principal components analysis suggest that the presence of carbonate bedrock underlying lakes located close to development appears to exert a first-order control over lake sediment base cation concentrations and overall lake sediment geochemical composition. Trace element concentrations generally did not exceed Canadian sediment quality guidelines, and no spatial or temporal trends were observed in the frequency of guideline exceedence. Our results demonstrate that early mining efforts had an even greater impact on trace element cycling than has been appreciated previously, placing recent monitoring efforts in a critical long-term context.

  17. Top-down Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Intensities and Emissions for Individual Oil Sands Facilities in Alberta Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liggio, J.; Li, S. M.; Staebler, R. M.; Hayden, K. L.; Mittermeier, R. L.; McLaren, R.; Baray, S.; Darlington, A.; Worthy, D.; O'Brien, J.

    2017-12-01

    The oil sands (OS) region of Alberta contributes approximately 10% to Canada's overall anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Such emissions have traditionally been estimated through "bottom-up" methods which seek to account for all individual sources of GHGs within a given facility. However, it is recognized that bottom-up approaches for complex industrial facilities can be subject to uncertainties associated with incomplete or inaccurate emission factor and/or activity data. In order to quantify air pollutant emissions from oil sands activities an aircraft-based measurement campaign was performed in the summer of 2013. The aircraft measurements could also be used to quantify GHG emissions for comparison to the bottom up emissions estimates. Utilizing specific flight patterns, together with an emissions estimation algorithm and measurements of CO2 and methane, a "top-down" estimate of GHG intensities for several large surface mining operations was obtained. The results demonstrate that there is a wide variation in emissions intensities (≈80 - 220 kg CO2/barrel oil) across OS facilities, which in some cases agree with calculated intensities, and in other cases are larger than that estimated using industry reported GHG emission and oil production data. When translated to annual GHG emissions, the "top-down" approach results in a CO2 emission of approximately 41 Mega Tonnes (MT) CO2/year for the 4 OS facilities investigated, in contrast to the ≈26 MT CO2/year reported by industry. The results presented here highlight the importance of using "top-down" approaches as a complimentary method in evaluating GHG emissions from large industrial sources.

  18. Geochemical interactions between process-affected water from oil sands tailings ponds and North Alberta surficial sediments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holden, A A; Donahue, R B; Ulrich, A C

    2011-01-25

    In Northern Alberta, the placement of out-of-pit oil sands tailings ponds atop natural buried sand channels is becoming increasingly common. Preliminary modeling of such a site suggests that process-affected (PA) pond water will infiltrate through the underlying clay till aquitard, reaching the sand channel. However, the impact of seepage upon native sediments and groundwater resources is not known. The goal of this study is to investigate the role of adsorption and ion exchange reactions in the clay till and their effect on the attenuation or release of inorganic species. This was evaluated using batch sorption experiments (traditional and a recent modification using less disturbed sediment samples) and geochemical modeling with PHREEQC. The results show that clay till sediments have the capacity to mitigate the high concentrations of ingressing sodium (600 mg L(-1)), with linear sorption partitioning coefficients (K(d)) of 0.45 L kg(-1). Ion exchange theory was required to account for all other cation behaviour, precluding the calculation of such coefficients for other species. Qualitative evidence suggests that chloride will behave conservatively, with high concentrations remaining in solution (375 mg L(-1)). As a whole, system behaviour was found to be controlled by a combination of competitive ion exchange, dissolution and precipitation reactions. Observations, supported by PHREEQC simulations, suggest that the influx of PA water will induce the dissolution of pre-existing sulphate salts. Sodium present in the process-affected water will exchange with sediment-bound calcium and magnesium, increasing the divalent ions' pore fluid concentrations, and leading to the precipitation of a calcium-magnesium carbonate mineral phase. Thus, in similar tailings pond settings, particularly if the glacial till coverage is thin or altogether absent, it is reasonable to expect that high concentrations of sodium and chloride will remain in solution, while sulphate

  19. Has Alberta oil sands development altered delivery of polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Peace-Athabasca Delta?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roland I Hall

    Full Text Available The extent to which Alberta oil sands mining and upgrading operations have enhanced delivery of bitumen-derived contaminants via the Athabasca River and atmosphere to the Peace-Athabasca Delta (200 km to the north is a pivotal question that has generated national and international concern. Accounts of rare health disorders in residents of Fort Chipewyan and deformed fish in downstream ecosystems provided impetus for several recent expert-panel assessments regarding the societal and environmental consequences of this multi-billion-dollar industry. Deciphering relative contributions of natural versus industrial processes on downstream supply of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs has been identified as a critical knowledge gap. But, this remains a formidable scientific challenge because loading from natural processes remains unknown. And, industrial activity occurs in the same locations as the natural bitumen deposits, which potentially confounds contemporary upstream-downstream comparisons of contaminant levels.Based on analyses of lake sediment cores, we provide evidence that the Athabasca Delta has been a natural repository of PACs carried by the Athabasca River for at least the past two centuries. We detect no measureable increase in the concentration and proportion of river-transported bitumen-associated indicator PACs in sediments deposited in a flood-prone lake since onset of oil sands development. Results also reveal no evidence that industrial activity has contributed measurably to sedimentary concentration of PACs supplied by atmospheric transport.Findings suggest that natural erosion of exposed bitumen in banks of the Athabasca River and its tributaries is a major process delivering PACs to the Athabasca Delta, and the spring freshet is a key period for contaminant mobilization and transport. This baseline environmental information is essential for informed management of natural resources and human-health concerns by provincial and

  20. Palaeolimnological assessment of lake acidification and environmental change in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sergi PLA

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Exploitation of the Athabasca Oil Sands has expanded hugely over the last 40 years. Regional emissions of oxidised sulphur and nitrogen compounds increased rapidly over this period and similar emissions have been linked to lake acidification in other parts of North America and Europe. To determine whether lakes in the region have undergone acidification, 12 lakes within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Caribou Mountains were selected to cover chemical and spatial gradients and sediment cores were obtained for palaeolimnological analyses including radiometric dating, diatom analysis, isotopic analysis of bulk sediment 13C and 15N, and spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs. All lake sediment cores show evidence of industrial contamination based on SCPs, but there is no clear industrial signal in stable isotopes. Most lakes showed changes in diatom assemblages and sediment C:N ratios consistent with nutrient enrichment over various timescales, with potential drivers including climatic change, forest fires and anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. Only one of the 12 lakes investigated showed strong evidence of acidification with a decline in diatom-inferred pH from 6.3 to 5.6 since 1970 linked to increasing relative abundances of the acidophilous diatom species Actinella punctata, Asterionella ralfsii and Fragilariforma polygonata. Analysis of mercury (Hg in the acidified lake showed increasing sediment fluxes over the last 20 years, a possible indication of industrial contamination. The acidified lake is the smallest of those studied with the shortest residence time, suggesting a limited capacity for neutralisation of acid inputs in catchment soils or by inlake processes.

  1. A modelling framework for reclamation planning of oil sands mines in northern Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shaw, R.D.; Hamilton, H.R.; MacKinnon, M.D.; Gulley, J.R.

    1995-01-01

    The Reclamation Landscape Model Development Project was initiated in 1991 to develop a modelling framework to assist in oil sands mine reclamation planning. The initial year focused on developing a suite of computer simulation models suitable for evaluating hydrodynamic, water quality and biological conditions of fine-tails bottom lakes that would be capped with a layer of fresh water. That modelling framework was further refined in 1992--93 by incorporating probabilistic capabilities, developing of secondary production and food-chain components, and implementing of a model to simulate contaminant concentrations in the Athabasca River. In 1993--94 the emphasis expanded from a focus solely on developing tools for evaluating wet landscape options to developing an integrated modelling framework capable of evaluating both wet and dry landscape reclamation options. Major components completed in 1993--94 included development of a dry landscape module that includes surface runoff, groundwater seepage, air vapor and bioaccumulation components, a wetlands module to assist in evaluating treatment potential and for optimizing design of wetlands units, and a risk analysis module for quantifying risks to human health and ecological receptors. The Reclamation Landscape Model is a compartment modelling system that consists of a number of stand-alone computer programs that can be run in conjunction with one another or separately. The computer programs that simulate contaminant-fate processes range from simple empirical models to complex, mechanistic, three-dimensional, dynamic models, which are capable of predicting contaminant concentrations in water, soil, air and biota for a wide range of reclamation landscape units. Most of the component models have probabilistic capabilities

  2. Soil bioengineering for control of soil erosion in a re-constructed waterway on an Alberta oil sands overburden dump

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Raymond, P. [Terra Erosion Control Ltd., Nelson, BC, (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper described the development and implementation of an erosion control prescription using a soil bioengineering approach for a waterway swale that was retrofitted into an oil sands overburden dump in Alberta. The prescription and implementation involved 29 brush sills installed across the swale, smaller diameter cuttings installed in the middle of each sill for water dispersion, trial contour fascines installed across the swale, the creation of an upstream wetland, and fertilization and broadcast seeding with a barley nurse crop. Monitoring revealed the survival and growth of the brush sills to be good, and the trial section of contour fascines proved to perform better at dispersing water than the brush sill structures alone. Repair and maintenance involved the replacement of brush sill sections that had died off, the addition of contour fascines above all the brush sills, live staking at the centre of the swale, the installation of muskeg and seed-filled burlap bags to fill in eroded areas, additional applications of soil amendments, and broadcast seeding with native grass mix. It was concluded that the brush sills result in channel erosion. When combined with accumulated organic debris, the sills cause splash erosion. The use of contour fascines, without brush sills, appears to diffuse water instead of making channels or creating splash erosion. The project was successful in preventing accelerated gully formation in the swale, and creating wildlife habitat. 13 figs.

  3. Evaluating Function of a Constructed Fen in Alberta's Oil Sands Region Using Dissolved Organic Carbon Concentration and Chemistry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strack, M.; Khadka, B.

    2014-12-01

    Peatlands, mainly fens, account for close to 65% of the landscape in the oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Since mine closure plans require landscape reclamation, methods for fen construction are being investigated. As reclamation goals include the return of ecosystem function, criteria for evaluation must be developed. In this study we compare soil concentrations and spectrophometric properties of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from a constructed fen during its first growing season with that collected from three diverse, undisturbed reference fens in the region. The constructed fen had lower DOC concentration than all the reference fens. Based on E2/E3, E4/E6 and specific UV absorbance of the DOC, the constructed fen had DOC with significantly greater humic content, aromatic nature, and larger molecular size than the reference fens. Results from laboratory DOC production studies indicate that these patterns are likely due to the limited DOC contribution from the newly planted vegetation at the constructed fen, resulting in DOC largely derived from humified peat placed during construction. These preliminary results suggest that DOC concentration and chemistry provide information about the ecological development of the constructed system that could be useful for evaluating reclamation success through time.

  4. Salinization of soil over saline-sodic overburden from the oil sands in Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kessler, S.; Dobchuk, B.S. [O' Kane Consultants Inc., Saskatoon, SK (Canada); Barbour, S.L. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada). College of Engineering; Van Rees, K.C.J. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada). Dept. of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering

    2010-11-15

    This paper characterized the 4-year evolution of salinity profiles in the reclaimed soil covers placed over saline-sodic overburden in the Athabasca region of Alberta, evaluated the influence of cover thickness and salt redistribution in the reclaimed material, and sought to identify the dominant mechanism of salt transport contributing to these profiles. A comparison of 4 reclamation treatments showed that salts accumulated in the cover soils, increasing the electrical conductivity in the lower part of the soils to levels exceeding the acceptable value for plant growth. Diffusion and not slope position was found to be the predominant mechanism driving the salt redistribution in the soils, at least for the 4-year period under observation. The cover thickness had no effect on the extent of salt ingress, but the average salinity for thinner soils was substantially higher than the average for thicker covers. The higher salinity levels compromised the overall quality of the thinner covers for vegetative growth. The thicker covers performed better as a reclamation prescription because the water storage capacity above the salt-affected zone was sufficient for the maintenance of vegetative communities. 46 refs., 2 tabs., 6 figs.

  5. Monitoring mercury in freshwater fish in the oil sands region of Northern Alberta : spatial and temporal comparisons to regional mercury concentrations in fish

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keith, H.

    2010-01-01

    The Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) was launched to provide a better understanding of the potential effects of oil sands development on aquatic systems, and to address issues important to communities of northern Alberta, such as mercury concentrations in fish. Muskeg dewatering, deforestation, flooding, and air emissions are among the potential mercury sources entering the aquatic systems within the oil sands region. RAMP collects non-lethal tissue samples on an annual basis for mercury analysis from northern pike (Esox lucius), walleye (Sander vitreus), and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in various rivers and lakes within the oil sands region. The purpose is to evaluate the suitability of fisheries resources for human consumption and to evaluate the potential cumulative biological effects on fish. A mercury database was developed based on studies in other regions in Alberta and across Canada in order to provide a regional context to the RAMP monitoring results. Data points from 1975 to 2009 were mapped to evaluate spatial and temporal differences in mercury concentrations and any exceedances of subsistence and general consumption guidelines. This monitoring effort has been instrumental in determining whether changes in mercury concentrations in fish are localized to a specific waterbody or regional in nature.

  6. Whither Alberta's oil production?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Purvis, R.A.; Dick, A.B.

    1991-01-01

    It is demonstrated how a combination of old theory (decline methods and statistics) and new technology (computer graphics) can enhance decline-curve forecasts for multi-well groupings. Production and well-count forecasts are presented for four different sized groups of aggregate production. The four examples are: the small Manville pool; the Pembina Cardium, Alberta's largest oil pool; an aggregate of all reef pools of Keg River age; and an aggregate of all wells reporting conventional oil production in the province of Alberta. In each case graphical results show the historical and forecast trends for the statistical distribution of well rates, the median well rate, the aggregated rate, and the number of producing wells. It is concluded that well rate distributions for groups ranging from 15 wells in a single pool to thousands of wells in hundreds of pools are all approximately lognormal. Lognormal well rate distributions and Lorenz graphs provide qualitative and quantitative assessments of a resource base. Decline curves for the median well rate can reveal trends masked in the aggregated rate by changing well count, operating practice and degradation of the resource base. The number of producing wells in Alberta has grown from ca 9000 in 1970 to ca 24,000 in 1988, has remained constant from 1988-1990, and will start to decline as the number of suspended or abandoned wells exceeds the number of new completions. 3 refs., 13 figs., 4 figs

  7. Oil sands development and its impact on atmospheric wet deposition of air pollutants to the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lynam, Mary M; Dvonch, J Timothy; Barres, James A; Morishita, Masako; Legge, Allan; Percy, Kevin

    2015-11-01

    Characterization of air pollutant deposition resulting from Athabasca oil sands development is necessary to assess risk to humans and the environment. To investigate this we collected event-based wet deposition during a pilot study in 2010-2012 at the AMS 6 site 30 km from the nearest upgrading facility in Fort McMurray, AB, Canada. Sulfate, nitrate and ammonium deposition was (kg/ha) 1.96, 1.60 and 1.03, respectively. Trace element pollutant deposition ranged from 2 × 10(-5) - 0.79 and exhibited the trend Hg < Se < As < Cd < Pb < Cu < Zn < S. Crustal element deposition ranged from 1.4 × 10(-4) - 0.46 and had the trend: La < Ce < Sr < Mn < Al < Fe < Mg. S, Se and Hg demonstrated highest median enrichment factors (130-2020) suggesting emissions from oil sands development, urban activities and forest fires were deposited. High deposition of the elements Sr, Mn, Fe and Mg which are tracers for soil and crustal dust implies land-clearing, mining and hauling emissions greatly impacted surrounding human settlements and ecosystems. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Variation in immune function, body condition, and feather corticosterone in nestling Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands, Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jane Harms, N., E-mail: naomi.harms@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B4 (Canada); Fairhurst, Graham D., E-mail: graham.fairhurst@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E2 (Canada); Bortolotti, Gary R., E-mail: gary.bortolotti@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5E2 (Canada); Smits, Judit E.G., E-mail: judit.smits@usask.c [University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5B4 (Canada)

    2010-03-15

    In the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, mining companies are evaluating reclamation using constructed wetlands for integration of tailings. From May to July 2008, reproductive performance of 40 breeding pairs of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), plus growth and survival of nestlings, was measured on three reclaimed wetlands on two oil sands leases. A subset of nestlings was examined for i) feather corticosterone levels, ii) delayed-type hypersensitivity response, and iii) innate immune function. Nestlings on one of two wetlands created with oil sands process affected material (OSPM) were heavier and had greater wing-lengths, and mounted a stronger delayed-type hypersensitivity response compared those on the reference wetland. Corticosterone was significantly higher in male nestlings on one of two OSPM-containing wetland compared to the reference wetland. Body condition of 12-day-old female nestlings was inversely related to feather corticosterone. Under ideal weather conditions, reclaimed wetlands can support healthy populations of aerially-insectivorous birds. - Under ideal weather conditions, tree swallow nestlings on reclaimed OSPM-affected wetlands are in good body condition and mount strong cell-mediated immune responses.

  9. Variation in immune function, body condition, and feather corticosterone in nestling Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on reclaimed wetlands in the Athabasca oil sands, Alberta, Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jane Harms, N.; Fairhurst, Graham D.; Bortolotti, Gary R.; Smits, Judit E.G.

    2010-01-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, mining companies are evaluating reclamation using constructed wetlands for integration of tailings. From May to July 2008, reproductive performance of 40 breeding pairs of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), plus growth and survival of nestlings, was measured on three reclaimed wetlands on two oil sands leases. A subset of nestlings was examined for i) feather corticosterone levels, ii) delayed-type hypersensitivity response, and iii) innate immune function. Nestlings on one of two wetlands created with oil sands process affected material (OSPM) were heavier and had greater wing-lengths, and mounted a stronger delayed-type hypersensitivity response compared those on the reference wetland. Corticosterone was significantly higher in male nestlings on one of two OSPM-containing wetland compared to the reference wetland. Body condition of 12-day-old female nestlings was inversely related to feather corticosterone. Under ideal weather conditions, reclaimed wetlands can support healthy populations of aerially-insectivorous birds. - Under ideal weather conditions, tree swallow nestlings on reclaimed OSPM-affected wetlands are in good body condition and mount strong cell-mediated immune responses.

  10. Detoxification, endocrine, and immune responses of tree swallow nestlings naturally exposed to air contaminants from the Alberta oil sands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruz-Martinez, Luis; Fernie, Kim J; Soos, Catherine; Harner, Tom; Getachew, Fitsum; Smits, Judit E G

    2015-01-01

    Changes in environmental and wildlife health from contaminants in tailings water on the Canadian oil sands have been well-studied; however, effects of air contaminants on wildlife health have not. A field study was conducted to assess biological costs of natural exposure to oil sands-related air emissions on birds. Nest boxes for tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were erected at two sites; within 5 km of active oil sands mining and extraction, and ≥ 60 km south, at one reference site. Passive air monitors were deployed at the nest boxes to measure nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Nestlings were examined at day 9 post hatching to assess T cell function and morphometry. At day 14 post hatching, a subset of nestlings was euthanized to measure detoxification enzymes, endocrine changes, and histological alterations of immune organs. Except for ozone, all air contaminants were higher at the two oil sands sites than the reference site (up to 5-fold). Adult birds had similar reproductive performance among sites (p>0.05). Nestlings from industrial sites showed higher hepatic ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) induction (p0.6), and no histological alterations in the spleen or bursa of Fabricius (p>0.05). This is the first report examining toxicological responses in wild birds exposed to air contaminants from industrial activity in the oil sands. It is also the first time that small, individual air contaminant monitors have been used to determine local contaminant levels in ambient air around nest boxes of wild birds. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Distribution of naphthenic acids in tissues of laboratory-exposed fish and in wild fishes from near the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Rozlyn F; Michel, Lorelei Martínez; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2011-05-01

    Naphthenic acids, which have a variety of commercial applications, occur naturally in conventional crude oil and in highly biodegraded petroleum such as that found in the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada. Oil sands extraction is done using a caustic aqueous extraction process. The alkaline pH releases the naphthenic acids from the oil sands and dissolves them into water as their soluble naphthenate forms, which are anionic surfactants. These aqueous extracts contain concentrations of naphthenates that are acutely lethal to fishes and other aquatic organisms. Previous research has shown that naphthenic acids can be taken up by fish, but the distribution of these acids in various tissues of the fish has not been determined. In this study, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed to commercial (Merichem) naphthenic acids in the laboratory. After a 10-d exposure to approximately 3mg naphthenic acids/L, the fish were dissected and samples of gills, heart, liver, kidney, muscle, and eggs were extracted and analyzed for free (unconjugated) naphthenic acids by a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method. Each of the tissues contained naphthenic acids and non-parametric statistical analyses showed that gills and livers contained higher concentrations than the muscles and that the livers had higher concentrations than the hearts. Four different species of fish (two fish of each species) were collected from the Athabasca River near two oil sands mining and extraction operations. No free naphthenic acids were detected in the muscle or liver of these fish. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. 2010 oil sands performance report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2011-07-01

    With the depletion of traditional energy resources and the rising demand for energy, oil sands have become an important energy resource for meeting energy needs. Oil sands are a mixture of water, sand, clay and bitumen which is recovered either through open pit mining or in situ drilling techniques. The bitumen is then converted into syncrude or sold to refineries for the production of gasoline, diesel or other products. Shell has oil sands operations in Alberta and the aim of this report is to present its 2010 performance in terms of CO2, water, tailings, land, and reclamation and engagement. This document covers several of Shell's operations in the Muskeg River and Jackpine mines, Scotford upgrader, Peace River, Orion, Seal, Cliffdale and Chipmunk. It provides useful information on Shell's oil sands performance to governments, environmental groups, First Nations, local communities and the public.

  13. Seasonal and spatial trends in production and stable isotope signatures of primary producers in Alberta oil sands reclamation wetlands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Boutsivongsakd, M; Chen, H.; Legg, A.; Farwell, A.; Dixon, G.

    2010-01-01

    Oil sands processing produces large amounts of waste water that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and naphthenic acids (NAs). This study investigated the effects of exposure to PAHs and NA in aquatic organisms. The carbon and nitrogen dynamics in primary producers using stable isotopes in process-affected and reference wetlands were studied. Plankton and periphytic samples from artificial wetland substrates were collected and analyzed. Periphyton was collected in 14 to 20 day intervals for 5 different time periods in 2007 and 2008 in order to analyze seasonal trends in isotopic composition. Results of the study showed d15N enriched values for some consolidated tailings (CT) at sites in 2008. Other sites with mature fine tailings (MFT) as well as non-MFT sites did not have enriched d15N values. The study suggested that there are variations in ammonia levels in the CTs of different oil sands operators. Differences in the quality of the CT resulted in differences in d15N values of the periphyton-dominated by algae as well as in the periphyton dominated by microbes.

  14. Seasonal and spatial trends in production and stable isotope signatures of primary producers in Alberta oil sands reclamation wetlands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boutsivongsakd, M; Chen, H.; Legg, A.; Farwell, A.; Dixon, G. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Oil sands processing produces large amounts of waste water that contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and naphthenic acids (NAs). This study investigated the effects of exposure to PAHs and NA in aquatic organisms. The carbon and nitrogen dynamics in primary producers using stable isotopes in process-affected and reference wetlands were studied. Plankton and periphytic samples from artificial wetland substrates were collected and analyzed. Periphyton was collected in 14 to 20 day intervals for 5 different time periods in 2007 and 2008 in order to analyze seasonal trends in isotopic composition. Results of the study showed d15N enriched values for some consolidated tailings (CT) at sites in 2008. Other sites with mature fine tailings (MFT) as well as non-MFT sites did not have enriched d15N values. The study suggested that there are variations in ammonia levels in the CTs of different oil sands operators. Differences in the quality of the CT resulted in differences in d15N values of the periphyton-dominated by algae as well as in the periphyton dominated by microbes.

  15. Acid Deposition Simulations for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Canadian Oil Sands, using the Global Environmental Multiscale - Modelling Air-quality and CHemistry (GEM-MACH) System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makar, Paul; Akingunola, Ayodeji; Moran, Michael; Wong, Isaac; Aherne, Julian; Hayden, Katherine; Li, Shao-Meng; Zhang, Junhua; Baratzedah, Pegha; Pabla, Balbir; Cheung, Philip; Cole, Amanda; Kirk, Jane; Scott, Ken

    2017-04-01

    The Global Environmental Multiscale - Modelling Air-quality and CHemistry (GEM-MACH) system (version 2) was used to carry out simulations of acid deposition for the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. These model predictions include the hourly deposition of four sulphur and eleven nitrogen containing species (SO2(g), HSO3(-)(aq) , SO4(2-)(aq), particulate sulphate, and NH3(g), NO2(g), HNO3(g), NH4(+)(aq), NO3(-)(aq), HONO(g), PAN(g), HNO4(g), particulate nitrate, particulate ammonium, and gaseous organic nitrate, respectively). A two-bin aerosol size distribution configuration of GEM-MACH was used to estimate the annual deposition of these chemicals, for the period August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014, at two resolutions—a 10km resolution North American domain and a 2.5km resolution Alberta and Saskatchewan domain. The model estimates of acid deposition from both resolutions (version 2), were used to determine the relative contributions of the different species towards total sulphur and nitrogen deposition, and to evaluate the effect of model resolution on estimates of acid deposition. The potential ecosystem impacts of acid deposition were examined via comparison of model-predicted total deposition to different sources of sulphur and nitrogen critical load data, for forest and lake ecosystems in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. The deposition estimates were compared to observations of snowpack sulphur and nitrogen ions, collected during the winter of 2013. The processes underlying acidifying deposition in the vicinity of the Canadian oil sands were examined in more detail using the 12-bin aerosol size distribution configuration of GEM-MACH (version 2), for a period from mid-August to mid-September 2013. This time period corresponds to an aircraft measurement intensive campaign designed to examine emissions, transportation, and deposition associated with air pollution sources in the Canadian oil sands. Multiple model simulation scenarios were

  16. Oil sands development update

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1999-01-01

    A detailed review and update of oil sands development in Alberta are provided covering every aspect of the production and economic aspects of the industry. It is pointed out that at present oil sands account for 28 per cent of Canadian crude oil production, expected to reach 50 per cent by 2005. Based on recent announcements, a total of 26 billion dollars worth of projects are in progress or planned; 20 billion dollars worth of this development is in the Athabasca area, the remainder in Cold Lake and other areas. The current update envisages up to 1,800,000 barrels per day by 2008, creating 47,000 new jobs and total government revenues through direct and indirect taxes of 118 billion dollars. Provinces other than Alberta also benefit from these development, since 60 per cent of all employment and income created by oil sands production is in other parts of Canada. Up to 60 per cent of the expansion is for goods and services and of this, 50 to 55 per cent will be purchased from Canadian sources. The remaining 40 per cent of the new investment is for engineering and construction of which 95 per cent is Canadian content. Aboriginal workforce by common consent of existing operators matches regional representation (about 13 per cent), and new developers are expected to match these standards. Planned or ongoing development in environmental protection through improved technologies and optimization, energy efficiency and improved tailings management, and active support of flexibility mechanisms such as emission credits trading, joint implementation and carbon sinks are very high on the industry's agenda. The importance of offsets are discussed extensively along with key considerations for international negotiations, as well as further research of other options such as sequestration, environmentally benign disposal of waste, and enhanced voluntary action

  17. Characterization of trace gases measured over Alberta oil sands mining operations: 76 speciated C2-C10 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simpson, I. J.; Blake, N. J.; Barletta, B.; Diskin, G. S.; Fuelberg, H. E.; Gorham, K.; Huey, L. G.; Meinardi, S.; Rowland, F. S.; Vay, S. A.; Weinheimer, A. J.; Yang, M.; Blake, D. R.

    2010-12-01

    Oil sands comprise 30% of the world's oil reserves and the crude oil reserves in Canada's oil sands deposits are second only to Saudi Arabia. The extraction and processing of oil sands is much more challenging than for light sweet crude oils because of the high viscosity of the bitumen contained within the oil sands and because the bitumen is mixed with sand and contains chemical impurities such as sulphur. Despite these challenges, the importance of oil sands is increasing in the energy market. To our best knowledge this is the first peer-reviewed study to characterize volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from Alberta's oil sands mining sites. We present high-precision gas chromatography measurements of 76 speciated C2-C10 VOCs (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes, aromatics, monoterpenes, oxygenated hydrocarbons, halocarbons and sulphur compounds) in 17 boundary layer air samples collected over surface mining operations in northeast Alberta on 10 July 2008, using the NASA DC-8 airborne laboratory as a research platform. In addition to the VOCs, we present simultaneous measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2, which were measured in situ aboard the DC-8. Carbon dioxide, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2 and 53 VOCs (e.g., non-methane hydrocarbons, halocarbons, sulphur species) showed clear statistical enhancements (1.1-397×) over the oil sands compared to local background values and, with the exception of CO, were greater over the oil sands than at any other time during the flight. Twenty halocarbons (e.g., CFCs, HFCs, halons, brominated species) either were not enhanced or were minimally enhanced (evaporative emissions from the oil sands and its products and/or from the diluent used to lower the viscosity of the extracted bitumen (i.e., C4-C9 alkanes, C5-C6 cycloalkanes, C6-C8 aromatics), together with CO; and (2) emissions associated with the mining effort, such as upgraders (i.e., CO2, CO, CH4, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2, C2-C4 alkanes, C2-C4 alkenes, C

  18. Alberta oil sands community exposure and health effects assessment : analysis of health records as a proxy for health outcomes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang, F.; Mackenzie, A.; Schopflocher, D.; Shaw, S.; Robb, J.; Gabos, S.

    2002-01-01

    A large scale study was conducted to assess potential links between air quality and human health outcomes. Health records were used as a proxy measure for health outcomes. Residents of Fort McMurray and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada were used in the comparison of risks of selected morbidity and mortality measures during a 3 year period between 1995 and 1998. Data on the socio-demography, morbidity, and mortality were linked by PI and geographic area from the Health Care Insurance Plan, physical and hospital billing systems, and vital statistics death registration. Age was the most important confounder. Asthma incidence for children 3 years or less was examined along with prevalence and mortality of selected diseases for each sex and age group. Results showed that the incidence of asthma varied by age and sex but not by study area. There was no major difference in death from lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, respiratory disorders and COPD between residents of the target and control communities. 6 figs

  19. Developing new markets for oil sands products

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crandall, G.

    2004-01-01

    This paper presents a review by Purvin and Gertz of western Canadian crude oil supply. This energy consulting firm provides advise to the energy sector. It suggests that oil sands production will surpass declining conventional production. Oil sands supply includes bitumen, synthetic crude oil (SCO), and diluent. It is forecasted that oil sands will increase from 42 per cent of western supply in 2002 to 78 per cent in 2015. The potential of Alberta's oil sands was discussed along with a recent study of refined products and petrochemicals from bitumen. Upgrading, refining and petrochemical case studies were presented. The author examined if a Canadian oil sands upgrading project with high capital costs can be competitive with competing projects in the United States and internationally. In addition to supply and demand issues, the presentation examined infrastructure capability and market potential in the United States. The economic potential and risks of preferred business cases compared to upgrading to SCO were also evaluated. 15 figs

  20. Boron in tree-ring as an indicator of forest disturbances in the Lower Athabasca Oil Sands region, Northeastern Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bégin, Christian; Savard, Martine M.; Marion, Joëlle; Thiffault, Évelyne; Pinno, Brad

    2016-04-01

    Industrial activities related to oil sands (OS) extraction in northeastern Alberta (Canada) have generated, since 1967, important quantities of NOx and SO2 emissions that can lead to several negative effects on forest ecosystems including the potential for soil acidification. In addition, mining processes, tailing pond treatments and heavy transport (haul roads) in mining areas are considered important sources of air contaminants that have the potential to impair forest health by affecting the nutrient balance and physiology of trees. In this study, we analysed micronutrients (B, Fe, Zn, Na, Cu) and macronutrients (Ca, Mg, Mn, K) in the tree-ring series of jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and spruce (Picea glauca and Picea mariana) trees growing at different distances from the heart of mining operations (two sites for each species). Based on tree-ring records, our aims were to provide a historical perspective on the nutritional status of forest ecosystems and to identify temporal changes in tree-ring chemistry that can be attributed to OS activities. One of the key findings of this research is the direct and immediate response of boron (B) in woody tissues of all studied species to mining operations. During the pre-mining period (prior to 1967) [B] variations in tree-rings of the three species covary with other elements such as Na and Fe and are likely controlled by environmental factors, namely climatic conditions. After 1970, [B] increases and strongly departs from trends of other elements. In jack pine trees (54 km NNE of the centre of industrial operations) the increasing trend is abrupt with mean [B] increasing from 11.7 mg/kg during the pre-industrial period to 14.3 mg/kg during mining period. In spruce trees at the proximal site (14 km NE), [B] increases gradually and nicely reproduces the historical pattern of industrial emissions with mean pre-mining [B] of 29.5 mg/kg increasing to 92.1 mg/kg during the mining period. At the four spruce sites, the increasing

  1. Measurement of fine particulate matter water-soluble inorganic species and precursor gases in the Alberta Oil Sands Region using an improved semicontinuous monitor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hsu, Yu-Mei; Clair, Thomas A

    2015-04-01

    The ambient ion monitor-ion chromatography (AIM-IC) system, which provides hourly measurements of the main chemical components of PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diametergases, was evaluated and deployed from May to July 2011 and April to December 2013 in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of northeastern Alberta, Canada. The collection efficiencies for the gas-phase SO2 and HNO3 using the cellulose membrane were 96% and 100%, respectively, and the collection efficiency of NH3 using the nylon membrane was 100%. The AIM-IC was compared with a collocated annular denuder sampling system (ADSS) and a Federal Reference Method (FRM) Partisol PM2.5 sampler. The correlation coefficients of SO4(2-) concentrations between the AIM-IC and ADSS and between the AIM-IC and the Partisol PM2.5 sampler were 0.98 and 0.95, respectively. The comparisons also showed no statistically significant difference between the measurement sets, suggesting that the AIM-IC measurements of the PM2.5 chemical composition are comparable to the ADSS and Partisol PM2.5 methods. NH3 concentration in the summer (mean±standard deviation, 1.9±0.7 µg m(-3)) was higher than in the winter (1.3±0.9 µg m(-3)). HNO3 and NO3- concentrations were generally low in the AOSR, and especially in the winter months. NH4+ (0.94±0.96 µg m(-3)) and SO4(2-) (0.58±0.93 µg m(-3)) were the major ionic species of PM2.5. Direct SO2 emissions from oil sands processing operations influenced ambient particulate NH4+ and SO4(2-) values, with hourly concentrations of NH4+ and SO4(2-) measured downwind (~30 km away from the stack) at 10 and 28 µg m(-3). During the regional forest fire event in 2011, high concentrations of NO3-, NH4+, HNO3, NH3, and PM2.5 were observed and the corresponding maximum hourly concentrations were 31, 15, 9.6, 89, and >450 (the upper limit of PM2.5 measurement) µg m(-3), suggesting the formation of NH4NO3. The AOSR in Canada is one of the most scrutinized industrial regions in the

  2. Growing markets to sustain oil sands development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wise, T.H.

    2003-01-01

    The utilization of Alberta bitumen for the clean fuels market depends on upgrading, transportation, and refining processes. Forecasts show that oil sands production, which includes synthetic crude oil (SCO), will surpass declining conventional production in Western Canada. Several issues pose a challenge to the oil sands processing industry. The producers' market is affected by crude oil prices, market expansion options, diluent availability/cost, supply cost competitiveness, and regional processing. The common market issues include light/heavy crude prices, oil sands crude qualities, prices of oil sands crudes, pipeline infrastructure, and competitive supplies. The issues facing the refiners are: refining margins, security of crude supply, refined product quality, and competitive product supply. A brief review of markets for Canadian crude oil, including synthetic crude, was provided. The share of the Midwest market by Alberta must be retained and increased. The market expansion options were reviewed for both downstream (refining) and upstream (upgrading) operations. To reach more distant markets such as Southern Midwest, Washington, and California, new pipeline capacity would be required. The market is nearly saturated for Canada's heavy oil supply. More upgrading will be required as bitumen production increases. Market growth is still possible for Canada's SCO but according to forecasts, the market could also become saturated. To increase demand and allow supplies to grow, SCO prices may fall below light crude prices. It was noted that a balance must be achieved in order for producers to increase production and for refiner/upgraders to expand their conversion capacity. tabs., figs

  3. Nuclear energy in the oils sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arsenault, J.E.

    2014-01-01

    The major Canadian oil sands are located in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with most production from the strata along the Athabasca River in Alberta. The economically recoverable oil sands reserves are estimated to be 168 billion barrels which at a current production rate of 1.8 million barrels per day (2012), are projected to last a very long time. Canada has been blessed with vast energy resources which make it potentially energy-independent and able to provide significant exports but there are concerns that their development cannot be managed in a wholly acceptable manner. Comparable concerns have been applied to nuclear energy in the past and in recent times to the oil sands. The technologies associated with these energy sources have always been controversial because they are at the confluence of economics and politics where finding a balance between risk and reward is difficult. So it should be no surprise that when these technologies get linked together in certain proposals their prospect for success is doubly difficult. The possible use of nuclear energy for production of oil from the oil sands dates back to the late 1950s, when an experiment to mine the oil by detonating an underground nuclear device was proposed. It was predicted that the heat and pressure released from such a device would create a large cavern into which oil would flow, and from where it would be pumped to the surface. Almost at the same time, oil sands research using conventional sources of energy had culminated with the development of practical refining processes, essentially those still in use today. These methods require large amounts of heat energy in the form of hot water and steam. In this century nuclear energy was proposed as the source for the heat required by the oil sands production processes. To date neither of these nuclear proposals for oil sands projects have been successful, because the economic and political balance could not be struck. (author)

  4. Inter-comparison of MAX-DOAS Retrieved Vertical Profiles of Aerosol Extinction, SO2 and NO2 in the Alberta Oil Sands with LIDAR Data and GEM-MACH Air Quality Model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, Zoe; Friess, Udo; Strawbridge, Kevin; Whiteway, James; Aggarwal, Monika; Makar, Paul; Li, Shao-Meng; O'Brien, Jason; Baray, Sabour; Schnitzler, Elijah; Olfert, Jason S.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Lobo, Akshay; McLaren, Robert

    2016-04-01

    Understanding industrial emissions of trace gas pollutants in the Alberta oil sands is essential to maintaining air quality standards and informing public policy. Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements of trace gases can improve knowledge of pollutant levels, vertical distribution and chemical transformation. During an intensive air measurement campaign to study emissions, transport, transformation and deposition of oil sands air pollutants from August to September of 2013, a MAX-DOAS instrument was deployed at a site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta to determine the vertical profiles of aerosol extinction, NO2 and SO2 through retrieval from the MAX-DOAS spectral measurements using an optimal estimation method. The large complement of data collected from multiple instruments deployed during this field campaign provides a unique opportunity to validate and characterize the performance of the MAX-DOAS vertical profile retrievals. Aerosol extinction profiles determined from two Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instruments, one collocated and the other on a Twin Otter aircraft that flew over the site during the study, will be compared to the MAX-DOAS aerosol extinction profile retrievals. Vertical profiles of NO2 and SO2 retrieved from the MAX-DOAS measurements will be further compared with the composite vertical profiles measured from the flights of a second aircraft, the NRC-Convair 580, over the field site during the same measurement period. Finally, the MAX-DOAS retrieved tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) of SO2 and NO2 will be compared to the predicted VCDs from Environment and Climate Change Canada's Global Environmental Multi-scale - Modelling Air quality and Chemistry (GEM-MACH) air quality model over the grid cell containing the field site. Emission estimates of SO2 from the major oil mining facility Syncrude Mildred Lake using the MAX-DOAS VCD results, validated through the detailed characterization above

  5. Oil sand synfuel production using nuclear energy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barnert, H.

    1984-10-01

    The importance of oil sand as a primary energy carrier is illustrated. The oil sand mining project 'synfuel' in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, is described. On the basis of a layout of an In-situ-process different possibilities of introducing nuclear energy to the process are described. This leads to an increase of the product yield, leading finally to a doubling of the energy output compared to the reference layout. The introduction of nuclear energy contributes to the reduction of emissions, in particular to the emission of carbon dioxide in the conversion process. (orig.)

  6. Asian-Pacific markets : a new strategy for Alberta oil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Laureshen, C.J.; Du Plessis, D.; Xu, C.M.; Chung, K.H.

    2004-01-01

    Alberta's oil sands contain an estimated crude bitumen-in-place of nearly 2.5 trillion barrels. Production has increased to the point where it has overtaken non-conventional sources, and is expected to reach more than 2 million barrels per day by 2012, and over 5 million barrels per day by 2030. Although it is assumed that most of this production will be marketed in the United States, the industry is facing many constraints that could affect potential crude oil production and existing market share. The Asian-Pacific region is an obvious new market for Canadian heavy oil and bitumen due to an increasing demand for petroleum products in that region and the potential for reaching the California market with the same pipeline. This paper examined the following three criteria that will determine the success of any initiative to move Canadian crude oil to Asian-Pacific markets: (1) a sustainable supply of crude from Alberta; a pipeline to transport the crude to a deepwater port on the west coast; and, a guaranteed market at the other end. The feasibility of marketing Alberta heavy oil and bitumen to Asia was also discussed. 12 refs., 1 tab., 8 figs

  7. Oil sands tax expenditures

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ketchum, K; Lavigne, R.; Plummer, R.

    2001-01-01

    The oil sands are a strategic Canadian resource for which federal and provincial governments provide financial incentives to develop and exploit. This report describes the Oil Sands Tax Expenditure Model (OSTEM) developed to estimate the size of the federal income tax expenditure attributed to the oil sands industry. Tax expenditures are tax concessions which are used as alternatives to direct government spending for achieving government policy objectives. The OSTEM was developed within the business Income Tax Division of Canada's Department of Finance. Data inputs for the model were obtained from oil sands developers and Natural Resources Canada. OSTEM calculates annual revenues, royalties and federal taxes at project levels using project-level projections of capital investment, operating expenses and production. OSTEM calculates tax expenditures by comparing taxes paid under different tax regimes. The model also estimates the foregone revenue as a percentage of capital investment. Total tax expenditures associated with investment in the oil sands are projected to total $820 million for the period from 1986 to 2030, representing 4.6 per cent of the total investment. 10 refs., 2 tabs., 7 figs

  8. Photochemical model evaluation of the ground-level ozone impacts on ambient air quality and vegetation health in the Alberta oil sands region: Using present and future emission scenarios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayaraghavan, Krish; Cho, Sunny; Morris, Ralph; Spink, David; Jung, Jaegun; Pauls, Ron; Duffett, Katherine

    2016-09-01

    One of the potential environmental issues associated with oil sands development is increased ozone formation resulting from NOX and volatile organic compound emissions from bitumen extraction, processing and upgrading. To manage this issue in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in northeast Alberta, a regional multi-stakeholder group, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), developed an Ozone Management Framework that includes a modelling based assessment component. In this paper, we describe how the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model was applied to assess potential ground-level ozone formation and impacts on ambient air quality and vegetation health for three different ozone precursor cases in the AOSR. Statistical analysis methods were applied, and the CMAQ performance results met the U.S. EPA model performance goal at all sites. The modelled 4th highest daily maximum 8-h average ozone concentrations in the base and two future year scenarios did not exceed the Canada-wide standard of 65 ppb or the newer Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards of 63 ppb in 2015 and 62 ppb in 2020. Modelled maximum 1-h ozone concentrations in the study were well below the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objective of 82 ppb in all three cases. Several ozone vegetation exposure metrics were also evaluated to investigate the potential impact of ground-level ozone on vegetation. The chronic 3-months SUM60 exposure metric is within the CEMA baseline range (0-2000 ppb-hr) everywhere in the AOSR. The AOT40 ozone exposure metric predicted by CMAQ did not exceed the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) threshold of concern of 3000 ppb-hr in any of the cases but is just below the threshold in high-end future emissions scenario. In all three emission scenarios, the CMAQ predicted W126 ozone exposure metric is within the CEMA baseline threshold of 4000 ppb-hr. This study outlines the use of photochemical modelling of the impact of an industry (oil

  9. Examination of mercury and organic carbon dynamics from a constructed fen in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada using in situ and laboratory fluorescence measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oswald, C.; Carey, S. K.

    2013-12-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region, mined landscapes must be reclaimed to a functioning natural ecosystem as part of the mine closure process. To test wetland construction techniques on oil sands tailings, 55 ha of mined landscape on the Syncrude Canada Ltd. property is being reclaimed to a watershed containing a graminoid fen. The 18 ha constructed fen consists of an approximately 50 cm thick peat-mineral soil layer separated from underlying tailings sand by a thin layer of clay till. The water table in the fen is maintained by pumping water into the fen from a nearby lake and controlling outflow with under-drains. The objective of this study was to assess total mercury (THg) and methyl mercury (MeHg) concentration dynamics in water exported from the fen in relation to organic carbon quantity and composition. Water quality data from summer 2012 when the fen pumps were first turned on show that dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations are on average twice as high in water flowing through the underlying tailings sand aquifer (median: 42.0 mg/L) compared to DOC concentrations in water flowing through the fen peat package (median: 20.3 mg/L). Given these DOC concentrations, filtered THg concentrations are very low (median values are 0.81 ng/L and 0.17 ng/L for water flowing through the fen peat and sand tailings, respectively) compared to concentrations reported for other boreal wetlands. Although a relationship was identified between filtered THg and DOC (r2=0.60), its slope (0.06 ng Hg/mg C) is an order-of-magnitude smaller than the typical range of slopes found at other wetland sites potentially suggesting a small pool of mercury in the peat and/or limited partitioning of mercury into solution. Filtered MeHg concentrations in all water samples are near the limit of detection and suggest that biogeochemical conditions conducive to methylation did not exist in the fen peat or tailings sand at the time of sampling. In addition to these baseline THg and Me

  10. Oil sands economic impacts Canada : CERI report : backgrounder

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2005-09-01

    Oil sands production now accounts for 1 out of every 2 barrels of supply in Western Canada. It is anticipated that Alberta's oil sands sector will experience significant growth over the next few decades. This paper provided an outline of the challenges and economic impacts resulting from oil sands development in Canada. Alberta's oil sands reserves are estimated at 175 billion barrels that are deemed economically recoverable using current technology. At current production levels, reserves will sustain production of 2.5 million barrels per day for the next 200 years. A study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) has forecast $100 billion in investment for the 2000-2020 period. Numerous companies hold leases and are planning new projects. A number of recent advances in oil sands technology are expected to further reduce costs as development matures. A royalty and tax regime that provides long-term fiscal certainty is a key factor that supports current oil sands growth forecasts. The CERI study has indicated that economic spinoffs from oil sands development relate to employment generated outside of Alberta, and that the largest percentage of government revenue accrues to the federal government. However, development may be constrained because the pace of growth in the sector may exceed underlying infrastructure related to roads, housing and municipal services. An adequate workforce of qualified trades and technical and professional people is also crucial. Several pipeline projects have been proposed to deliver oil sands crudes to new markets over the next decade. It was concluded that the billions of dollars invested in oil sands in Alberta will contribute to the economic prosperity of the entire country. 11 figs

  11. Reserve growth in oil pools of Alberta: Model and forecast

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verma, M.; Cook, T.

    2010-01-01

    Reserve growth is recognized as a major component of additions to reserves in most oil provinces around the world, particularly in mature provinces. It takes place as a result of the discovery of new pools/reservoirs and extensions of known pools within existing fields, improved knowledge of reservoirs over time leading to a change in estimates of original oil-in-place, and improvement in recovery factor through the application of new technology, such as enhanced oil recovery methods, horizontal/multilateral drilling, and 4D seismic. A reserve growth study was conducted on oil pools in Alberta, Canada, with the following objectives: 1) evaluate historical oil reserve data in order to assess the potential for future reserve growth; 2) develop reserve growth models/ functions to help forecast hydrocarbon volumes; 3) study reserve growth sensitivity to various parameters (for example, pool size, porosity, and oil gravity); and 4) compare reserve growth in oil pools and fields in Alberta with those from other large petroleum provinces around the world. The reported known recoverable oil exclusive of Athabasca oil sands in Alberta increased from 4.5 billion barrels of oil (BBO) in 1960 to 17 BBO in 2005. Some of the pools that were included in the existing database were excluded from the present study for lack of adequate data. Therefore, the known recoverable oil increased from 4.2 to 13.9 BBO over the period from 1960 through 2005, with new discoveries contributing 3.7 BBO and reserve growth adding 6 BBO. This reserve growth took place mostly in pools with more than 125,000 barrels of known recoverable oil. Pools with light oil accounted for most of the total known oil volume, therefore reflecting the overall pool growth. Smaller pools, in contrast, shrank in their total recoverable volumes over the years. Pools with heavy oil (gravity less than 20o API) make up only a small share (3.8 percent) of the total recoverable oil; they showed a 23-fold growth compared to

  12. The impact of the 2016 Fort McMurray Horse River Wildfire on ambient air pollution levels in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    An unprecedented wildfire impacted the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray in May 2016 causing a mandatory city wide evacuation and the loss of 2,400 homes and commercial structures. A two-hectare wildfire was discovered on May 1, grew to ~ 157,000 ha by May 5, and continued t...

  13. From oil sands to transportation fuels, to electricity, to hydrogen

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yildirim, E.

    1993-01-01

    The Alberta Chamber of Resources programs and initiatives on oil sands and heavy oil, and strategies for revitalizing oilsands development in Alberta are described. The regional upgrader and satellite production facilities concept, and technology requirements for mineable oil sands by the year 2010 are discussed. Strategic alliances in furtherence of oil sands research and development and the National Task Force on Oil Sands Strategies are described. Changes in requirements for transportation fuels due to stricter regulations and environmental initiatives will cause a trend to lighter fuels with more hydrogen content, less aromatics, nitrogen, sulfur and metals. A preferred refinery configuration will be able to process heavier crudes and synthetic crudes, have no heavy fuel oil product, low sulfur products, low aromatics with high octane, and low operating cost. A regional or central facility that combines the processing capabilities of a bitumen upgrader with the process units of a refinery is preferred. Advantages of this concept are: value addition to the feedstock is maximized; dependence on refineries is eliminated; restriction on synthetic crude oil volumes due to capacity limitations at refineries is eliminated; directly marketable finished products are produced; more stringent quality specifications are satisfied; and the synergies between upgrading and refining improve overall economics of processing. It is recommended that the concept of regional upgraders be adopted for Alberta, strategic alliances be encouraged, incentives for bitumen production be provided, and a bitumen pipeline network be developed. 12 refs

  14. Dante in Alberta: chronicle of an oil addicted civilization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Akram, Belkaid

    2010-01-01

    According to the author, Alberta, an heavenly province of Western Canada, is the theater of the biggest ecological crime of the moment in the form of oil exploitation. Alberta gathers all the aberrations and dramas that have been seen before in other oil producing countries, in particular in Africa, Middle-East and Asia: corruption, defiance of minority rights, terror threats, environment destruction etc

  15. Canada's oil sands : opportunities and challenges to 2015 : an update

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2006-06-01

    This report updated an energy market assessment compiled and published by the National Energy Board (NEB) in 2004. Major changes resulting from recent developments in the oil sands industry were presented. The report was compiled from a series of informal meetings and discussions with a cross-section of oil sands stakeholders. Influences on recent oil sands development and production growth included market development and pipelines; rising capital and labour costs; operating costs; environmental impact management; high crude oil prices; rising global energy demand; technology innovations; and a more stable investment climate. A comparison of key assumptions between the current analysis and the 2004 report was presented, along with estimates of operating and supply costs for various types of oil sands recovery methods. Potential markets for oil sands production were reviewed. Environmental and socio-economic impacts on the industry included the larger than anticipated water withdrawals from the Athabasca River for mining operations; and uncertainties over land reclamation methods. The industry has also been impacted by a limited supply of skilled workers in Alberta. It was observed that the potential for building cogeneration capacity has decreased since the 2004 report. It was concluded that the oil sands industry will continue to grow rapidly, but the rate of development will depend on the balance that is reached between the opposing forces that affect the oil sands. Natural gas costs, high oil prices, air emissions management issues and water usage will continue to be of concern. 6 tabs., 7 figs

  16. Macro-economic benefits of an expanded oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-01-01

    Probable impact of benefits of expanded oil sands development on employment and government revenues were analyzed. Investment in proposed oil sands facilities was forecast to create about 1 million person-years of direct and indirect employment. Forty percent of employment gains would be created in Alberta, with remaining positions mostly in Ontario and Quebec. Government taxes, royalties, reduced debts interest costs and revenues to municipalities, hospitals and pension plans would increase by $97 billion (1994 dollars) between 1995 and 2025. Additional benefits would include increases in average Canadian disposable incomes, substitution of imported with domestic oil, and expansion of gross domestic product in Alberta by 5%. Some variation may be expected because of accuracy of assumptions that were made in the analysis, but the character of the results were not expected to change

  17. Production of oil from Intermountain West tar sands deposits

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Glassett, J.M.; Glassett, J.A.

    1976-03-01

    Six tar sand deposits in the Intermountain West, each containing more than one billion barrels of oil in place, are identified. All of these deposits are in eastern Utah and contain a total of twenty-eight billion barrels of oil. The names of the six deposits arranged in descending order of desirability for large-scale surface-mining oil recovery operations are as follows: Sunnyside, Tar Sand Triangle, Asphalt Ridge, P.R. Spring, Circle Cliffs, and Hill Creek. An overview of each deposit is presented including geology, surface-mining variables, chemical processing variables, environmental aspects, and economics. A comparison of Utah tar sands and Athabasca, Alberta, Canada tar sands is also presented.

  18. A new era of opportunity for Canada's oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1996-06-01

    The enormous potential for wealth that is offered by Canada's oil sands deposits was discussed. Alberta's oil sands contain more recoverable oil than all the reserves of Saudi Arabia - but they have barely been developed. They are a natural resource of sufficient size, scale and competitive advantage to be of great benefit to the economy. The National Oil Sands Task Force has invested billions of dollars in the project and believes that the industry can triple production over the next 25 years. Benefits to Canadians will include an estimated 44,000 new jobs across the country, $97 billion increase in revenue for all levels of government, and $100 billion increase in consumer disposable incomes. In order to realize these socio-economic benefits, some important improvements were recommended to insure industry efficiency and growth. Some of the recommendations included increased investment in science and technology, as a key component of development. 1 tab., 4 figs

  19. Reframing the Canadian Oil Sands

    OpenAIRE

    Patchett, Merle M; Lozowy, A

    2012-01-01

    Reframing the Canadian Oil Sands” is a collaborative exchange between photographer Andriko Lozowy and cultural geographer Merle Patchett that engages photography and photographic theory to evoke a more critical and politically meaningful visual engagement with the world’s largest capital oil project. Since the appearance of Edward Burtynsky’s aerial and abstracted photographic-mappings of the region, capturing the scale of the Oil Sands from ‘on high’ has become the dominant visual imaginary....

  20. Bison and the oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pauls, R.W.

    1998-01-01

    Syncrude's Mildred Lake oil sands development project is located within the central boreal mixed wood forest in an area supporting traditional land uses, including trapping and harvesting of wildlife and plant materials by Fort McKay First Nation residents, in a community within 10 km of the Syncrude development. Reclamation requirements and standards in Alberta specify that the reclamation process must restore a landscape capability equivalent to, or better than that existing before disturbance. Syncrude is committed to complying with all provincial requirements and guidelines in all aspects of its business, including land reclamation. A five year research program has been established to determine the feasibility of reclaiming a portion of the landscape to support wood bison and bison subspecies once indigenous to this area. The current project may be expanded as a pilot commercial ranching venture to explore its commercial viability as a business venture by the Fort McKay First nations

  1. Oil sands cokes affect microbial activities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Phillip M. Fedorak; Debora L. Coy [University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Canada). Department of Biological Sciences

    2006-09-15

    The upgrading of bitumen extracted from oil sands in Alberta, Canada is producing vast quantities of coke that must be stored in a manner that will not harm the environment. It has been assumed that these cokes are inert, and therefore should not affect any biological processes. Coke samples were incubated in two microbiological tests to determine if they are inert. One was a methanogenic bioassay, which showed that higher coke dosages led to lower methanogenic activity. In the second test, coke was incubated with heterotrophic, aerobic bacteria that are known to extract organic sulfur from coal yielding sulfate in the medium. Sulfate production was observed with one of the coke samples. Thus, the cokes are not inert. 50 refs., 5 figs., 3 tabs.

  2. Canadian oil sands : supply and potential for market growth

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crandall, G.

    2004-01-01

    Canadian oil sands recoverable reserves rank second only to Saudi Arabia and present enormous potential, particularly through technological gains. This paper discussed the market potential for oil sands both globally and in North America. It was estimated that oil sands production would eventually surpass declining conventional production, increasing from 42 per cent of Western supply in 2002 to 78 per cent in 2015. Recoverable reserves were an estimated 174 billion barrels, with cumulative production at 4 billion barrels between 1967 to 2003. Statistics of U.S. and Canadian markets for crude oil were presented to the year 2020. A flow chart of oil sands products and market outlets was presented, as well as details of existing and potential markets for Canadian crude oil. Oil sands product dispositions were outlined, with the prediction that Asia may emerge as an incremental market. World crude oil production statistics were presented by type. World residual supply and demand estimates were presented, including details of conversion capacity and requirements for residual processing capacity in refineries and field upgraders. American refinery feedstocks were presented by type, with the identification of an increase in heavy crude runs. It was noted that recent pricing provided a strong incentive to add refining conversion capacity to process heavy oil. An outline of a study completed for the Alberta government and industry was presented, in which upgrading to light synthetic crude was determined as a base case. The value added to process bitumen beyond upgrading was discussed in relation to the upgrading of American refineries to process bitumen blends and synthetic crude. Potential cases for upgrading bitumen were presented, along with a comparison of capital costs. An overall economic comparison of projects was provided. Various measures to maximize markets for oil sands products in Alberta were presented. It was suggested that U.S. markets should absorb more new

  3. Using normal ranges for interpreting results of monitoring and tiering to guide future work: A case study of increasing polycyclic aromatic compounds in lake sediments from the Cold Lake oil sands (Alberta, Canada) described in Korosi et al. (2016).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munkittrick, Kelly R; Arciszewski, Tim J

    2017-12-01

    Since the publishing of the Kelly et al. papers (2009, 2010) describing elevated contaminants in snow near the Alberta oil sands, there has been a significant expansion of monitoring efforts, enhanced by $50M a year contributed by industry to a regional Joint Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) program. In parallel to the intensification of research and monitoring efforts, including expansion of measured indicators, techniques for chemical analysis have also become more sensitive. Both factors contribute to the increased sensitivity and power, and improve our capacity to detect any change. The increase in capability requires a counterbalance to account for trivial change. This can be done using an interpretative approach that requires contextualization of differences to meaningfully inform environmental monitoring programs and provide focus for action. Experience obtained through 25 years of involvement with Canada's Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program has shown that a tiered program informed by triggers can provide the context to make decisions about monitoring priorities. Here we provide a potential interpretation framework using a case study around the Korosi et al. (2016) study which found recent increases in alkylated polycyclic aromatic compounds (aPACs) in the Cold Lake in situ oil sands area. Public contaminant profiles from the JOSM studies in the oil sands region are used to evaluate the changes using an interpretation framework based on estimated normal ranges using existing data for site-specific, local and regional (distant) levels that was modelled after the tiered Canadian EEM design. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Thermal Properties of oil sand

    Science.gov (United States)

    LEE, Y.; Lee, H.; Kwon, Y.; Kim, J.

    2013-12-01

    Thermal recovery methods such as Cyclic Steam Injection or Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) are the effective methods for producing heavy oil or bitumen. In any thermal recovery methods, thermal properties (e.g., thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and volumetric heat capacity) are closely related to the formation and expansion of steam chamber within a reservoir, which is key factors to control efficiency of thermal recovery. However, thermal properties of heavy oil or bitumen have not been well-studied despite their importance in thermal recovery methods. We measured thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and volumetric heat capacity of 43 oil sand samples from Athabasca, Canada, using a transient thermal property measurement instrument. Thermal conductivity of 43 oil sand samples varies from 0.74 W/mK to 1.57 W/mK with the mean thermal conductivity of 1.09 W/mK. The mean thermal diffusivity is 5.7×10-7 m2/s with the minimum value of 4.2×10-7 m2/s and the maximum value of 8.0×10-7 m2/s. Volumetric heat capacity varies from 1.5×106 J/m3K to 2.11×106 J/m3K with the mean volumetric heat capacity of 1.91×106 J/m3K. In addition, physical and chemical properties (e.g., bitumen content, electric resistivity, porosity, gamma ray and so on) of oil sand samples have been measured by geophysical logging and in the laboratory. We are now proceeding to investigate the relationship between thermal properties and physical/chemical properties of oil sand.

  5. Sulfur biogeochemistry of oil sands composite tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Warren, Lesley; Stephenson, Kate [Earth Sciences, McMaster University (Canada)], email: warrenl@mcmaster.ca; Penner, Tara [Syncrude Environmental Research (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    This paper discusses the sulfur biogeochemistry of oil sands composite tailings (CT). The Government of Alberta is accelerating reclamation activities on composite tailings. As a CT pilot reclamation operation, Syncrude is currently constructing the first freshwater fen. Minor unpredicted incidents with H2S gas released from the dewatering process associated with these reclamations have been reported. The objective of this study is to ascertain the connection between microbial activity and H2S generation within CT and to assess the sulfur biogeochemistry of untreated and treated (fen) CT over seasonal and annual timescales. The microbial geochemical interactions taking place are shown using a flow chart. CT is composed of gypsum, sand, clay and organics like naphthenic acids and bitumen. Sulfur and Fe cycling in mining systems and their microbial activities are presented. The chemistry and the processes involved within CT are also given along with the results. It can be said that the diverse Fe and S metabolizing microorganisms confirm the ecology involved in H2S dynamics.

  6. A Primer on Alberta’s Oil sands Royalties

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah Dobson

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Fulfilling its campaign promise, the new NDP government announced a review of Alberta’s royalty framework in June 2015. The province receives royalty revenue from three main sources – natural gas, crude oil, and oil sands. Since the 2009-10 fiscal year the largest contributor to Alberta’s royalty revenues has been the oil sands. If you want a sense of how important oil sands royalties have been for Alberta’s finances, consider this: In the 2014–15 fiscal year, the government collected just over $5 billion from oil sands royalties. These royalties covered over 10 per cent of the province’s operational expenses of $48.6 billion in the same fiscal year. Over the last six fiscal years the oil sands have contributed an average of 10 per cent of revenues to provincial coffers. This makes oil sands royalties the fourth largest contributor behind personal income taxes (23 per cent, federal transfers (13 per cent and corporate income taxes (11 per cent. But how many Albertans really understand how the royalty system works? What do we mean when we say “royalty”? How does the Alberta Government calculate royalties on oil sands producers? If the system is going to change, it’s important that Albertans understand how the current system works. That is what this paper is designed to do. For Albertans to properly judge the impact of new policy, they need a solid understanding of the current policy environment. We all know that oil prices have dropped and oil sands producers are losing profitability. As such, changes to the royalty system could have a deep and profound impact on the sector. Here are some of the issues this primer will study: • Pre-payout projects vs. post-payout projects, in other words, the classification of projects for royalty purposes based on whether the cumulative costs of a project exceed its cumulative revenues • Monthly payment of royalties vs. annual payment • Understanding the unit price of bitumen and how that

  7. Assessing the bioremediation potential of algal species indigenous to oil sands process-affected waters on mixtures of oil sands acid extractable organics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruffell, Sarah E; Frank, Richard A; Woodworth, Adam P; Bragg, Leslie M; Bauer, Anthony E; Deeth, Lorna E; Müller, Kirsten M; Farwell, Andrea J; Dixon, D George; Servos, Mark R; McConkey, Brendan J

    2016-11-01

    Surface mining extraction of bitumen from oil sand in Alberta, Canada results in the accumulation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). In attempts to maximize water recycling, and because its constituents are recognized as being toxic, OSPW is retained in settling basins. Consequently, research efforts are currently focused on developing remediation strategies capable of detoxifying OSPW to allow for eventual release. One potential bioremediation strategy proposes to utilize phytoplankton native to the Alberta oil sand region to sequester, break down, or modify the complex oil sands acid extractable organic (AEO) mixtures in OSPW. Preliminary attempts to quantify changes in total oil sands AEO concentration in test solutions by ESI-MS following a 14-day algal remediation period revealed the presence of unknown organic acids in control samples, likely released by the phytoplankton strains and often of the same atomic mass range as the oil sands AEO under investigation. To address the presence of these "biogenic" organic acids in test samples, ESI-MS in MRM mode was utilized to identify oil sands AEO "marker ions" that were a) present within the tested oil sands AEO extract and b) unique to the oil sands AEO extract only (e.g. atomic masses different from biogenic organic acids). Using this approach, one of the 21 tested algal strains, Stichococcus sp. 1, proved capable of significantly reducing the AEO marker ion concentration at test concentrations of 10, 30, and 100mgL(-1). This result, along with the accelerated growth rate and recalcitrance of this algal strain with exposure to oil sands AEO, suggests the strong potential for the use of the isolated Stichococcus sp. 1 as a candidate for bioremediation strategies. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. The use of stable isotopes to trace oil sands constituents

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Farwell, A.J.; Nero, V.; Dixon, D.G.

    2002-01-01

    A study was conducted to determine the biological effects of oil sands mining operations on aquatic ecosystems. The study focused on the Athabasca oil sand deposit, the largest of 4 deposits in northern Alberta. In particular, the study examined the cycling of oil sand constituents in Benthic invertebrates collected from test pits at Syncrude Canada Ltd.. The invertebrates were similar in size, but different in the quantity of process-affected water or mature fine tailings containing residual bitumen. Dragonflies and damselflies in particular, showed trends of depletion for the carbon 13 isotope and enrichment in nitrogen 15 isotope in pits where levels of process affected water was high. The depletion of carbon 13 isotope suggests that oil sand constituents assimilate into the benthic food chain. The greatest carbon 13 depletion, which was approximately 27 per cent, was found to be in test pits with high turbidity. This implies that oil sands constituents degrade microbially instead of by photosynthetic production. All benthic invertebrate group demonstrated an incremental enrichment in nitrogen 15 isotope from the control pit to the pit with greatest levels of mature fine tailings

  9. Response to Oil Sands Products Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-01

    Canada’s total proven reserves the third largest in the world, after Saudi Arabia’s conventional oil and Venezuela’s Orinoco oil sands. In 1967, the...largest in the world, after Saudi Arabia’s conventional oil and Venezuela’s Orinoco oil sands. (See Figure 2) Source: (National Academy of Science

  10. Differential effects of high atmospheric N and S deposition on bog plant/lichen tissue and porewater chemistry across the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    R. Kelman Wieder; Melanie A. Vile; Kimberli D. Scott; Cara M. Albright; Kelly J. McMillen; Dale H. Vitt; Mark E. Fenn

    2016-01-01

    Oil extraction and development activities in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of northern Alberta, Canada, release NOx, SOx, and NHy to the atmosphere, ultimately resulting in increasing N and S inputs to surrounding ecosystems through atmospheric deposition. Peatlands are a major feature of the northern Alberta landscape, with bogs covering 6-10% of the land area, and...

  11. Misplaced generosity: extraordinary profits in Alberta's oil and gas industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Boychuk, R.

    2010-11-01

    This document gives a picture extended over a decade of the revenues, investment levels and profits of the Alberta's oil and gas industry. It also investigates on the distribution of those revenues and profits that were accrued to the provincial government through royalties and land sales. This document, tries to fill the information gaps left by the current government's achievement as Albertans' oil and gas trustee, pointing out the ongoing lack of responsibility in this province's most important economic sector.

  12. Alberta's conventional oil supply: How much? How long?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heath, M.

    1992-01-01

    To assess the future conventional crude oil supply potential in Alberta, a modelling system was designed with the capacity to determine the fraction of existing and potential reserves which could prove technically, economically and/or commercially viable over time. The reference case analysis described assumed constant real oil prices and fiscal burdens, capital and operating costs. Reserve additions from new pool discoveries were summed with reserves from existing pools to arrive at an estimate of the potential supply of established reserves in each play area. The established reserves from all plays were then totalled to provide the provincial conventional oil resource potential. Alberta's recoverable conventional crude oil reserves were shown to be declining at about 2 percent per year. However, even with declining recoverable reserves and relatively low prices, the results of the study indicated that the conventional oil industry remained a major revenue generator for the province and would continue to be so over the next 15 to 20 years. Improved operating efficiencies, cost reductions, reasonable prices and cooperation between industry and government were shown to be necessary to assure the continued viability of Alberta's conventional oil industry. figs., tabs., 11 refs

  13. Microbial processes in the Athabasca Oil Sands and their potential applications in microbial enhanced oil recovery.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harner, N K; Richardson, T L; Thompson, K A; Best, R J; Best, A S; Trevors, J T

    2011-11-01

    The Athabasca Oil Sands are located within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, which covers over 140,200 km(2) of land in Alberta, Canada. The oil sands provide a unique environment for bacteria as a result of the stressors of low water availability and high hydrocarbon concentrations. Understanding the mechanisms bacteria use to tolerate these stresses may aid in our understanding of how hydrocarbon degradation has occurred over geological time, and how these processes and related tolerance mechanisms may be used in biotechnology applications such as microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). The majority of research has focused on microbiology processes in oil reservoirs and oilfields; as such there is a paucity of information specific to oil sands. By studying microbial processes in oil sands there is the potential to use microbes in MEOR applications. This article reviews the microbiology of the Athabasca Oil Sands and the mechanisms bacteria use to tolerate low water and high hydrocarbon availability in oil reservoirs and oilfields, and potential applications in MEOR.

  14. Mobil Oil Canada : Kearl Oil Sands Mine

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1997-01-01

    The upgrader design at Mobil's Kearl Oil Sands Mine were described. Included were feed characteristics, upgrader products, process schemes and their overall economics and upgrader technologies in use, including coking, deasphalting, hydrocracking, hydrotreating and visbreaking. Advantages and disadvantages of the upgrader technologies were highlighted. As far as the product is concerned, much of it is destined to U.S. refineries that are equipped to process the material. The Kearl Oil Sands Mine upgrading facility will likely use a combination of coker/hydrotreating, which is a well proven process for high value products that has been used in all five of Mobil's refineries in the U.S., and visbreaker/deasphalting, which has shown promise in bench-scale testing, but at present still has some potential commercial difficulties. Foremost among these are the high softening product of asphalt from visbroken products, questionable commercial feasibility of the low yield of pitch, and problems in the disposal of asphalt. Severe visbreaking also yields unstable products. Details of Mobil Canada's oil sands project were also summarized 2 tabs., 9 figs

  15. Contrasting carbon isotope fingerprints of migrating and solution gas in heavy oil fields of northeastern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rowe, D.; Muehlenbachs, K. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Geology; Greenwood, G. [Chemex Labs. (Alberta) Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); Jensen, E. [Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    1997-09-01

    A study was conducted to determine the feasibility of using {delta}C{sup 1}3 isotopes for fingerprinting gases in Alberta and Saskatchewan to facilitate remediation. Thousands of wells have been drilled in this region to develop heavy oil reservoirs in the Lower Cretaceous Mannville sands. The solution gases in the heavy oil consist of biogenic methane with trace C{sub 2+} components. The gases from the Cretaceous shales have {delta}C{sup 1}3 values indicative of thermogenesis. The study showed that most of the gases migrating in and near the wells show the isotopic signal of the shallower Upper Cretaceous shales and not the Mannville sands in which the wells were completed.

  16. Environmental consequences of oil production from oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosa, Lorenzo; Davis, Kyle F.; Rulli, Maria C.; D'Odorico, Paolo

    2017-02-01

    Crude oil from oil sands will constitute a substantial share of future global oil demand. Oil sands deposits account for a third of globally proven oil reserves, underlie large natural forested areas, and have extraction methods requiring large volumes of freshwater. Yet little work has been done to quantify some of the main environmental impacts of oil sands operations. Here we examine forest loss and water use for the world's major oil sands deposits. We calculate actual and potential rates of water use and forest loss both in Canadian deposits, where oil sands extraction is already taking place, and in other major deposits worldwide. We estimated that their exploitation, given projected production trends, could result in 1.31 km3 yr-1 of freshwater demand and 8700 km2 of forest loss. The expected escalation in oil sands extraction thus portends extensive environmental impacts.

  17. Oil sands geologists in an industry-school partnership : a resource and teaching opportunity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dudley, J.S.; Doram, T.

    1999-01-01

    The province of Alberta has developed a credit course within their Career and Technology Studies Program on the earth science of oil sands for senior high school science students. The course helps students learn to apply basic sciences to earth science through workplace site visits, resource material and team work. This paper described the increasing demand for, and success of, industry-high school partnerships, and provided special emphasis on the Bowness Senior High School-Imperial Oil partnership in Calgary, Alberta. Imperial Oil Resources is a major producer of oil sands and an employer of earth scientists in a variety of careers in which a wide range of technologies is applied. Students enrolled in the credit study program visit the Imperial Oil Resources Research Centre on five different occasions to gain skills and qualities sought by the workplace including communication, adaptability, team work, and science literacy and its application. 9 refs., 1 tab., 2 figs

  18. Achieving emissions reduction through oil sands cogeneration in Alberta’s deregulated electricity market

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ouellette, A.; Rowe, A.; Sopinka, A.; Wild, P.

    2014-01-01

    The province of Alberta faces the challenge of balancing its commitment to reduce CO 2 emissions and the growth of its energy-intensive oil sands industry. Currently, these operations rely on the Alberta electricity system and on-site generation to satisfy their steam and electricity requirements. Most of the on-site generation units produce steam and electricity through the process of cogeneration. It is unclear to what extent new and existing operations will continue to develop cogeneration units or rely on electricity from the Alberta grid to meet their energy requirements in the near future. This study explores the potential for reductions in fuel usage and CO 2 emissions by increasing the penetration of oil sands cogeneration in the provincial generation mixture. EnergyPLAN is used to perform scenario analyses on Alberta’s electricity system in 2030 with a focus on transmission conditions to the oil sands region. The results show that up to 15–24% of CO 2 reductions prescribed by the 2008 Alberta Climate Strategy are possible. Furthermore, the policy implications of these scenarios within a deregulated market are discussed. - Highlights: • High levels of cogeneration in the oil sands significantly reduce the total fuel usage and CO 2 emissions for the province. • Beyond a certain threshold, the emissions reduction intensity per MW of cogeneration installed is reduced. • The cost difference between scenarios is not significant. • Policy which gives an advantage to a particular technology goes against the ideology of a deregulated market. • Alberta will need significant improvements to its transmission system in order for oil sands cogeneration to persist

  19. Upgrading oil sands bitumen with FLUID COKING and FLEXICOKING technologies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kamienski, P.; Phillips, G. [ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co., Fairfax, VA (United States); McKnight, C.; Rumball, B. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    This presentation described EMRE's Fluid Coking and Flexicoking technologies that are well suited for upgrading Alberta's heavy crudes and oil sands bitumen into pipelineable crudes or synthetic crudes, which can be further processed into transportation fuels. The Fluid Coking technology uses a fluidized bed reactor that thermally converts the heavy oils into light gases, liquids and coke. The metals and much of the sulphur are concentrated in the coke. Combustion of the coke provides process heat and the remaining coke is sold or stored on site for later recovery. Syncrude Canada currently operates 3 Fluid Coking units in northern Alberta. Flexicoking extends fluid coking by integrating air gasification to produce a carbon monoxide/hydrogen rich fuel gas that helps meet fuel and energy requirements of bitumen recovery and upgrading. The yields of light gas and liquids are similar to those of the Fluid Coking process. The partial combustion of coke provides the process heat for the thermal conversion and gasification steps. The remaining coke is gasified and desulphurized using Flexsorb technology. At present, there are 5 Flexicoking units in operation around the world. Interest in the technology is growing, particularly in locations with large demand for clean fuel or electricity. It is also suitable for steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations in Alberta. This presentation outlined the operating principles of the Flexicoking integrated gasification system and compared it with more expensive oxygen gasification processes. tabs., figs.

  20. Fuel options for oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wise, T.

    2005-01-01

    This presentation examined fuel options in relation to oil sands production. Options include steam and hydrogen (H 2 ) for upgrading; natural gas by pipeline; bitumen; petroleum coke; and coal. Various cost drivers were also considered for each of the fuel options. It was noted that natural gas has high energy value but the capital cost is low, and that coke's energy value is very low but the capital cost is high. A chart forecasting energy prices was presented. The disposition of Western Canada's northern gas situation was presented. Issues concerning rail transportation for coal were considered. Environmental concerns were also examined. A chart of typical gas requirements for 75,000 B/D oil sands projects was presented. Issues concerning steam generation with gas and mining cogeneration with gas fuel and steam turbines were discussed, as well as cogeneration and H 2 with gas fuels and steam turbines. Various technology and fuel utility options were examined, along with details of equipment and processes. Boiler technologies were reviewed by type as well as fuel and steam quality and pressure. Charts of cogeneration with gas turbine and circulation fluid bed boilers were presented. Gasification processes were reviewed and a supply cost basis was examined. Cost drivers were ranked according to energy, operating considerations and capital investment. Results indicated that fuel costs were significant for gas and coal. Capital costs and capital recovery charge was most significant with coal and gasification technology. Without capital recovery, cash costs favour the use of bitumen and coke. Gasification would need lower capital and lower capital recovery to compete with direct burning. It was concluded that direct burning of bitumen can compete with natural gas. With price volatility anticipated, dual fuel capability for bitumen and gas has merit. Petroleum coke can be produced or retrieved from stockpiles. Utility supply costs of direct burning of coke is

  1. Hydraulic characteristics of oil sands hydrotransport systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Coward, J. M. (Syncrude Canada Ltd., Research Centre, Edmonton, AB (Canada)); McDonnell, B. (Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada))

    1999-01-01

    Operating characteristics of a large-scale hydrotransport system which was installed at Syncrude in 1997 to transport oil sands to the processing plant about 4.5 km away is described. While in transit, the bitumen also undergoes conditioning. Some unique characteristics associated with the presence of bitumen have been observed . For example, headlosses in the horizontal pipeline were close to the water line for normal oil sands, but considerably higher for high grade oil sands. Pump head ratios and efficiency ratios were observed to be affected negatively by the presence of high grade oil sands. Slurry density had the same negative effect. The overall result of lower pump efficiencies and larger headloss with higher grade ore is a general degradation of system performance. The lesson to be learned from this observation is that when handling slurries with higher oil sand grades, it is essential to increase pumping capacity . 9 refs., 8 figs.

  2. Hydraulic characteristics of oil sands hydrotransport systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Coward, J. M. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Research Centre, Edmonton, AB (Canada); McDonnell, B. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    1999-10-01

    Operating characteristics of a large-scale hydrotransport system which was installed at Syncrude in 1997 to transport oil sands to the processing plant about 4.5 km away is described. While in transit, the bitumen also undergoes conditioning. Some unique characteristics associated with the presence of bitumen have been observed . For example, headlosses in the horizontal pipeline were close to the water line for normal oil sands, but considerably higher for high grade oil sands. Pump head ratios and efficiency ratios were observed to be affected negatively by the presence of high grade oil sands. Slurry density had the same negative effect. The overall result of lower pump efficiencies and larger headloss with higher grade ore is a general degradation of system performance. The lesson to be learned from this observation is that when handling slurries with higher oil sand grades, it is essential to increase pumping capacity . 9 refs., 8 figs.

  3. Proceedings of the 5. annual oil sands and heavy oil technologies conference 2011: every drop counts

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2011-07-01

    The oil sands and heavy oil technologies conference and exhibition was held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, from June 19th to June 21st, 2011. This conference, entitled Every Drop Counts and organized by Pennwell, gathered experts to discuss technologies for the production, processing and environmental remediation of heavy oil. The conference was attended by key players of the heavy oil industry, such as oil and gas operators, field supervisors, project managers, engineers and power plant designers, and provided them with the opportunity to learn about some of the latest technologies, hear about innovations which improve the environmental performance of petroleum operations and network with their peers and share their expertise. All 52 papers presented during this conference have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database.

  4. Review of four major environmental effects monitoring programs in the oil sands region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lott, E.O.; Jones, R.K.

    2010-10-01

    The lack of knowledge on current environmental effects monitoring programs for the mineable oil sands region generates a low public confidence in environment health monitoring and reporting programs for the oil sands operations. In 2010, the Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN) supervised a study reviewing the major environmental effects monitoring programs that are underway in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Four main environmental effects monitoring and reporting organizations existing in the oil sands area were engaged to describe their programs through this study: Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI), Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA), Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP), Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA). These different organizations have specific roles in providing information, data and understanding of ecosystem effects. A one page visual summary of environmental effects monitoring in the oil sands area resulted from the information received from these organizations and detailed fact sheets were presented for each one of the programs. The report of this study also presents seven other environmental monitoring initiatives or organizations such as Alberta Environment and Environment Canada environmental effects monitoring program. The main observation that emerged from the review was the lack of detailed understanding shown by the stakeholders regarding the monitoring activities performed in the oil sands area. There is a lack of communication of the different programs that are conducted in the region. The study also pointed out that no efforts were put in cross-linking the various programs to be assured that every concerns related to environmental effects associated with oil sands operations were addressed. A better understanding of environmental effects and an improvement in public confidence in the data and its interpretation would probably be observed with the establishment of a

  5. Supercritical solvent extraction of oil sand bitumen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Imanbayev, Ye. I.; Ongarbayev, Ye. K.; Tileuberdi, Ye.; Mansurov, Z. A.; Golovko, A. K.; Rudyk, S.

    2017-08-01

    The supercritical solvent extraction of bitumen from oil sand studied with organic solvents. The experiments were performed in autoclave reactor at temperature above 255 °C and pressure 29 atm with stirring for 6 h. The reaction resulted in the formation of coke products with mineral part of oil sands. The remaining products separated into SARA fractions. The properties of the obtained products were studied. The supercritical solvent extraction significantly upgraded extracted natural bitumen.

  6. Ecotoxicological impacts of effluents generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and oil sands lixiviation on Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Debenest, T., E-mail: tdebenest@yahoo.fr [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada); Turcotte, P. [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada); Gagne, F., E-mail: francois.gagne@ec.gc.ca [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada); Gagnon, C.; Blaise, C. [Environment Canada, Fluvial Ecosystem Research, 105 McGill Street, 7 floor, Montreal, Quebec, H2Y 2E7 (Canada)

    2012-05-15

    The exploitation of Athabasca oil sands deposits in northern Alberta has known an intense development in recent years. This development has raised concern about the ecotoxicological risk of such industrial activities adjacent to the Athabasca River. Indeed, bitumen extraction generated large amounts of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) which are discharged in tailing ponds in the Athabasca River watershed. This study sought to evaluate and compare the toxicity of OSPW and oil sands lixiviate water (OSLW) with a baseline (oil sands exposed to water; OSW) on a microalgae, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, at different concentrations (1.9, 5.5, 12.25, 25 and 37.5%, v/v). Chemical analyses of water-soluble contaminants showed that OSPW and OSLW were enriched in different elements such as vanadium (enrichment factor, EF = 66 and 12, respectively), aluminum (EF = 64 and 15, respectively), iron (EF = 52.5 and 17.1, respectively) and chromium (39 and 10, respectively). The toxicity of OSPW on cells with optimal intracellular esterase activity and chlorophyll autofluorescence (viable cells) (72 h-IC 50% < 1.9%) was 20 times higher than the one of OSW (72 h-IC 50% > 37.5%, v/v). OSLW was 4.4 times less toxic (IC 50% = 8.5%, v/v) than OSPW and 4.5 times more toxic than OSW. The inhibition of viable cell growth was significantly and highly correlated (<-0.7) with the increase of arsenic, beryllium, chromium, copper, lead, molybdenum and vanadium concentrations. The specific photosynthetic responses studied with JIP-test (rapid and polyphasic chlorophyll a fluorescence emission) showed a stimulation of the different functional parameters (efficiency of PSII to absorb energy from photons, size of effective PSII antenna and vitality of photosynthetic apparatus for energy conversion) in cultures exposed to OSPW and OSLW. To our knowledge, our study highlights the first evidence of physiological effects of OSPW and OSLW on microalgae.

  7. Dante in Alberta: chronicle of an oil addicted civilization; Dante en Alberta: chroniques d'une civilisation droguee au petrole

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Akram, Belkaid

    2010-07-01

    According to the author, Alberta, an heavenly province of Western Canada, is the theater of the biggest ecological crime of the moment in the form of oil exploitation. Alberta gathers all the aberrations and dramas that have been seen before in other oil producing countries, in particular in Africa, Middle-East and Asia: corruption, defiance of minority rights, terror threats, environment destruction etc

  8. Heavy mineral potential of Athabasca oil sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Coward, J.; Oxenford, J. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    1997-11-01

    There are three large scale production operations in the Athabasca oil sands: (1) Syncrude, a surface mining plant that has been operating since 1978 at a current synthetic oil production rate of over 205,000 barrels per day, (2) the Suncor operation, also a surface mining plant, in operation since 1967 and producing about 80,000 barrels per day of synthetic oil and (3) Esso`s Cold Lake operation, an in-situ operation that extracts the oil from the deposits in the ground and produces about 95,000 barrels per day of bitumen. The presence of heavy metals in the Athabasca oil sands was discussed, emphasizing current trends in the heavy mineral industry and various conditions and options for the development of this resource. The typical heavy minerals include magnetite, ilmenite, leucoxene, rutile, zircon, monazite, sillimanite, kyanite, and garnet. Several potentially attractive investment options exist to develop this byproduct of oil sands mining. The potential impact on the heavy mineral industry that may result from the development of heavy minerals from oil sands was also explored. 23 refs., 10 tabs., 5 figs.

  9. Investing for the future : Athabasca Oil Sands Trust 1998 annual report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1999-01-01

    The Athabasca Oil Sand Trust was created in 1995 when a subsidiary of the Trust, Athabasca Oil Sands Investment Inc., acquired Alberta's 11.74 per cent working interest in the Syncrude Project, which is a joint venture involved in the mining and upgrading of bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands. The Trust is a closed-end investment trust which was created to provide an opportunity for direct public investment in Syncrude and oil sands development in northern Alberta. Syncrude, produced a record 76.7 million barrels of Syncrude Sweet Blend (SSB), and shipped its one billionth barrel on April 16, 1998. Another key achievement in 1998 was the investment the Syncrude Joint Venture Partners of almost half a billion dollars to maintain Syncrude's operations and pursue the Business Plan growth targets outlined in last year's report. By aggressively pursuing this capital investment program despite the current low oil prices, the Syncrude Joint Venture Partners expect to double SSB production to 155 million barrels per year by 2007. The Athabasca Trust's share of these capital expenditures to fuel the projected growth in production is about $ 70 million this year and the next. The report provides operating statistics on production, financial highlights and consolidated balance sheets for 1998, including operating expenditures, capital expenditures, and the usual notes to the consolidated financial statement. 10 tabs., 2 figs

  10. The importance of atmospheric base cation deposition for preventing soil acidification in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shaun A. Watmough; Colin J. Whitfield; Mark E. Fenn

    2014-01-01

    Industrial activities in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada have resulted in greatly elevated emissions of SO2 and N (NOx and NH3) and there are concerns over possible widespread ecosystem acidification. Acid sensitive soils in the region are common and have very low base cation weathering rates...

  11. Vanadium Geochemistry of Oil Sands Fluid Petroleum Coke.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nesbitt, Jake A; Lindsay, Matthew B J

    2017-03-07

    Vanadium has previously been linked to elevated toxicity of leachates derived from oil sands petroleum coke. However, geochemical controls on V mobility within coke deposits remain poorly constrained. Detailed examinations of porewater and solid-phase V geochemistry were therefore performed on oil sands fluid petroleum coke deposits in Alberta, Canada. Sample collection focused on both active and reclaimed deposits, which contained more than 3 × 10 7 m 3 of fluid petroleum coke. Dissolved V concentrations were highest (up to 3.0 mg L -1 ) immediately below the water table but decreased rapidly with increasing depth. This trend corresponded to a transition from mildly acidic (pH 6-7) and oxic conditions to mildly alkaline (pH 7-8.5) and anoxic conditions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), and micro-X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) mapping revealed coke particles exhibited an internal structure characterized by successive concentric layers. The outer margins of these layers were characterized by elevated V, Fe, Si, and Al concentrations, indicating the presence of inorganic phases. Micro-X-ray absorption near-edge structure (μXANES) spectroscopy revealed that V speciation was dominated by V(IV) porphyrins except at outer margins of layers, where octahedrally coordinated V(III) was a major component. Minor to trace V(V) was also detected within fluid petroleum coke particles.

  12. Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rooney, Rebecca C; Bayley, Suzanne E; Schindler, David W

    2012-03-27

    We quantified the wholesale transformation of the boreal landscape by open-pit oil sands mining in Alberta, Canada to evaluate its effect on carbon storage and sequestration. Contrary to claims made in the media, peatland destroyed by open-pit mining will not be restored. Current plans dictate its replacement with upland forest and tailings storage lakes, amounting to the destruction of over 29,500 ha of peatland habitat. Landscape changes caused by currently approved mines will release between 11.4 and 47.3 million metric tons of stored carbon and will reduce carbon sequestration potential by 5,734-7,241 metric tons C/y. These losses have not previously been quantified, and should be included with the already high estimates of carbon emissions from oil sands mining and bitumen upgrading. A fair evaluation of the costs and benefits of oil sands mining requires a rigorous assessment of impacts on natural capital and ecosystem services.

  13. Plucking the Golden Goose: Higher Royalty Rates on the Oil Sands Generate Significant Increases in Government Revenue

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kenneth J. McKenzie

    2011-09-01

    Full Text Available The Alberta government’s 2009 New Royalty Framework elicited resistance on the part of the energy industry, leading to subsequent reductions in the royalties imposed on natural gas and conventional oil. However, the oil sands sector, subject to different terms, quickly accepted the new arrangement with little complaint, recognizing it as win-win situation for industry and the government. Under the framework, Alberta recoups much more money in royalties — about $1 billion over the two year period of 2009 and 2010 — without impinging significantly on investment in the oil sands. This brief paper demonstrates that by spreading the financial risks and benefits to everyone involved, the new framework proves it’s possible to generate increased revenue without frightening off future investment. The same model could conceivably be applied to the conventional oil and natural gas sectors.

  14. Forensic source differentiation of petrogenic, pyrogenic, and biogenic hydrocarbons in Canadian oil sands environmental samples.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhendi; Yang, C; Parrott, J L; Frank, R A; Yang, Z; Brown, C E; Hollebone, B P; Landriault, M; Fieldhouse, B; Liu, Y; Zhang, G; Hewitt, L M

    2014-04-30

    To facilitate monitoring efforts, a forensic chemical fingerprinting methodology has been applied to characterize and differentiate pyrogenic (combustion derived) and biogenic (organism derived) hydrocarbons from petrogenic (petroleum derived) hydrocarbons in environmental samples from the Canadian oil sands region. Between 2009 and 2012, hundreds of oil sands environmental samples including water (snowmelt water, river water, and tailings pond water) and sediments (from river beds and tailings ponds) have been analyzed. These samples were taken from sites where assessments of wild fish health, invertebrate communities, toxicology and detailed chemistry are being conducted as part of the Canada-Alberta Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Plan (JOSMP). This study describes the distribution patterns and potential sources of PAHs from these integrated JOSMP study sites, and findings will be linked to responses in laboratory bioassays and in wild organisms collected from these same sites. It was determined that hydrocarbons in Athabasca River sediments and waters were most likely from four sources: (1) petrogenic heavy oil sands bitumen; (2) biogenic compounds; (3) petrogenic hydrocarbons of other lighter fuel oils; and (4) pyrogenic PAHs. PAHs and biomarkers detected in snowmelt water samples collected near mining operations imply that these materials are derived from oil sands particulates (from open pit mines, stacks and coke piles). Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Transformation of heavy gas oils derived from oil sands to petrochemical feedstock

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Du Plessis, D.; Laureshen, C. [Alberta Energy Research Inst., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2006-07-01

    Alberta's petrochemical industry is primarily based on ethane. However, ethane could potentially impede future growth of Alberta's petrochemical industry because of increasing cost and diminishing supplies. Alternately, the rapidly growing oil sands production could provide abundant new feedstocks. Different integration schemes and technologies were evaluated in this study. Research on converting bitumen-derived heavy gas oil into petrochemical feedstock has resulted in the development of two novel technologies and process integration schemes, notably the NOVA heavy oil laboratory catalyst (NHC) process and the aromatic ring cleavage (ARORINCLE) process. This paper described progress to date on these two projects. The paper presented the experimental results for each scheme. For the ARORINCLE process, results were discussed in terms of the effect of process parameters on the hydrogenation step; effect of process parameters on the ring cleavage step; and integrating the upgrading and petrochemical complex. Early laboratory stage results of these two technologies were found to be encouraging. The authors recommended that work should progress to larger scale demonstration of the NHC and ARORINCLE technologies., 13 refs., 2 tabs., 5 figs.

  16. Pond 1 : closure of the first oil sands tailings pond

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Anderson, H.B.; Wells, P.S.; Cox, L. [Suncor Energy Inc., Fort McMurray, AB, (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper described the evolution of reclamation goals and practices that followed the 40-year operating life and closure of an oil sands tailings pond in northeastern Alberta. Pond 1 and the associated containment dyke were first developed without any reclamation goals. The first reclamation practices evolved from a need to prevent erosion to the containment dyke. Reclamation practices developed from research and operational trials seeking to meet increasingly sophisticated reclamation goals, including species selection, propagation techniques, and pest control. The goal became to reclaim developed lands to viable ecosystems compatible with pre-development, changing the focus to the infilling and reclamation of the pond interior. To reduce the reclamation time frame, the Mature Fine Tailings were removed for treatment and replaced with sand beaches to create a trafficable surface and minimize environmental impacts. For reclaiming the pond surface, the landform design objectives were to create a geotechnically stable landscape, reduce the infiltration of precipitation into the beach, create a revegetated landscape to support wildlife and traditional land uses, and create a small wetland without affecting geotechnical stability. The reclamation soil cover design, wildlife enhancement features, wetland design, and revegetation prescriptions were described. In contrast to when the pond began operation, the pond closure was undertaken in a highly regulated environment with a substantial foundation of reclamation knowledge and clearly defined reclamation and end land-use goals. The pond was infilled in 2009, and surface landforming and revegetation were scheduled for completion by the fall 2010. 2 refs., 1 tab., 1 fig.

  17. Collaborative production management for oil sands operations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nelson, Andrew [Matrikon (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    This paper gives an overview of the collaborative production management of oil sands operations. Some characteristics of oil sands operations include oil treatment, hydro treating, diluent addition, logistics, and environmental impact assessments. Some of the business challenges include regulatory uncertainty, a fluid workforce and a technology still in the process of being developed. Improvement is only possible when process is assessed and measured; hence, production data management is very important. Production data measurements encompass such areas as planning, documentation and transactions. Regulatory data reporting is represented using a flow chart. The concepts of business application architecture and functional reference modeling are also explained. Benchmarking plays a vital role, some aspects of which would be technology, automation and integration. Certain advantages of timely assessment are increased production, equity, and goodwill as well as reduction in costs, risk, and capital requirements. The relevance and importance of collaboration, awareness of web technology and aggregate information are also explained. From the study, it can be concluded that the key to overall improvement in the oil sands industry will be improved production management.

  18. Review of Alberta Crown Crude Oil Marketing Program

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crandall, G. R.; Kromm, R. B.

    1999-01-01

    This report contains an independent evaluation of the operations of the private marketing agents that are currently marketing the Alberta Crown's share of royalty crude oil. The evaluation includes a review of pricing performance, working relationship, current issues and the overall performance of the marketing arrangements during the fiscal years of 1997 and 1998. Overall, the outsourcing of sales of Crown production to agents is judged to be successful. For example, it has been noted that agents are becoming more aggressive in maintaining and increasing their margins. On the other hand, the increased level of aggressiveness in marketing, while tending to maximize Crown revenues, is also creating a potential conflict on how margins should be shared between the Crown and its agents. Also, there has been evidence of some management issues between the agents and the Crown concerning the extent to which the Crown should share in any increased value which the agent generates by increased third party marketing activities. These differences need to be addressed in order to maintain the strong performance of the marketing program. The consultants also recommend additional guidelines on risk management issues that more clearly define the Crown's risk tolerance. 2 tabs., 4 figs

  19. Tar sands showdown : Canada and the new politics of oil in an age of climate change

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clarke, T.

    2009-01-01

    This book outlined the social and environmental issues facing the oil sands industry in Canada, including economic sovereignty, energy security, water rights and free trade. The tar sands have become vital to the Canadian economy, as they have the potential to increase Canada's foreign oil output by 4 to 5 times in the next 15 years. The author discussed the ecological and social impact of the Alberta tar sands and the real cost of development to Albertans and Canadians. Tar sands oil production generates more than 3 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil production. The industry is also becoming a prime example of the abuse of water sources. The author emphasized the need to build an alternative energy future in an age of global warming. The main objective of this book was to help stimulate a nation-wide public debate about the tar sands and the critical issues at stake regarding Canada's energy future and an environmental strategy for more sustainable development. refs., tabs., figs.

  20. Did you know? Petroleum industry fast facts : Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1998-12-31

    A brief summary of Alberta`s petroleum industry is provided. In 1997, capital expenditures from the petroleum industry into Alberta`s economy were more than $13 billion. The province is the largest crude oil and natural gas producer in Canada, employing some 215,000 people across the province. Of these 165,00 are directly, or indirectly employed in upstream activities, and about 50,000 in downstream activities, including pipeline transportation. The industry utilizes an extensive pipeline network with nearly 260,000 kilometres of pipeline serving local, national and international markets. The Alberta oil sands have more than 300 billion barrels of potential recoverable deposits, comparable to the proven reserves in Saudi Arabia. Crude oil and natural gas make up nearly 56 per cent of Alberta`s exports. In 1997, the province supplied almost 12 per cent of the U.S. natural gas consumption. 3 figs.

  1. Oil sands to the rescue: oil sand microbial communities can degrade recalcitrant alkyl phenyl alkanoic acids

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Whitby, Corinne [University of Essex (Canada)], email: cwhitby@essex.ac.uk

    2011-07-01

    Almost half of all global oil reserves are found as biodegraded heavy oils found in vast tar sand deposits located in North and South America and these account for 47% of Canadian oil production. Oil sand extraction generates large amounts of toxic waste water, known as oil sand process waters (OSPW), that are stored in large tailing ponds that contain toxic compounds like naphthenic acids (NAs). The presence of NAs creates problems like toxicity, corrosion, and the formation of calcium napthenate deposits which block pipelines and other infrastructure and need to be removed. This paper presents oil sand microbial communities that can degrade these NAs. The approach is to apply new aliphatic and aromatic NAs as substrates to supplement and identify NA degrading microbes and also to identify the metabolites produced and explain NA degradation pathways and the functional genes involved. The chemistry and the processes involved are explained. From the results, it is suggested that pure cultures of P. putida KT2440 be used against NAs.

  2. Policy Analysis of the Canadian Oil Sands Experience

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    None, None

    2013-09-01

    For those who support U.S. oil sands development, the Canadian oil sands industry is often identified as a model the U.S. might emulate, yielding financial and energy security benefits. For opponents of domestic oil sands development, the Canadian oil sands experience illustrates the risks that opponents of development believe should deter domestic policymakers from incenting U.S. oil sands development. This report does not seek to evaluate the particular underpinnings of either side of this policy argument, but rather attempts to delve into the question of whether the Canadian experience has relevance as a foundational model for U.S. oil sands development. More specifically, this report seeks to assess whether and how the Canadian oil sands experience might be predictive or instructive in the context of fashioning a framework for a U.S. oil sands industry. In evaluating the implications of these underpinnings for a prospective U.S. oil sands industry, this report concentrates on prospective development of the oil sands deposits found in Utah.

  3. Geophysical mapping of the occurrence of shallow oil sands in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ISHIOMA

    bitumen, mineral matter which includes clay or sand and water. The bitumen also referred to as heavy oil constitutes an important energy resource that must be rigorously treated in order to convert it to an upgraded crude oil before it can be used in refineries to produce gasoline and other fuels. Thus oil sand is economically.

  4. Characterization of methane emissions from five cold heavy oil production with sands (CHOPS) facilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roscioli, J R; Herndon, S C; Yacovitch, T I; Knighton, W Berk; Zavala-Araiza, D; Johnson, M R; Tyner, D R

    2018-03-07

    Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sands (CHOPS) is a common oil extraction method in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan that can result in significant methane emissions due to annular venting. Little is known about the magnitude of these emissions, nor their contributions to the regional methane budget. Here we present the results of field measurements of methane emissions from CHOPS wells and compare them to self-reported venting rates. The tracer ratio method was used not only to analyze total site emissions but at one site it was also used to locate primary emission sources and quantify their contributions to the facility-wide emission rate, revealing the annular vent to be a dominant source. Emissions measured from five different CHOPS sites in Alberta showed large discrepancies between the measured and reported rates, with emissions being mainly under-reported. These methane emission rates are placed in the context of current reporting procedures and the role that gas-oil ratio (GOR) measurements play in vented volume estimates. In addition to methane, emissions of higher hydrocarbons were also measured; a chemical "fingerprint" associated with CHOPS wells in this region reveals very low emission ratios of ethane, propane, and aromatics versus methane. The results of this study may inform future studies of CHOPS site, and aid in developing policy to mitigate regional methane emissions. Implications Methane measurements from Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) sites identify annular venting to be a potentially major source of emissions at these facilities. The measured emission rates are generally larger than reported by operators, with uncertainty in the gas-oil ratio (GOR) possibly playing a large role in this discrepancy. These results have potential policy implications for reducing methane emissions in Alberta in order to achieve the Canadian Government's goal of reducing methane emissions by 40-45% below 2012 levels within 8 years.

  5. Biodegradation of naphthenic acids by microbial populations indigenous to oil sand tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Herman, D.C. (Calgary Univ., AB (United States)); Fedorak, P.M. (Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)); MacKinnon, M.D. (Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)); Costerton, J.W. (Montana State Univ., Bozeman, MT (United States))

    1994-01-01

    Organic acids, similar in structure to naphthenic acids, have been associated with the acute toxicity of tailings produced by the oil sands industry in northeastern Alberta. Bacterial cultures enriched from oil sands tailings were found to utilize as their sole carbon source both a commercial mixture of naphthenic acids and a mixture of organic acids extracted from oil sands tailings. Gas chromatographic analysis of both the commercial naphthenic acids and the extracted organic acids revealed an unresolved hump formed by the presence of many overlapping peaks. Microbial activity directed against the commercial mixture of naphthenic acids converted approximately 50% of organic carbon into CO[sub 2] and resulted in a reduction in many of the gas chromatographic peaks associated with this mixture. Acute toxicity testing utilizing the Microtox test revealed a complete absence of detectable toxicity following the biodegradation of the naphthenic acids. Microbial activity mineralized approximately 20% of the organic carbon present in the extracted organic acids mixture, although there was no indication of a reduction in any gas chromatographic peaks with biodegradation. Microbial attack on the organic acids mixture reduced acute toxicity to approximately one half of the original level. Respirometric measurements of microbial activity with microcosms containing oil sands tailings were used to provide further evidence that the indigenous microbial community could biodegrade naphthenic acids and components within the extracted organic acids mixture. 29 refs., 8 figs., 1 tab.

  6. New international developments in oil sands projects

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vercoe, J. [Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, London (United Kingdom)

    2008-09-15

    Governments and oil companies from a variety of different countries are now working to create alternative oil and gas operations and the policies required to enable their financial success. The Africa Energy Commission was developed to coordinate policy and act as a framework for the African energy sector. Several large oil and gas operators have become involved in the creation of new contracts to develop training and human resources policies for the petroleum industry in Congo. Issues related to national oil companies and value creation in African countries are currently being studied by the World Bank. A biofuel alliance was recently signed between Congo and Brazil, and a Congo Forest Fund has also been created to help the inhabitants of the Congolese rainforest protect their environment. Congo is also offering opportunities for international companies to implement greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction programs to trade emission credits when requirements are satisfied. It was concluded that several African countries are suitable candidates for oil sands development. 1 fig.

  7. Assessing accumulation and biliary excretion of naphthenic acids in yellow perch exposed to oil sands-affected waters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van den Heuvel, Michael R; Hogan, Natacha S; MacDonald, Gillian Z; Berrue, Fabrice; Young, Rozlyn F; Arens, Collin J; Kerr, Russell G; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2014-01-01

    Naphthenic acids are known to be the most prevalent group of organic compounds in oil sands tailings-associated waters. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were exposed for four months to oil sands-influenced waters in two experimental systems located on an oil sands lease 30 km north of Fort McMurray Alberta: the Demonstration Pond, containing oil sands tailings capped with natural surface water, and the South Bison Pond, integrating lean oil sands. Yellow perch were also sampled from three lakes: Mildred Lake that receives water from the Athabasca River, Sucker Lake, at the edge of oil sands extraction activity, and Kimowin Lake, a distant reference site. Naphthenic acids were measured in perch muscle tissue using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Bile metabolites were measured by GC-MS techniques and by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection at phenanthrene wavelengths. A method was developed using liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) to evaluate naphthenic acids in bile. Tissue analysis did not show a pattern of naphthenic acids accumulation in muscle tissue consistent with known concentrations in exposed waters. Bile fluorescence and LC-HRMS methods were capable of statistically distinguishing samples originating from oil sands-influenced waters versus reference lakes. Although the GC-MS and HPLC fluorescence methods were correlated, there were no significant correlations of these methods and the LC-HRMS method. In yellow perch, naphthenic acids from oil sands sources do not concentrate in tissue at a measurable amount and are excreted through a biliary route. LC-HRMS was shown to be a highly sensitive, selective and promising technique as an indicator of exposure of biota to oil sands-derived naphthenic acids. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Non-aqueous heavy oil extraction from oil sand

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bohnert, George [National Nuclear Security Administration (United States)

    2011-07-01

    The Kansas City plant operated by Honeywell has a long history of working with DOE NNSA on engineering and manufacturing services supporting national security requirements. The plant has developed a non-aqueous method for heavy oil extraction from oil sands. This method is environmentally friendly as it does not use any external body of water, which would normally be contaminated in the conventional method. It is a 2 phase process consisting of terpene, limonene or alpha pinene, and carbon dioxide. The CO2 and terpene phases are both closed loop systems which minimizes material loss. The limonene and alpha pinene are both naturally derived solvents that come from citrus sources or pine trees respectively. Carbon dioxide is an excellent co-solvent with terpene. There is also a possibility for heat loss recovery during the distillation phase. This process produces clean dry sand. Laboratory tests have concluded that this using non-aqueous liquids process works effectively.

  9. Dewatering Behaviour of Fine Oil Sands Tailings : An Experimental Study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Yao, Y.

    2016-01-01

    Oil sands tailings are a warm aqueous suspension of sand, silt, clay, residual bitumen and naphtha. The tailings are hydraulically transported and stored in tailing ponds where they segregate, with the sand settling from suspension forming beaches and the remaining tailings flowing to the middle of

  10. Landform design for a fen wetland on a tailings sand deposit in northern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    McKenna, G.T.; Papini, A.G.; Scordo, E.B. [BGC Engineering Inc., Vancouver, BC (Canada); Wytrykush, C. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed one of the first fens to be established in a post-mining area of the Athabasca oil sands region. The entire watershed is specifically designed to support a wetland, and it will be constructed on a soft tailings deposit. A fen is a peat-accumulating wetland with a water table that is at, or close to, the surface consisting of mineral-saturated water coming from either groundwater or surface water. In order to monitor and adjust the fen design for field conditions, a full hydrological site investigation was launched together with parallel research programs involving the creation of a conservative landform design with controls over surface water and groundwater seepage inputs. Controlling the salinity of fen waters from tailings consolidation and seepage over time is a critical component to fen design. There are a limited number of documented examples of large-scale constructed fen wetlands.

  11. Ecohydrology applications to ecosystem reconstruction after oil-sand mining

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendoza, Carl; Devito, Kevin

    2014-05-01

    Oil-sand deposits in northeast Alberta, Canada comprise some of the world's largest oil reserves. Open-pit mining of these resources leads to waste-rock piles, tailings ponds and open pits that must be reclaimed to "equivalent landscape capability", with viable forests and wetlands, using only native vegetation. Understanding ecohydrological processes in natural systems is critical for designing the necessary landforms and landscapes. A challenge is the cold, sub-humid climate, with highly variable precipitation. Furthermore, there are competing demands, needs or uses for water, in both quantity and quality, for reclamation and sustainability of forestlands, wetlands and end-pit lakes. On average there is a potential water deficit in the region, yet wetlands cover half of the undisturbed environment. Water budget analyses demonstrate that, although somewhat unpredictable and uncontrollable, the magnitude and timing of water delivery largely control water storage and conservation within the landscape. The opportunity is to design and manipulate these reconstructed landscapes so that water is stored and conserved, and water quality is naturally managed. Heterogeneous geologic materials can be arranged and layered, and landforms sculpted, to minimize runoff, enhance infiltration, and promote surface and subsurface storage. Similarly, discharge of poor quality water can be minimized or focused. And, appropriate vegetation choices are necessary to conserve water on the landscape. To achieve these ends, careful attention must be paid to the entire water budget, the variability in its components, interconnections between hydrologic units, in both space and time, and coupled vegetation processes. To date our knowledge is guided primarily by natural analogues. To move forward, it is apparent that numerous priorities and constraints, which are potentially competing, must be addressed. These include geotechnical and operational requirements, material limitations or excesses

  12. Changes in algal stable isotopes following nutrient and peat amendments in oil sands aquatic reclamation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Farwell, A.; Chen, H.; Boutsivongskad, M.; Dixon, D. [Waterloo Univ., ON (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The processing of oil sands in Alberta generates large volumes of processed material that must be reclaimed. Processed water and solids (PW/S) contain higher levels of naturally occurring compounds such as naphthenic acids (NAs) and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Organic carbon and nitrogen are some of the constituents in PW/S that may provide nutrient sources for aquatic reclamation sites as they develop into viable ecosystems. This study was conducted to assess the modifying factors that may affect the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of primary production in oil sands aquatic reclamation. Both field-based microcosm studies and laboratory studies were used to evaluate the changes in the growth and stable isotope values of phytoplankton, periphyton and/or filamentous algae along gradients of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), nitrogen and phosphorus. Various types of reclamation substrates were used in the study, including various combinations of sand, mature fine tailings, peat and process water. Results showed different levels of growth depending on both the water and substrate type. Typically, periphyton from oil sands reclamation sites were more enriched in 15N than the reference site. Periphyton from one site known as the MP site was more enriched in 13C than periphyton from another site know as the Shallow Wetland South Ditch (SWSD). However, periphyton in the demonstration pond (DP) was more 13C depleted than the reference site. Findings from this study indicate that carbon isotopes are influenced by other factors, such as nutrients.

  13. Changes in algal stable isotopes following nutrient and peat amendments in oil sands aquatic reclamation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Farwell, A.; Chen, H.; Boutsivongskad, M.; Dixon, D.

    2010-01-01

    The processing of oil sands in Alberta generates large volumes of processed material that must be reclaimed. Processed water and solids (PW/S) contain higher levels of naturally occurring compounds such as naphthenic acids (NAs) and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Organic carbon and nitrogen are some of the constituents in PW/S that may provide nutrient sources for aquatic reclamation sites as they develop into viable ecosystems. This study was conducted to assess the modifying factors that may affect the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of primary production in oil sands aquatic reclamation. Both field-based microcosm studies and laboratory studies were used to evaluate the changes in the growth and stable isotope values of phytoplankton, periphyton and/or filamentous algae along gradients of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), nitrogen and phosphorus. Various types of reclamation substrates were used in the study, including various combinations of sand, mature fine tailings, peat and process water. Results showed different levels of growth depending on both the water and substrate type. Typically, periphyton from oil sands reclamation sites were more enriched in 15N than the reference site. Periphyton from one site known as the MP site was more enriched in 13C than periphyton from another site know as the Shallow Wetland South Ditch (SWSD). However, periphyton in the demonstration pond (DP) was more 13C depleted than the reference site. Findings from this study indicate that carbon isotopes are influenced by other factors, such as nutrients.

  14. Geophysical mapping of the occurrence of shallow oil sands in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Oil sands are known to be an alternate source of energy and of great economic value. To map the occurrence of shallow oil sand deposits in Idiopopo, Okitipupa area in Ondo state southwestern Nigeria, vertical electric sounding (VES) in 11 stations along 3 profiles were carried out using the Schlumberger configuration.

  15. Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process to Oil Sands Environmental Compliance Risk Management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roux, Izak Johannes, III

    Oil companies in Alberta, Canada, invested $32 billion on new oil sands projects in 2013. Despite the size of this investment, there is a demonstrable deficiency in the uniformity and understanding of environmental legislation requirements that manifest into increased project compliance risks. This descriptive study developed 2 prioritized lists of environmental regulatory compliance risks and mitigation strategies and used multi-criteria decision theory for its theoretical framework. Information from compiled lists of environmental compliance risks and mitigation strategies was used to generate a specialized pairwise survey, which was piloted by 5 subject matter experts (SMEs). The survey was validated by a sample of 16 SMEs, after which the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to rank a total of 33 compliance risks and 12 mitigation strategy criteria. A key finding was that the AHP is a suitable tool for ranking of compliance risks and mitigation strategies. Several working hypotheses were also tested regarding how SMEs prioritized 1 compliance risk or mitigation strategy compared to another. The AHP showed that regulatory compliance, company reputation, environmental compliance, and economics ranked the highest and that a multi criteria mitigation strategy for environmental compliance ranked the highest. The study results will inform Alberta oil sands industry leaders about the ranking and utility of specific compliance risks and mitigations strategies, enabling them to focus on actions that will generate legislative and public trust. Oil sands leaders implementing a risk management program using the risks and mitigation strategies identified in this study will contribute to environmental conservation, economic growth, and positive social change.

  16. The state of oil sands wetland reclamation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Foote, L. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The state of oil sand and wetlands reclamation was the subject of this presentation. Wildlife habitat and response, plant community and production, and microbial biology were examples of research areas surrounding this body of knowledge. Hydrological research and landscape ecology were discussed along with peatlands and marshes such as the Corvette and the Kia. A few examples of what has been learned in the area of wetlands reclamation was presented. Other topics were also discussed, such as timeframes, pragmatic policy approaches, reclamation costs, research needs and some ideas on maturing the field. It was concluded that environmental conditions change with time and area because of time, chemistry, physics, stoichiometry, as well as biotic mediation and facilitation. figs.

  17. Effects of oil sands sediments on fish

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Parrott, J.; Colavecchia, M.; Hewitt, L.; Sherry, J.; Headley, J.; Turcotte, D.; Liber, K.

    2010-01-01

    This paper described a collaborative project organized by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Panel of Energy Research and Development (PERD) with researchers from Environment Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. The 4-year study was conducted to assess the toxicity of oil sands sediments and river waters, and reclamation ponds and sediments on laboratory-raised fish. Three sediments from rivers were evaluated for their potential to cause adverse impacts on fathead minnow eggs and larvae for a period of 18 days. The study monitored hatching, larval survival, development, and growth. Naphthenic acids (NA), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals were measured in the sediments to determine if the compounds can be correlated with observed toxicity. The study will also assess walleye eggs exposed to sediments, and in situ fish exposures. Toxicity identification and evaluation (TIE) studies will be conducted to isolate the fractions that may affect fish development and growth.

  18. Oil sands naphthenic acids: a review of properties, measurement, and treatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Lisa D; Ulrich, Ania C

    2015-05-01

    The Alberta oil sands contain one of the world's largest reserves of oil - over 169 billion barrels of bitumen are economically recoverable with current extraction technologies. Surface mining and subsequent hot water extraction of bitumen from the ore generates about nine cubic meters of raw tailings per cubic meter of oil. Oil sands facilities are required to operate under a policy of zero water discharge, resulting in ponds containing more than one billion cubic meters of tailings, a mixture of sand, fines and process-affected water. Process-affected water contains numerous organic compounds, including naphthenic acids (NAs), which have been identified as the primary source of acute toxicity of process-affected water. Developments in analytical techniques, aerobic biodegradability, and treatment via chemical oxidation (ozone) of NAs are reviewed. The field continues to be challenged by the lack of a cost-effective, accurate analytical technique for NAs or an understanding of all the organic constituents in process-affected water that may be contributing to observed toxicity and thus requiring treatment. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Co-occurrence of methanogenesis and N{sub 2} fixation in oil sands tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Collins, C.E. Victoria [Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G7 (Canada); Foght, Julia M. [Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9 (Canada); Siddique, Tariq, E-mail: tariq.siddique@ualberta.ca [Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G7 (Canada)

    2016-09-15

    Oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada have been producing biogenic gases via microbial metabolism of hydrocarbons for decades. Persistent methanogenic activity in tailings ponds without any known replenishment of nutrients such as fixed nitrogen (N) persuaded us to investigate whether N{sub 2} fixation or polyacrylamide (PAM; used as a tailings flocculant) could serve as N sources. Cultures comprising mature fine tailings (MFT) plus methanogenic medium supplemented with or deficient in fixed N were incubated under an N{sub 2} headspace. Some cultures were further amended with citrate, which is used in oil sands processing, as a relevant carbon source, and/or with PAM. After an initial delay, N-deficient cultures with or without PAM produced methane (CH{sub 4}) at the same rate as N-containing cultures, indicating a mechanism of overcoming apparent N-deficiency. Acetylene reduction and {sup 15}N{sub 2} incorporation in all N-deficient cultures (with or without PAM) suggested active N{sub 2} fixation concurrently with methanogenesis but inability to use PAM as a N source. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing revealed little difference between archaeal populations regardless of N content. However, bacterial sequences in N-deficient cultures showed enrichment of Hyphomicrobiaceae and Clostridium members that might contain N{sub 2}-fixing species. The results are important in understanding long-term production of biogenic greenhouse gases in oil sands tailings. - Highlights: • Methanogenesis in oil sands tailings can occur under nitrogen depleted conditions. • {sup 15}N{sub 2} isotopic analysis reveals that indigenous microbes can fix N{sub 2} for microbial metabolism and methanogenesis. • 16S rRNA gene analysis suggests that members of Hyphomicrobiaceae and Clostridium may be involved in N{sub 2} fixation. • This is the first report that describes co-occurrence of methanogenesis and nitrogen fixation in oil sands tailings.

  20. Giving away the Alberta advantage - are Albertans receiving maximum revenues from their oil and gas?: executive summary

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Laxer, G.

    1999-01-01

    The aim of the report was to see if Albertans are receiving maximum value from oil and gas revenues generated in their province. The study compared energy royalties collected on oil and gas production in Norway, Alaska and Alberta and found that both Norway and Alaska have realized greater turns (royalties and taxes) for every barrel of oil and gas produced than Alberta. The study examines Alberta with other international benchmarks such as Norway and Alaska, the collection performance of the current Alberta government compare with previous administrations, the indications for Alberta's future collection performance, the financial impact of Alberta's current provincial policies on the collection of oil and gas revenues and the policy implications for the fiscal management and accountability of government. Alberta's oil and gas legacy contributes significantly to employment, industry profits and government royalty and tax revenues, with government revenues from oil and gas royalties amounted to $3.78 billion or 21% of total government revenue in 1997-1998

  1. Institutionalizing environmental due diligence as part of the organization's culture: The Suncor Oil Sands Group experience

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allen, R.; Klym, D.

    1992-01-01

    The Suncor Oil Sands Group produces ca 22 million bbl/y of synthetic crude oil from oil sands in northern Alberta. Initiatives taken by the Group to install environmental due diligence as an integral part of Suncor culture are reviewed. Environmental due diligence means taking all reasonable care to safeguard the environment. To practice environmental due diligence, the organization and its members must have an environmental consciousness that can be observed, measured, and monitored through daily practices. In the period from startup of the oil sands plant in 1967 to the mid-1970s, Suncor culture could be described as research oriented, oriented toward examination of the viability of extracting oil from the oil sands and the development of new extraction processes. Management then moved toward a more production-based culture, in which environmental issues were sometimes perceived to be in conflict with production goals. External factors toward the end of the 1980s created a culture shift to an integration of production culture with social entities including environmental consciousness. A corporate push toward a new environmental culture was first concretized when the management's Health and Safety Policy was changed in 1990 to the Health, Safety and Environment Policy. A new Environmental Diligence Program was implemented in three phases, including planning, development of a comprehensive environmental management system, and implementation. Installation of the Program in the first phase is described, focusing on employee and management training, and results of the installation process are presented. Modifications of Suncor's loss control management program to integrate with the environmental diligence program are also noted. 2 refs

  2. Reclamation design for a fen wetland on a tailings sand deposit in northern Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wytrykush, C. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada); McKenna, G.T.; Papini, A.G.; Scordo, E.B. [BGC Engineering Inc., Vancouver, BC (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed the first attempt at designing and constructing a fen wetland and surrounding watershed on a soft tailings deposit in the Athabasca oil sands region. Among the main design components were upland hummocks, vegetated swales, a pond for water storage, a fen wetland, and 2 perched fens. For each component, reclamation prescriptions were developed using methods from Syncrude's regulatory approvals for upland forests, advice from technical experts on wetlands, and results from an analogous wetland research program. Prior to the reclamation, a long-term research program was started to appraise the response of wetland plants to different operation treatments, including placement depth, material type, compaction, and salinity. Operation techniques were developed to glean live in-situ peat material from the top layer of the boreal forest for use in wetland reclamation. Design topography and soil material types were taken into account in developing the prescriptions, which were used to test specific research hypotheses within the instrumented research watershed.

  3. Canadian Oil Sands Investments: FOCUS on a Controversial Energy Source

    OpenAIRE

    Palombizio, Ennio A.; Borchert, Jan Moritz

    2009-01-01

    Rising energy demand and prices, particularly for oil, has led to a search for solutions to quell this increase. With the advent of the Oil Sands, we have stumbled upon an opportunity to increase Oil supplies and thus stabilize prices and satisfy demand. A large portion of the oil sands are located in Canada and this gives Canada an opportunity to improve its economy. Since the discovery, Canada has seen a vast influx in investment for the purpose of extracting these oil deposits. Using the U...

  4. NorthernLights Transmission : bringing competitive cogen energy from the oil sands to west coast markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hogan, M.J.C.

    2005-01-01

    NorthernLights Transmission is an initiative by TransCanada that proposes 2 major high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lines to bring low cost, fossil fuelled and renewable generation from the Fort McMurray area to growing electricity markets in the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, Arizona and California. This presentation demonstrated why oil sands cogeneration, shipped via NorthernLights Transmission, is a very attractive resource for these markets. It was shown that the best generation resources are tied to natural resources such as coal, wind, oil sands cogeneration and hydro. Both the Pacific Northwest and California markets prefer low carbon dioxide generation. The proposed HVDC transmission lines would maximize the use of existing energy infrastructure corridors and rights-of-way where possible. This paper presented details of the proposed Celilo Project and the Inland Project, and noted that both are attractive from a technical and economic perspective. The transmission line for the Celilo project would originate in Fort McMurray and connect highly efficient cogeneration and other developing forms of generation to growing loads in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. The cogeneration plants will supply steam and electricity to northern Alberta's oil sands developments along with surplus electricity for export. tabs., figs

  5. Income growth, government spending, and wasting assets: Alberta's oil and gas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Smith, R.S.

    1992-01-01

    Physical and monetary accounts for the oil and gas sectors in Alberta from 1963 through 1988 are used to adjust Alberta's Gross Domestic Product and Gross Domestic Investment for changes in oil and gas reserves. Other resources, non-renewable and renewable, are important to Alberta, but the change in oil and gas reserves over the past quarter century deserves attention in itself. Growth rates of income and investment during the 1970s and 1980s differ significantly when the adjustments are made to conventional income accounts. Since policies are often based on conventional statistics, alternative measures yielding very different results warrant attention. The oil and gas accounts also permit comparison of past expenditures of resource revenues with what would be spent under a rule of thumb such as Robert Solow's (1986) suggestion that allowable consumption be interest on an initial patrimony of resource endowment. Such a comparison indicates the provincial government may, at times, have overspent resource revenues during the past quarter century; at other times its policies appear to have been quite conservative. The estimates presented require various assumptions, and therefore are but one possible set of adjustments deserving consideration. 26 refs., 4 figs., 13 tabs

  6. Modelling the behavior of an oil saturated sand

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Evgin, E.; Altaee, A.; Lord, S.; Konuk, I.

    1990-01-01

    The experiments carried out in an earlier study show the oil contamination affects the strength and deformation characteristics of a crushed quartz sand. In the present study, a mathematical soil model is used to simulate the mechanical behavior of the same sand. The model parameters are determined for both clean and oil contaminated soil. Simulations are made for the stress-strain behavior of the soil in drained and undrained conventional traixial compression tests. In order to illustrate the effect of changes in the soil properties on the behavior of an engineering structure, a finite element analysis is carried out. In this paper comparative results are presented to show the differences in the behavior of a foundation resting on a clean sand, on an oil contaminated sand, and on a sand contaminated locally

  7. Biodegradation of cycloalkane carboxylic acids in oil sand tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Herman, D.C.; Costerton, J.W. (Calgary Univ., Dept. of Biological Sciences, AB (Canada)); Fedorak, P.M. (Alberta Univ., Dept. of Microbiology, AB (Canada))

    1993-01-01

    The biodegradation of both an n-alkane and several carboxylated cycloalkanes was examined experimentally within tailings produced by the extraction of bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands. The carboxylated cycloalkanes examined were structurally similar to naphthenic acids that have been associated with the acute toxicity of oil sand tailings. The biodegradation potential of naphthenic acids was estimated by determining the biodegradation of both the carboxylated cycloalkanes and hexadecane in oil sand tailings. Carboxylated cycloalkanes were biodegraded within oil sands tailings, although compounds with methyl substitutions on the cycloalkane ring were more resistant to microbial degradation. Microbial activity against hexadecane and certain carboxylated cycloalkanes was found to be nitrogen and phosphorus limited. 21 refs., 3 refs., 1 tab.

  8. The oil sands: A new energy vision for Canada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-01-01

    Canada's oil sands deposits were considered to offer huge potential for wealth generation and enduring social benefits. This report showed that putting in action the plan developed by the National Task Force on Oil Sands Strategies would help unlock this potential and realize the benefits; the forecast called for a doubling or tripling of oil sands production over the next 25 years. The plan should also predicted an increase in investments in oil sands since the fiscal regime would be stable and the product would be in increasing demand. New capital investment should generate significant environmental, social and economic benefits. The real outcome would be increased national prosperity, since further growth in investment would translate into thousands of skilled jobs across Canada, expansion of government revenues, and improvements to Canada's trade balance. 1 ill

  9. Developing the oil sands demands level tax, royalty policies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Francis, D.

    1995-01-01

    The oil sands development industry has assembled a task force to lobby for fairer taxes and royalties on oil sands products. Up to now, taxing and royalties had been negotiated on a project-by-project basis. Fairer policies were believed to be a key element for increasing foreign investment. Taxing policies were only established for up to the year 2003, creating uncertainties for longer term projects

  10. University of Utah Oil Sand Research and Development Program

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-12-31

    An overview of the Oil Sand Research and Development Program at the University of Utah will be presented. It will include resource characterization of the Uinta Basin oils and deposits and bitumens and bitumen-derived liquid recovery and upgrading technology and product utilization. The characterization studies will include the Whiterocks and Asphalt Ridge oil sands. The discussion of recovery and upgrading technologies will include aqueous separation, thermal recovery processes; solvent extraction, and thermal and catalytic upgrading of bitumen and bitumen-derived heavy oils. Product evaluation studies will include jet fuels, diesel fuel, asphalt and specialty chemicals. Plans for the future of the project will be discussed.

  11. Thyroid pathology in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculata) from a reclaimed mine site on the athabasca oil sands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Movasseghi, Ahmad R; Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; Smits, Judit E G

    2017-03-01

    Information on naturally occurring thyroid disease in wild animals in general and in small mammals specifically is extremely limited. In the present field-based work, we investigated the structure and function of thyroid glands of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculata) studied as sentinels of ecosystem sustainability on reclaimed areas post-mining on the oil sands of northeastern Alberta, because of their greater sensitivity to contaminants relative to meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) on the same sites. Extraction of bitumen in the oil sands of northeastern Alberta, results in the release of contaminants including polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), metals, and metalloids to the environment that have a measurable biological cost to wildlife living in the affected areas. In previous investigations, deer mice exposed to pollution at reclaimed areas showed compromised ability to regenerate glutathione indicating oxidative stress, together with decreased testicular mass and body condition during the breeding season. In the present study, thyroid glands from those deer mice from the reclaimed site had markedly increased follicular cell proliferation and decreased colloid compared to animals from the reference site. This pathology was positively associated with the greater oxidative stress in the deer mice. Thyroid hormones, both thyroxine and triiodothyronine, were also higher in animals with greater oxidative stress indicating increased metabolic demands from contaminant related subclinical toxicity. This work emphasizes the value of using a combination of endocrinological, histological and oxidative stress biomarkers to provide sensitive measures of contaminant exposure in small mammals on the oil sands. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Multi-tracer profiling of natural and anthropogenic water sources and interaction in the oil sands region (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, J. J.; Birks, S. J.; YI, Y.; Moncur, M. C.

    2013-12-01

    Isotopic, geochemical and organic tracer techniques for labeling water and for tracing biogeochemical processes in the Athabasca oil sands region, northern Alberta are being developed as part of research projects led by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF). Studies conducted to date have included both regional and site-specific assessments of baseline groundwater geochemistry, groundwater-surface water interactions, lake/wetland water balance, and acid sensitivity studies, as well as analysis of specific industrial issues such as airborne deposition, water supply, SAGD metals mobility, surface-casing-vent flows, and oil-sands process-affected water. Multiple tracers have been applied to interpret the source of water, salinity and organics in groundwater and surface water, which has led to better understanding of groundwater age, hydrodynamics, surface-subsurface connectivity, and the role of glaciogenic water and evaporate deposits in the regional hydrogeological system. Progress has also been made towards more extensive chemical characterization of process-affected water. The key to assessing ongoing anthropogenic impacts, in the context of significant observed natural variability in the oil sands region, is application of a multi-tracer toolkit as well as understanding of the regional and site-specific biogeochemical processes that control tracer distribution and interaction.

  13. Alberta Chamber of Resources : 1997 resources guide and directory

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1997-01-01

    The Alberta Chamber of Resources (ACR) is composed of 140 member companies from the oil and gas industry, forestry, pulp and paper, mining, oil sands, utilities, contractors, suppliers, consultants, banking and other service groups, as well as representatives from universities and governments. ACR's activities during 1996 were reviewed. These included supporting or sponsoring a careers forum, and various other networking and information sharing opportunities, a study of the potential for Alberta's minerals industry, and exploring opportunities for research in the forestry sector and the further development of Alberta's oil sands. Studies of the transportation and infrastructures strategies for Alberta's resources, royalty regimes, tenure and compensation issues associated with oil sands reservoirs that are 'capped' by natural gas reservoirs, taxation issues related to oil sands development, mineral rights tenure, and toll design and royalty issues affecting Alberta's natural gas sector rounded out the Chamber's activities. The annual review also profiled a number of ACR member companies, among them Koch Oil Company Ltd., Pardee Equipment Ltd., Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc., Clearwater Welding and Fabricating Ltd., and Weldwood of Canada. A listing of all ACR members was also provided

  14. Legacy of a half century of Athabasca oil sands development recorded by lake ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kurek, Joshua; Kirk, Jane L; Muir, Derek C G; Wang, Xiaowa; Evans, Marlene S; Smol, John P

    2013-01-29

    The absence of well-executed environmental monitoring in the Athabasca oil sands (Alberta, Canada) has necessitated the use of indirect approaches to determine background conditions of freshwater ecosystems before development of one of the Earth's largest energy deposits. Here, we use highly resolved lake sediment records to provide ecological context to ∼50 y of oil sands development and other environmental changes affecting lake ecosystems in the region. We show that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) within lake sediments, particularly C1-C4-alkylated PAHs, increased significantly after development of the bitumen resource began, followed by significant increases in dibenzothiophenes. Total PAH fluxes in the modern sediments of our six study lakes, including one site ∼90 km northwest of the major development area, are now ∼2.5-23 times greater than ∼1960 levels. PAH ratios indicate temporal shifts from primarily wood combustion to petrogenic sources that coincide with greater oil sands development. Canadian interim sediment quality guidelines for PAHs have been exceeded since the mid-1980s at the most impacted site. A paleoecological assessment of Daphnia shows that this sentinel zooplankter has not yet been negatively impacted by decades of high atmospheric PAH deposition. Rather, coincident with increases in PAHs, climate-induced shifts in aquatic primary production related to warmer and drier conditions are the primary environmental drivers producing marked daphniid shifts after ∼1960 to 1970. Because of the striking increase in PAHs, elevated primary production, and zooplankton changes, these oil sands lake ecosystems have entered new ecological states completely distinct from those of previous centuries.

  15. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1992-08-01

    The University of Utah tar sand research and development program is concerned with research and development on Utah is extensive oil sands deposits. The program has been intended to develop a scientific and technological base required for eventual commercial recovery of the heavy oils from oil sands and processing these oils to produce synthetic crude oil and other products such as asphalt. The overall program is based on mining the oil sand, processing the mined sand to recover the heavy oils and upgrading them to products. Multiple deposits are being investigated since it is believed that a large scale (approximately 20,000 bbl/day) plant would require the use of resources from more than one deposit. The tasks or projects in the program are organized according to the following classification: Recovery technologies which includes thermal recovery methods, water extraction methods, and solvent extraction methods; upgrading and processing technologies which covers hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and hydropyrolysis; solvent extraction; production of specialty products; and environmental aspects of the production and processing technologies. These tasks are covered in this report

  16. Value of Canadian oil sands... to the United States

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pugliaresi, Lucian

    2011-01-01

    Since the beginning of the recession in late 2007, the American economy has been subject to great change, affecting the way energy is produced and consumed. The structure of oil imports and exports has changed significantly and U.S. imports are now primarily from Canada. The current study shows how and why the U.S. has become dependent on imports of oil from the Canadian oil sands. Oil from Canadian oil sands is transported to different Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADD) via the Keystone pipeline. As imports from Canada increased, the U.S. refinery sector was restructured. Small refineries were closed while larger refineries were expanded and investment was made to increase their processing capacity. The increased import and processing of oil from the Canadian oil sands led to an advantageous decrease in oil prices. If the Keystone XL project were to be approved, the pipeline would increase the area with access to the means of transporting oil, allowing the increasing demand for oil to be met and, potentially, stabilizing world oil prices.

  17. Value of Canadian oil sands... to the United States

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pugliaresi, Lucian [Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (United States)

    2011-07-01

    Since the beginning of the recession in late 2007, the American economy has been subject to great change, affecting the way energy is produced and consumed. The structure of oil imports and exports has changed significantly and U.S. imports are now primarily from Canada. The current study shows how and why the U.S. has become dependent on imports of oil from the Canadian oil sands. Oil from Canadian oil sands is transported to different Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADD) via the Keystone pipeline. As imports from Canada increased, the U.S. refinery sector was restructured. Small refineries were closed while larger refineries were expanded and investment was made to increase their processing capacity. The increased import and processing of oil from the Canadian oil sands led to an advantageous decrease in oil prices. If the Keystone XL project were to be approved, the pipeline would increase the area with access to the means of transporting oil, allowing the increasing demand for oil to be met and, potentially, stabilizing world oil prices.

  18. Sources of particulate matter components in the Athabasca oil sands region: investigation through a comparison of trace element measurement methodologies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phillips-Smith, Catherine; Jeong, Cheol-Heon; Healy, Robert M.; Dabek-Zlotorzynska, Ewa; Celo, Valbona; Brook, Jeffrey R.; Evans, Greg

    2017-08-01

    The province of Alberta, Canada, is home to three oil sands regions which, combined, contain the third largest deposit of oil in the world. Of these, the Athabasca oil sands region is the largest. As part of Environment and Climate Change Canada's program in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring program, concentrations of trace elements in PM2. 5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 µm in diameter) were measured through two campaigns that involved different methodologies: a long-term filter campaign and a short-term intensive campaign. In the long-term campaign, 24 h filter samples were collected once every 6 days over a 2-year period (December 2010-November 2012) at three air monitoring stations in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo. For the intensive campaign (August 2013), hourly measurements were made with an online instrument at one air monitoring station; daily filter samples were also collected. The hourly and 24 h filter data were analyzed individually using positive matrix factorization. Seven emission sources of PM2. 5 trace elements were thereby identified: two types of upgrader emissions, soil, haul road dust, biomass burning, and two sources of mixed origin. The upgrader emissions, soil, and haul road dust sources were identified through both the methodologies and both methodologies identified a mixed source, but these exhibited more differences than similarities. The second upgrader emissions and biomass burning sources were only resolved by the hourly and filter methodologies, respectively. The similarity of the receptor modeling results from the two methodologies provided reassurance as to the identity of the sources. Overall, much of the PM2. 5-related trace elements were found to be anthropogenic, or at least to be aerosolized through anthropogenic activities. These emissions may in part explain the previously reported higher levels of trace elements in snow, water, and biota samples collected

  19. A First Assessment of the Elemental Composition of Atmospheric Aerosols in the Canadian Oil Sands Region

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dabek-Zlotorzynska E.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Canadian Oil Sands, which comprise 97% of Canada’s 176 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, are located beneath 140,200 km2 of boreal forests, prairies and wetlands, and are the second largest known deposit of crude oil in the world. As such, this region has experienced rapid industrial development, which resulted also in increasing industrial air emissions, primarily from bitumen upgrading and mine vehicle fleet operations. This rapid development has led to concerns regarding health risk to humans, and other terrestrial and aquatic wildlife associated with exposure to toxic contaminants, especially metals and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs particularly along the Athabasca River and its watershed. Canada’s Minister of the Environment announced that Environment Canada (EC will jointly lead, in collaboration with Government of Alberta and relevant stakeholders, the development and implementation of an enhanced monitoring system in the Oil Sands region to provide information on the state of the air, water, land andbiodiversity. This work presents preliminary data on the first assessment of elemental composition of fine particulate matter (particles<2.5 mm in diameter; PM2.5 at 3 air quality sites in close proximity to Oil Sands processing activities. Since December 2010, integrated 24 hour air samples were collected every sixth day on a 47-mm Teflon filters using Thermo Fisher Partisol 2000-FRM samplers operated by the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS network that involves EC and the Canadian provinces and territories. All samples including laboratory, travel and field blanks were subjected to gravimetric determination of PM2.5 mass and energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF analysis for 46 elements. Since ED-XRF is a non-destructive technique, PM2.5 samples were subsequently analyzed for 37 trace elements including rare earth elements using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS combined with microwave

  20. North American Oil Sands: History of Development, Prospects for the Future

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Humphries, Marc

    2008-01-01

    .... Since 2004, when a substantial portion of Canada's oil sands were deemed economic, Canada, with about 175 billion barrels of proved oil sands reserves, has ranked second behind Saudi Arabia in oil reserves...

  1. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  2. Gill histopathology of goldfish exposed to oil sands processed-waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nero, V.; Farwell, A.J.; Dixon, D.G.; Lee, L.E.J.

    2002-01-01

    Large volumes of processed wastewater are generated through the oil extraction process at Alberta's Athabasca oil sand deposit. These wastewaters are very toxic to aquatic biota because they are high in salinity and consist of napthenic acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). In this study, goldfish were caged in 3 different experimental ponds in order to evaluate the biological effects of aquatic reclamation alternatives for process-affected waters. The first pond was a control pond, while the other 2 ponds consisted of known and varying chemicals. The fish were exposed to the ponds for 19 days. Those in the pond with elevated levels of napthenic acids and high salinity exhibited severe gill histopathological changes. Alterations included epithelial hyperplasia resulting in severe lamellar fusion, chloride cell hyperplasia, and lamellar edema, all of which were believed to be defense responses of the fish. Additional severe gill alterations were also observed that may indicate the direct negative effects of oil sands processed-water on fish. Exposed goldfish also showed signs of necrosis and degenerative changes resulting in desquamation of the epithelial surfaces of the gill, which are symptoms seen in free-range exposure of yellow perch, a native fish species, at the same sites and exposure times

  3. Advanced testing and characterization of shear modulus and deformation characteristics of oil sand materials

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Anochie-Boateng, Joseph

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Oil sands are natural deposits of sand materials that are rich in bitumen. Limited studies have been conducted to determine the dynamic behavior of oil sand materials. Recent difficulties encountered in oil sand mine fields in Canada substantiated...

  4. Inversion of Airborne Electromagnetic Data: Application to Oil Sands Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cristall, J.; Farquharson, C. G.; Oldenburg, D. W.

    2004-05-01

    . We provide an example that involves the interpretation of an airborne time-domain electromagnetic data-set from an oil sands exploration project in Alberta. The target is the layer that potentially contains oil sands. This layer is relatively resistive, with its resistivity increasing with increasing hydrocarbon content, and is sandwiched between two more conductive layers. This is quite different from the classical electromagnetic geophysics scenario of looking for a conductive mineral deposit in resistive shield rocks. However, inverting the data enabled the depth, thickness and resistivity of the target layer to be well determined. As a consequence, it is concluded that airborne electromagnetic surveys, when combined with inversion procedures, can be a very cost-effective way of mapping even fairly subtle conductivity variations over large areas.

  5. Application of TIE's in assessing toxicity associated with oil sands process waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    MacKinnon, M.

    1998-01-01

    The hot water digestion process which separates bitumen from oil sands produces large volumes of process-affected waters which are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. At Syncrude Canada's northeastern Alberta plant, the toxic waters are contained on the site and none are discharged. Organic acids, hydrocarbons and salts are leached into the tailings waters. A toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) test was used to confirm the main contributors to the acute toxicity in these waters. A battery bioassay approach as well as field and laboratory testing was used to understand the source, pathway and duration of the toxicity. Bioassays helped in developing ways in which to mitigate toxicity issues in both reclamation and operational waters. It was demonstrated that natural bioremediation of process-affected waters can reduce acute and chronic toxicity. The long term reclamation impacts of these waters has yet to be determined

  6. Methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria in oil sands fine tailings waste

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Holowenko, F. M.; Fedorak, P. M. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Biological Sciences; MacKinnon, M. D. [Syncrude Canada Ltd, Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2000-10-01

    In addition to adding to greenhouse gas emissions, the production of methane in the fine tailings zone of Syncrude Canada's lease near Fort McMurray, Alberta, threatens to affect the performance of the settling basin and impact on reclamation plans. Methanogenic as well as sulfur reducing bacteria have been found within the fine tailings zone of various oil sands waste settling basins. This paper presents a description of the methanogenic population in the fine tailings and evaluates the effects of sulfate additions and prolonged sample storage on methanogenesis with serum bottle microcosms. Methane yield values were determined from total methane produced in batch microcosms monitored for over a year. Results showed that at present two to five per cent of the fine tailings volume is present as methane. Methanogenesis was found to be inhibited by sulfate addition which stimulated bacterial competition for available substrate. 47 refs., 3 tabs., 4 figs.

  7. Do Massive Oil Sands Developments in a Northern Watershed Lead to an Impending Crisis?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kienzle, S. W.; Byrne, J.; Schindler, D.; Komers, P.

    2005-12-01

    Oil sands developments in northern Alberta are land disruptions of massive proportions, with potentially major impacts on watersheds. Alberta has one of the largest known oil reserves in the world, and developments have about 25,000 sqkm of lease areas, and have approvals for plants to develop over half a million ha (or 54 townships). This is 91% the size of Lake Erie covered mainly with tailings dams, open-pit mines and associated massive removal of forests, wetlands, and soils. With rising oil prices and declining conventional reserves, the current production of about 900,000 barrels per day will dramatically increase. There is considerable confusion over how much water is needed to extract and refine the oil. Best estimated by oil companies are 6 to 10 barrels of water for each barrel of oil. Shell Oil is aiming to bring the water to oil ratio down to 3, however, this is not yet achieved. Trend analysis of the Athabasca streamflow shows that the streamflow is declining, particularly the low flow during winter. In order to sustain a minimum flow that ensures a relatively healthy aquatic environment, the only option the oil sands companies have to ensure uninterrupted production during winter is to build large water reservoirs, which would be filled during the high flow period in spring or summer. A disturbing fact is that this need for reservoirs was never considered until a science panel initiated by the Mikesew Cree First Nation participated in two hearings in the fall of 2003, when two major oil companies applied for licenses of a massive scale each. In the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), water was to be extracted throughout the year, consequently threatening in-stream flow needs at some point in the future. Less than 1% has been reclaimed so far, with questionable success, as the new landscape will be a relatively sterile landscape with minimal biological diversity. Reclamation liabilities need to be included in mining leases. The release of

  8. The Impact of Foreign Investment Restrictions on the Stock Returns of Oil Sands Companies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eugene Beaulieu

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available In December 2012, prompted by the proposed purchase of Nexen by the Chinese SOE CNOOC, the federal government announced revised guidelines for investments by state-owned enterprises (SOEs in the oil sands. Declaring the sale marked “the end of a trend and not the beginning of a trend,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper explained how the government would approach such decisions in the future, including placing the onus on foreign investors to demonstrate how deals would be of net benefit to Canada, as well as granting the industry minister the discretion to accept or deny proposed deals. Accounting for five per cent of Canadian GDP, $28 billion in government revenue and three per cent of all jobs nationwide, the oil sands are an integral component of Canada’s economy. The sector has long relied on foreign capital to finance projects, meaning that any move to deter outside investment could have profound consequences for the development of this critical economic asset. In this paper, the authors examine the impact of this policy change by measuring the stock returns of firms operating in the oil sands. Employing an event study analysis, they find empirical evidence that the government’s policy change has resulted in the material destruction of shareholder wealth, particularly in the case of the smaller oil companies. What is more, given the composition of the global oil industry has changed to one where SOEs dominate both reserves and production, is this a policy Canada can afford in the long term? “When we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments.” - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, December 7, 2012 “…going forward, the [industry] minister will find the acquisition of control of a Canadian oil-sands business by a state-owned enterprise to be of net benefit, only in an exceptional circumstance.” - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, December 7, 2012 “A year after the new Investment

  9. Facies and paleoenvironments of Campanian Basal Belly River sands, southern Alberta, Canada: a case study based on multidisciplined approach using both conventional sedimentology and palynofacies synthesis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sabry, H.

    1987-05-01

    Basal Belly River sands are not a single, continuous body but are composed of many separate bodies of sand occupying slightly different stratigraphic positions. The shape of the Belly River Formation, its internal geometry, and its lithology fit well with the clastic wedge association of deltaic sediments. The textural and mineralogical immaturity of most of the Belly River sediments indicates rapid deposition, also characteristic of deltaic deposits. A detailed sedimentologic and palynofacies investigation of over 2930 ft of core from several wells in southern Alberta has led to the recognition of several distinct lithofacies. The lithofacies of the subaqueous part of the delta are (1) nearshore marine bar and interbar marine facies, (2) prodelta marine shales and siltstones, and (3) distal and proximal delta front sand facies. The subaerial part of the delta and interdeltaic shoreline sediments consists of 15 lithofacies that can be grouped as follows: estuarine distributary channel; barrier bar; barrier face and back barrier tidal channel; subtidal sand and shale-sand channels and flats; peat swamp; transgressive tidal sand ridges; and upper delta plain/alluvial meandering rivers and overbank complexes. Best reservoir developments are found in barrier bar, transgressive tidal sand ridges, subtidal channels, and point bar facies. The Basal Belly River sands of prograding deltaic origin experienced episodes of modification from an early river-dominated delta to a tidally dominated one later. This is evident from the paleogeography, geometry, continuity, and internal characteristics of the Basal Belly River sand bodies.

  10. North American natural gas outlook : does gas remain a fuel option for oil sands?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    George, R.R.

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents a North America natural gas outlook from Purvin and Gertz, an international energy consulting firm that has 30 years experience in providing strategic, commercial and technical advice to the petroleum industry. In particular, this presentation focuses on natural gas market fundamentals and how they may impact on oil sands development. It includes charts and graphs depicting NYMEX natural gas outlooks to July, 2009 and examines how supply will react to major changes in Canada's supply portfolio. It was noted that oil sands development is a driver for natural gas demand in Alberta. The existing regional gas pipeline infrastructure was presented and the market impact on upgrader options was discussed. The author suggests that if gas prices are too high, there are other fuel options for steam and power generation. These include bitumen, asphalt, coke, coal and nuclear. However, these options have additional costs, uncertainties and environmental issues. A key factor for success would be to have a clear understanding of the benefits and risks between these fuel options. 1 tab., 9 figs

  11. Developing the Guidelines for Reclamation to Forest Vegetation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Straker, J. [Integral Ecology Group Ltd., Victoria, BC (Canada); Cumulative Environmental Management Association, Fort McMurray, AB (Canada). Reclamation Working Group, Terrestrial Subgroup; Donald, G. [Donald Functional and Applied Ecology Inc., Victoria, BC (Canada); Cumulative Environmental Management Association, Fort McMurray, AB (Canada). Reclamation Working Group, Terrestrial Subgroup

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed the development process behind and the structure of the Guidelines for Reclamation to Forest Vegetation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. The advances present in the second edition, published in 2010, were described relative to the first edition, which was published in 1998. Oils sands mining companies are mandated to use the manual under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. The paper provided an overview of the structure of the second edition and presented the process used to develop the second edition. It also described the planning approaches for revegetative treatments and the planning guidance of overstory and understory species selection. The methods for evaluating revegetative success were also described with particular reference to plant community composition and soil salinity indicators as examples of indicator development. The goal of the manual is to provide guidance on re-establishing the vegetation component of upland ecosystems on reclaimed landscapes and on evaluating the success of the re-establishment, assuming that the reclaimed plant communities should have species characteristic of native plant communities in the region, that the trends of vegetation community and structure development on reclaimed land should be similar to native plant communities in the region, and that the reclaimed ecosystems should have development trajectories that satisfy land-use objectives and provide resilience against natural disturbances. 15 refs., 1 tab., 1 fig.

  12. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway II: solid phase biogeochemistry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tariq eSiddique

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Consolidation of clay particles in aqueous tailings suspensions is a major obstacle to effective management of oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada. We have observed that microorganisms indigenous to the tailings ponds accelerate consolidation of mature fine tailings (MFT during active metabolism by using two biogeochemical pathways. In Pathway I, microbes alter porewater chemistry to indirectly increase consolidation of MFT. Here, we describe Pathway II comprising significant, direct and complementary biogeochemical reactions with MFT mineral surfaces. An anaerobic microbial community comprising Bacteria (predominantly Clostridiales, Synergistaceae and Desulfobulbaceae and Archaea (Methanolinea/Methanoregula and Methanosaeta transformed FeIII minerals in MFT to amorphous FeII minerals during methanogenic metabolism of an added organic substrate. Synchrotron analyses suggested that ferrihydrite (5Fe2O3. 9H2O and goethite (α-FeOOH were the dominant FeIII minerals in MFT. The formation of amorphous iron sulfide (FeS and possibly green rust entrapped and masked electronegative clay surfaces in amended MFT. Both Pathways I and II reduced the surface charge potential (repulsive forces of the clay particles in MFT, which aided aggregation of clays and formation of networks of pores, as visualized using cryo-scanning electron microscopy. These reactions facilitated the egress of porewater from MFT and increased consolidation of tailings solids. These results have large-scale implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds, a burgeoning environmental issue for the public and government regulators.

  13. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) detection, avoidance, and chemosensory effects of oil sands process-affected water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lari, Ebrahim; Pyle, Greg G

    2017-06-01

    Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) - a byproduct of the oil sands industry in Northern Alberta, Canada - is currently stored in on-site tailings ponds. The goal of the present study was to investigate the interaction of OSPW with the olfactory system and olfactory-mediated behaviours of fish upon the first encounter with OSPW. The response of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to different concentrations (0.1, 1, and 10%) of OSPW was studied using a choice maze and electro-olfactography (EOG), respectively. The results of the present study showed that rainbow trout are capable of detecting and avoiding OSPW at a concentration as low as 0.1%. Exposure to 1% OSPW impaired (i.e. reduced sensitivity) the olfactory response of rainbow trout to alarm and food cues within 5 min or less. The results of the present study demonstrated that fish could detect and avoid minute concentrations of OSPW. However, if fish were exposed to OSPW-contaminated water and unable to escape, their olfaction would be impaired. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Fine root dynamics in lodgepole pine and white spruce stands along productivity gradients in reclaimed oil sands sites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jamro, Ghulam Murtaza; Chang, Scott X; Naeth, M Anne; Duan, Min; House, Jason

    2015-10-01

    Open-pit mining activities in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, create disturbed lands that, by law, must be reclaimed to a land capability equivalent to that existed before the disturbance. Re-establishment of forest cover will be affected by the production and turnover rate of fine roots. However, the relationship between fine root dynamics and tree growth has not been studied in reclaimed oil sands sites. Fine root properties (root length density, mean surface area, total root biomass, and rates of root production, turnover, and decomposition) were assessed from May to October 2011 and 2012 using sequential coring and ingrowth core methods in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench.) Voss) stands. The pine and spruce stands were planted on peat mineral soil mix placed over tailings sand and overburden substrates, respectively, in reclaimed oil sands sites in Alberta. We selected stands that form a productivity gradient (low, medium, and high productivities) of each tree species based on differences in tree height and diameter at breast height (DBH) increments. In lodgepole pine stands, fine root length density and fine root production, and turnover rates were in the order of high > medium > low productivity sites and were positively correlated with tree height and DBH and negatively correlated with soil salinity (P < 0.05). In white spruce stands, fine root surface area was the only parameter that increased along the productivity gradient and was negatively correlated with soil compaction. In conclusion, fine root dynamics along the stand productivity gradients were closely linked to stand productivity and were affected by limiting soil properties related to the specific substrate used for reconstructing the reclaimed soil. Understanding the impact of soil properties on fine root dynamics and overall stand productivity will help improve land reclamation outcomes.

  15. Oil Sands Characteristics and Time-Lapse and P-SV Seismic Steam Monitoring, Athabasca, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takahashi, A.; Nakayama, T.; Kashihara, K.; Skinner, L.; Kato, A.

    2008-12-01

    A vast amount of oil sands exists in the Athabasca area, Alberta, Canada. These oil sands consist of bitumen (extra-heavy oil) and unconsolidated sand distributed from surface to a depth of 750 meters. Including conventional crude oil, the total number of proved remaining oil reserves in Canada ranks second place in the world after Saudi Arabia. For the production of bitumen from the reservoir 200 to 500 meters in depth, the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) method (Steam Injection EOR) has been adopted as bitumen is not movable at original temperatures. It is essential to understand the detailed reservoir distribution and steam chamber development extent for optimizing the field development. Oil sands reservoir characterization is conducted using 3D seismic data acquired in February 2002. Conducting acoustic impedance inversion to improve resolution and subsequent multi-attribute analysis integrating seismic data with well data facilitates an understanding of the detailed reservoir distribution. These analyses enable the basement shale to be imaged, and enables identification to a certain degree of thin shale within the reservoir. Top and bottom depths of the reservoir are estimated in the range of 2.0 meters near the existing wells even in such a complex channel sands environment characterized by abrupt lateral sedimentary facies changes. In March 2006, monitoring 3D seismic data was acquired to delineate steam-affected areas. The 2002 baseline data is used as a reference data and the 2006 monitoring data is calibrated to the 2002 seismic data. Apparent differences in the two 3D seismic data sets with the exception of production related response changes are removed during the calibration process. P-wave and S-wave velocities of oil sands core samples are also measured with various pressures and temperatures, and the laboratory measurement results are then combined to construct a rock physics model used to predict velocity changes induced by steam

  16. The life cycle greenhouse gas emissions implications of power and hydrogen production for oil sands operations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McKellar, J.M.; Bergerson, J.A.; MacLean, H.L.

    2009-01-01

    'Full text:' The Alberta Oil Sands represent a major economic opportunity for Canada, but the industry is also a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One of the sources of these emissions is the use of natural gas for the production of electricity, steam and hydrogen. Due to concerns around resource availability and price volatility, there has been considerable discussion regarding the potential replacement of natural gas with an alternative fuel. While some of the options are non-fossil and could potentially reduce GHG emissions (e.g., nuclear, geothermal, biomass), others have the potential to increase emissions. A comparative life cycle assessment was completed to investigate the relative GHG emissions, energy consumption and financial implications of replacing natural gas with coal, coke, asphaltenes or bitumen for the supply of electricity, steam and hydrogen to oil sands operations. The potential use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) was also investigated as a means of reducing GHG emissions. Preliminary results indicate that, without CCS, the natural gas systems currently in use have lower life cycle GHG emissions than gasification systems using any of the alternative fuels analysed. However, when CCS is implemented in both the coke gasification and natural gas systems, the coke systems have lower GHG emissions and financial costs than the natural gas systems (assuming a 30-year project life and a natural gas price of 6.5 USD/gigajoule). The use of CCS does impose a financial penalty though, indicating that it is unlikely to be implemented without some financial incentive. While this study has limitations and uncertainties, the preliminary results indicate that although the GHG emissions of oil sands development pose a challenge to Canada, there are opportunities available for their abatement. (author)

  17. Assessment of regional acidifying pollutants in the Athabasca oil sands area under different emission scenarios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cho, Sunny; Vijayaraghavan, Krish; Spink, David; Jung, Jaegun; Morris, Ralph; Pauls, Ron

    2017-05-01

    Acid deposition is a potential environmental impact of oil sands development in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Northeastern Alberta. An acid deposition management framework has been established to manage this issue. This framework includes an acid deposition modelling and time-to-effect impact assessment component that was recently implemented for four acidifying emissions cases using the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. Predicted gross Potential Acid Input (PAI) deposition in the AOSR increases from the historical to existing case with further increases predicted in two future cases due to the projected increase in NOx emissions. On average the total predicted PAI deposition in the AOSR is approximately 40% sulphur deposition and 60% nitrogen deposition. Sulphur deposition decreases by 7% from the historical to existing cases due to the reductions in SO2 emissions that have occurred in the AOSR but increases by 5% from the existing to future case 1 and by 8% from existing to future case 2 even though continued AOSR SO2 emission decreases were modelled. This is likely the result of the deposition reduction associated with a single large reduction in SO2 emissions from one facility's main stack being offset elsewhere in the AOSR by deposition increases due to small increases in SO2 emissions from several in situ sources with shorter stacks. Average nitrogen deposition over the AOSR increases by 10% from the historical to existing case and then further increases by 10.6% from the existing case to future case 1 and by 12.3% from the existing case to future case 2. The increasing relevance of NOx emissions over SO2 emissions in the AOSR suggests that a robust treatment of nitrogen chemistry such as in CMAQ is required for conducting deposition assessments in the region. The modelling results provide information that can be used to inform oil sands emission management priorities in the context of acid deposition and nitrogen eutrophication

  18. Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Spinti, Jennifer [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Birgenheier, Lauren [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Deo, Milind [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Facelli, Julio [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Hradisky, Michal [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Kelly, Kerry [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Miller, Jan [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); McLennan, John [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Ring, Terry [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Ruple, John [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Uchitel, Kirsten [Inst. for Clean and Secure Energy, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)

    2015-09-30

    This report summarizes the significant findings from the Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources program sponsored by the Department of Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory. There were four principle areas of research; Environmental, legal, and policy issues related to development of oil shale and oil sands resources; Economic and environmental assessment of domestic unconventional fuels industry; Basin-scale assessment of conventional and unconventional fuel development impacts; and Liquid fuel production by in situ thermal processing of oil shale Multiple research projects were conducted in each area and the results have been communicated via sponsored conferences, conference presentations, invited talks, interviews with the media, numerous topical reports, journal publications, and a book that summarizes much of the oil shale research relating to Utah’s Uinta Basin. In addition, a repository of materials related to oil shale and oil sands has been created within the University of Utah’s Institutional Repository, including the materials generated during this research program. Below is a listing of all topical and progress reports generated by this project and submitted to the Office of Science and Technical Information (OSTI). A listing of all peer-reviewed publications generated as a result of this project is included at the end of this report; Geomechanical and Fluid Transport Properties 1 (December, 2015); Validation Results for Core-Scale Oil Shale Pyrolysis (February, 2015); and Rates and Mechanisms of Oil Shale Pyrolysis: A Chemical Structure Approach (November, 2014); Policy Issues Associated With Using Simulation to Assess Environmental Impacts (November, 2014); Policy Analysis of the Canadian Oil Sands Experience (September, 2013); V-UQ of Generation 1 Simulator with AMSO Experimental Data (August, 2013); Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, Resource Management Plan Constraints, and Land Exchanges

  19. Alberta's clean energy future

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2011-07-01

    This paper deals with the future of clean energy in Alberta. With the present economic growth of the oil sands industry in Alberta, it is expected that there will be very considerable increases in job opportunities and GDP in both Canada and US. The challenges include high-energy demand and reduction of the carbon footprint. Alberta has adopted certain approaches to developing renewable and alternate forms of energy as well as to increasing the efficiency of present energy use and raising environmental consciousness in energy production. Three areas where the effects of clean energy will be felt are energy systems, climate change, and regional impacts, for instance on land, water, and wildlife. Alberta's regulatory process is shown by means of a flow chart. Aspects of oil sands environmental management include greenhouse gas targets, air quality assurance, and water quality monitoring, among others. Steps taken by Alberta to monitor and improve air quality and water management are listed. In conclusion, the paper notes that significant amounts of money are being pumped into research and development for greenhouse gas and water management projects.

  20. Alberta propylene upgrading prospects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2000-03-01

    A very significant byproduct recovery and purification scheme is at present being prepared by TransCanada Midstream (TCMS). Alberta Economic Development commissioned an independent study to identify propylene supply options while proceeding with the evaluation of various propylene derivatives with regard to their fit with the Alberta context. Identification of chemical companies with derivative interests was also accomplished. By 2005, it is estimated that 280 kilo-tonnes of propylene will be available on an annual basis from byproduct sources. Those sources are oil sands upgraders, ethylene plants and refineries. The ranges of impurities and supply costs vary between the different sources. An option being considered involves pipeline and rail receipt with a major central treating and distillation facility for the production of polymer grade (PG) propylene with propane and other smaller byproducts. Special consideration was given to three chemicals in this study, namely: polypropylene (PP), acrylonitrile (ACN), and acrylic acid (AA). Above average growth rates were identified for these chemicals: demand is growing at 6 to 7 per cent a year for both PP and ACN, while demand for AA grows at 8 per cent annually. Two other possibilities were identified, propylene oxide (PO) and phenol. The study led to the conclusion that low capital and operating costs and shipping costs to the Pacific Rim represent advantages to the development of propylene derivatives in the future in Alberta. 4 refs., 87 tabs., 7 figs

  1. Fluidization Behavior of Oil-Contaminated Sand.

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hartman, Miloslav; Trnka, Otakar; Pohořelý, Michael

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 61, 2 (2007) , s. 93-97 ISSN 0366-6352 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR(CZ) IAA4072201 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z40720504 Keywords : fluidized bed * hydrodynamics * oil pollution Subject RIV: CI - Industrial Chemistry, Chemical Engineering Impact factor: 0.367, year: 2007

  2. Proceedings of the Canadian Institute's 4. annual oil sands supply and infrastructure conference : maximizing opportunity and mitigating risks in a rapidly growing market

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2006-01-01

    This conference addressed the challenges facing oil sands development, with particular reference to supply and infrastructure issues. Updates on oil sands markets and opportunities were presented along with strategies for mitigating risks in a rapidly growing market. The best practices for supplying a demanding market through supply shortages and high prices were identified along with policies that should be implemented to help overcome labour shortages. Some presentations expressed how commodities pricing and trends can impact business. Others showed how markets in China and the United States are prepared for oilsands products. The views of other international companies on oil sands was also discussed along with proposed plans to eliminate the infrastructure congestion and risks caused by expanding oil sands development. The challenges and benefits of investing in Alberta's oil sands were reviewed along with strategies to enhance upgrading and refining capacity in the province. Economic drivers and the creation of new markets were examined, and various export opportunities were reviewed along with industry management challenges concerning human resources, labour supply, training and education. The conference featured 10 presentations, of which 3 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. refs., tabs., figs

  3. Coarse Woody Debris Increases Microbial Community Functional Diversity but not Enzyme Activities in Reclaimed Oil Sands Soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwak, Jin-Hyeob; Chang, Scott X; Naeth, M Anne; Schaaf, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM) and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) are cover soils commonly used for upland reclamation post open-pit oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Coarse woody debris (CWD) can be used to regulate soil temperature and water content, to increase organic matter content, and to create microsites for the establishment of microorganisms and vegetation in upland reclamation. We studied the effects of CWD on soil microbial community level physiological profile (CLPP) and soil enzyme activities in FMM and PMM in a reclaimed landscape in the oil sands. This experiment was conducted with a 2 (FMM vs PMM) × 2 (near CWD vs away from CWD) factorial design with 6 replications. The study plots were established with Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen) CWD placed on each plot between November 2007 and February 2008. Soil samples were collected within 5 cm from CWD and more than 100 cm away from CWD in July, August and September 2013 and 2014. Microbial biomass was greater (pfunctional diversity (average well color development in Biolog Ecoplates) in both cover soils (pfunctional diversity by CWD application in upland reclamation has implications for accelerating upland reclamation after oil sands mining.

  4. Oil sand process-affected water treatment using coke adsorption

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gamal El-Din, M.; Pourrezaei, P.; Chelme-Ayala, P.; Zubot, W. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada). Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    2010-07-01

    Oil sands operations generate an array of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) that will eventually be released to the environment. This water must be evaluated within conventional and advanced water treatment technologies. Water management strategies propose options for increased reuse and recycling of water from settling ponds, as well as safe discharge. This presentation outlined the typical composition of OSPW. Constituents of concern in OSPW include suspended solids, hydrocarbons, salts, ammonia, trace metals, and dissolved organics such as naphthenic acids (NAs). Petroleum coke is one of the by-products generated from bitumen extraction in the oil sands industry and can be used as one of the possible treatment processes for the removal of organic compounds found in OSPW. Activated carbon adsorption is an effective process, able to adsorb organic substances such as oils, radioactive compounds, petroleum hydrocarbons, poly aromatic hydrocarbons and various halogenated compounds. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the production of activated carbon from petroleum coke using steam as the activation media; to determine the factors affecting the absorption of NAs; and to evaluate the activated coke adsorption capacity for the reduction of NAs and dissolved organic carbons present in OSPW. It was concluded that petroleum non-activated coke has the ability to decrease COD, alkalinity, and NA concentration. tabs., figs.

  5. Effects of an oil spill on the regrowth of emergent vegetation in a northern Alberta Lake.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wernick, Barbara G; deBruyn, Adrian M H; Patterson, Luanne; Chapman, Peter M

    2009-11-01

    Following a train derailment in August 2005, Wabamun Lake (Alberta, Canada) was exposed to approximately 149,500 L of bunker "C" oil, much of which became entrained in the abundant Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (= Scirpus validus) beds in the eastern basin of the lake. We assessed the regrowth of emergent macrophytes during the subsequent two growing seasons. Postspill measures of productivity, including transect length, total cover, and biomass were within the variability of prespill data collected in 2001, with the exception of a few specific areas in which biomass appeared to be affected. We conclude that exposure to oil during the late growing season in August 2005 and through the winter senescent period and regrowth in the summers of 2006 and 2007 did not cause large-scale changes to S. tabernaemontani communities. Physical factors such as cleanup activities and vegetation management appeared to be responsible for the reduced regrowth observed at some locations. Few previous studies have been published on the effects of oil spilled into freshwater on macrophyte communities; thus, the results of this study are expected to provide useful information for the assessment of future freshwater oil spills.

  6. Laboratory Observations of Artificial Sand and Oil Agglomerates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenkins, III, Robert L.; Dalyander, Patricia (Soupy); Allison Penko,; Long, Joseph W.

    2018-04-27

    Sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) form when weathered oil reaches the surf zone and combines with suspended sediments. The presence of large SOAs in the form of thick mats (up to 10 centimeters [cm] in height and up to 10 square meters [m2] in area) and smaller SOAs, sometimes referred to as surface residual balls (SRBs), may lead to the re-oiling of beaches previously affected by an oil spill. A limited number of numerical modeling and field studies exist on the transport and dynamics of centimeter-scale SOAs and their interaction with the sea floor. Numerical models used to study SOAs have relied on shear-stress formulations to predict incipient motion. However, uncertainty exists as to the accuracy of applying these formulations, originally developed for sand grains in a uniformly sorted sediment bed, to larger, nonspherical SOAs. In the current effort, artificial sand and oil agglomerates (aSOAs) created with the size, density, and shape characteristics of SOAs were studied in a small-oscillatory flow tunnel. These experiments expanded the available data on SOA motion and interaction with the sea floor and were used to examine the applicability of shear-stress formulations to predict SOA mobility. Data collected during these two sets of experiments, including photographs, video, and flow velocity, are presented in this report, along with an analysis of shear-stress-based formulations for incipient motion. The results showed that shear-stress thresholds for typical quartz sand predicted the incipient motion of aSOAs with 0.5–1.0-cm diameters, but were inaccurate for aSOAs with larger diameters (>2.5 cm). This finding implies that modified parameterizations of incipient motion may be necessary under certain combinations of aSOA characteristics and environmental conditions.

  7. Opportunities in oil sands production bi-products

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gunardson, H. [Air Products Canada Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2006-07-01

    This presentation investigated potential by-products from oil sands production and upgrading facilities, and examined the extent to which carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects can absorb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands developments. Oil sands production by-products included bitumen and petroleum coke; heat; hydrocarbon off-gases; hydrogen; syngas; sulfur; metals; and CO{sub 2} sources from combustion processes and hydrogen production. CO{sub 2} concentrations from flue gases are typically less than 17 per cent, and contain contaminants such as nitrogen, particulates, nitrogen oxide (NO{sub x}) and sulphur dioxide (SO{sub x}). CO{sub 2} concentrations derived from hydrogen production have a high purity and contain water vapour, unreacted hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulphide (H{sub 2}S) and volatile metals. Existing carbon capture technologies are currently not capable of processing large volumes of CO{sub 2}. However, small volumes of CO{sub 2} are used in the manufacturing of carbonated beverages. Larger volumes of CO{sub 2} are used in EOR and coalbed methane (CBM) recovery as well as in CO{sub 2} sequestration. Carbon capture technologies include amine scrubbers, selexol and rectisol gasification processes, and Benfield Catacarb processes. The market price for CO{sub 2} in EOR and gas recovery is approximately $35 per tonne. However, combustion processes typically cost $103 per tonne. CO{sub 2} sources and sinks were also identified. It is estimated that total CO{sub 2} sequestration using EOR will equal 200 mega tonnes by 2030. Apart from gasification processes, all CO{sub 2} sources are uneconomic using current technology. The oil sands industry is in need of a policy framework and support for infrastructure investments for CO{sub 2} pipelines and sequestration facilities. tabs., figs.

  8. One last boom : Alberta's rapidly expanding oil mines may be the largest and messiest industrial projects in Canadian history

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Laird, G.

    2001-01-01

    The bitumen deposits of Alberta, 2.5 trillion barrels of oil, of which 300 billion are considered recoverable, represent the greatest single petroleum resources of the world, based on surface and subsurface calculations. Four deposits, covering an area the size of New Brunswick, are located in the area stretching from Cold Lake to Lloydminster (east of Edmonton), the upper reaches of the Athabasca River east to the Peace River. The largest by far is the Athabasca deposit in the vicinity of Fort McMurray, spread over 4.3 million hectares. The deposit is at the centre of the biggest industrial expansion witnessed by the province. Since 1996, 38 billion dollars worth of new projects have been announced. It is estimated that by 2025, the bulk of the national oil production will originate from open-pit mines and underground wells around Fort McMurray. This oil boom has economic benefits for the population, from welders to real estate agents to stakeholders. The environmental effects are not as beneficial. Huge strip mines are being carved next to the Athabasca River, with great amounts of greenhouse gases emissions. The Suncor and Syncrude oil-sands plants combined represent the fourth largest carbon dioxide emission source in Canada. The development of these projects dramatically affects global warming. The nitrogen and sulphur emissions could also acidify lakes and soil in the region. The Suncor mine resulted from the first boom to hit Fort McMurray in 1964. The Syncrude mine is the result of the second boom which took place in 1973. In 1996, Suncor installed a sulphur scrubber system that removes 95 per cent of sulphur dioxide from the electricity and steam-generation plant. Suncor also invested in various projects, such as wind-power, rainforest cultivation and biomass generation. The volume of pollution increases as the operations expand, even if operations are cleaner. If no new gains in pollution control are achieved, it is expected that by 2015, the total

  9. Surface and groundwater management in the oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dixon, D.G.; Barker, J.

    2004-02-01

    A study was conducted to examine the sublethal effects of oil sands constituents on gill and liver histopathology and fish reproduction. Field studies of food web dynamics were conducted using stable isotopes, including oil sands constituents degradation isotope studies. The objective was to determine changes in food web dynamics associated with reclamation methods and maturity using stable isotopes. The study related changes in toxicity to changes in ground and surface naphthenic acids concentration and composition. It also demonstrated the natural attenuation of toxic chemicals as they travel through groundwater to potential surface water receptors. A methodology was developed to assess the natural attenuation capacity for future situations involving process-affected groundwater of different chemistry with different critical potential contaminants such as sulphides, metals, and specific organics. The mobility and natural attenuation of process water chemicals migrating in groundwater was also assessed. tabs., figs

  10. Field observations of artificial sand and oil agglomerates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalyander, Patricia (Soupy); Long, Joseph W.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; McLaughlin, Molly R.; Mickey, Rangley C.

    2015-01-01

    Oil that comes into the surf zone following spills, such as occurred during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout, can mix with local sediment to form heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs), at times in the form of mats a few centimeters thick and tens of meters long. Smaller agglomerates that form in situ or pieces that break off of larger mats, sometimes referred to as surface residual balls (SRBs), range in size from sand-sized grains to patty-shaped pieces several centimeters (cm) in diameter. These mobile SOAs can cause beach oiling for extended periods following the spill, on the scale of years as in the case of DWH. Limited research, including a prior effort by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) investigating SOA mobility, alongshore transport, and seafloor interaction using numerical model output, focused on the physical dynamics of SOAs. To address this data gap, we constructed artificial sand and oil agglomerates (aSOAs) with sand and paraffin wax to mimic the size and density of genuine SOAs. These aSOAs were deployed in the nearshore off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, during a field experiment to investigate their movement and seafloor interaction. This report presents the methodology for constructing aSOAs and describes the field experiment. Data acquired during the field campaign, including videos and images of aSOA movement in the nearshore (1.5-meter and 0.5-meter water depth) and in the swash zone, are also presented in this report.

  11. Accelerated seed dispersal along linear disturbances in the Canadian oil sands region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, David; Ciuti, Simone; Barber, Quinn E; Willier, Caitlin; Nielsen, Scott E

    2018-03-19

    Habitat fragmentation is typically seen as inhibiting movement via erosion in connectivity, although some patterns of early-phase disturbance, such as narrow linear disturbances in otherwise undisturbed forests, may actually facilitate the dispersal of certain species. Such features are common in Alberta's oil sands region as legacies from seismic hydrocarbon exploration used to map oil reserves. Many of the ecological implications of these disturbances are unknown. Here, we investigate the effect of these forest dissections by experimentally testing dispersal patterns along seismic lines compared with adjacent forests using two proxy materials for wind-dispersed seeds, Typha latifolia seed and goose down feathers. We found that wind speeds were up to seven times higher and 95 th percentile seed dispersal distances nearly four times farther on seismic lines compared with undisturbed forests and the corresponding effect of these features on seed dispersal distances can be substantial, potentially facilitating future changes in composition and ecological processes in boreal forests. This raises important considerations for native and invasive species, particularly in the context of climate change and the associated importance of seed movement and migration.

  12. Oil sands mine planning and waste management using goal programming

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ben-Awuah, E.; Askari-Nasab, H.; Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB

    2010-01-01

    A goal programming method was used to plan waste management processes at an oil sands mine. This method requires the decision maker (DM) to set goals. Mine planning is used to determine a block extraction schedule that maximizes net present value (NPV). Due to land restrictions, tailings facilities are sited within the pit area and dykes are used to contain the tailings. Many of the materials used to construct the dykes come from the mining operation. The mine plan scheduled both ore and dyke material concurrently. Dykes were constructed simultaneously as the mine phase advanced. A model was used to classify an oil sands block model into different material types. A mixed integer goal programming (MIGP) method was used to generate a strategic schedule. Block clustering techniques were used to large-scale mine planning projects. The method was used to verify and validate synthetic and real case data related to the cost of mining all material as waste, and the extra cost of mining dyke material. A case study of an oil sands project was used to demonstrate the method. The study showed that the developed model generates a smooth and uniform strategic schedule for large-scale mine planning projects. tabs., figs.

  13. An empirical analysis of the impacts of taxes and royalties on the supply of conventional crude oil in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Amoah, B.

    1998-01-01

    The economic impact of taxes, royalties and government fiscal policy tools on conventional crude oil supply in Alberta was examined. A dynamic economic model of Alberta's conventional petroleum industry was developed and used to evaluate the quantitative impacts of government fiscal policies on exploration and extraction of conventional crude oil in the province. It was determined that taxes and royalties can shorten the life of the industry, reduce activity level, reduce ultimate recovery of conventional crude oil, render more of the established reserves sub-economic and create social welfare loss. It was also revealed that compared to provincial corporate income tax and crown royalties, federal corporate income tax has a larger adverse effect on the performance of the industry in terms of creating higher dead-weight loss and shortening the life of the industry

  14. Proceedings of the Canadian oil sands forum 2007 : creating excellence through innovation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2007-01-01

    The supply from Canada's oil sands industry is growing at an accelerated pace. This conference was intended for professionals in the oil sands industry seeking updated information on oil sands developments, transportation issues and future market challenges and opportunities. It was attended by a broad range of industry participants who addressed some of the critical issues involved in developing oil sands projects. Despite market opportunities which have resulted in a fast pace of development and continually evolving project plans, there are challenges and uncertainties that must be overcome in order to achieve projected levels of supply growth. It was noted that the business environment in the oil sands industry is continually changing in terms of current supply/market/refining situations and new market developments. The conference also addressed how capital cost and mega-project management issues are being addressed. Expanding market opportunities for Canada's growing oil sands supply were highlighted along with latest developments related to upgrading strategies. Market experts also discussed issues related to synthetic crude, heavy oil markets and the supply and demand of diluents. The sessions were entitled: challenges and opportunities in oil sands; oil sands business outlook; latest project development updates; integration of Canadian oil sands with U.S. refining; and, technology and oil sands innovations.The conference featured 16 presentations, of which 6 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. tabs., figs

  15. Energy Return on Investment of Canadian Oil Sands Extraction from 2009 to 2015

    OpenAIRE

    Ke Wang; Harrie Vredenburg; Jianliang Wang; Yi Xiong; Lianyong Feng

    2017-01-01

    Oil sands, as unconventional oil, are so essential to both Canada and the world that special attention should be paid to their extraction status, especially their energy efficiency. One of the most commonly used methods to evaluate energy efficiency is the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) analysis. This paper focuses on EROI analysis for both in situ oil sands and mining oil sands over the period of 2009 to 2015. This time period represents an extension to periods previously considered by o...

  16. Detection of residual oil-sand-derived organic material in developing soils of reclamation sites by ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noah, Mareike; Poetz, Stefanie; Vieth-Hillebrand, Andrea; Wilkes, Heinz

    2015-06-02

    The reconstruction of disturbed landscapes back to working ecosystems is an issue of increasing importance for the oil sand areas in Alberta, Canada. In this context, the fate of oil-sand-derived organic material in the tailings sands used for reclamation is of utmost environmental importance. Here we use electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry of maltene fractions to identify compositional variations over a complete oil sand mining and recultivation process chain. On the basis of bulk compound class distributions and percentages of unique elemental compositions, we identify specific compositional features that are related to the different steps of the process chain. The double bond equivalent and carbon number distributions of the N1 and S1O2 classes are almost invariant along the process chain, despite a significant decrease in overall abundance. We thus suggest that these oil-sand-derived components can be used as sensitive tracers of residual bitumen, even in soils from relatively old reclamation sites. The patterns of the O2, O3, and O4 classes may be applied to assess process-chain-related changes in organic matter composition, including the formation of plant-derived soil organic matter on the reclamation sites. The N1O2 species appear to be related to unidentified processes in the tailings ponds but do not represent products of aerobic biodegradation of pyrrolic nitrogen compounds.

  17. Applications of Nuclear Energy to Oil Sands and Hydrogen Production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Duffey, R.B.; Miller, A.; Kuran, S.

    2011-01-01

    Many novel and needed applications of nuclear energy arise in today's energy-hungry, economically challenged world, and in solving tomorrow's search for a globally carbon-constrained and sustainable energy supply. Not only can nuclear power produce low cost electricity, it can provide co-generation of process heat, desalinated water, and hydrogen with negligible greenhouse gas emissions. In each of these new applications, nuclear energy is competing against, or displacing conventional and established use of natural gas or coal in thermal power plants and boilers. Therefore, there must be a compelling case, in terms of supply certainty, stability, safety, security, and acceptability. In addition, a synergistic relation must exist or be created with the existing power and energy markets, the use of windpower, and the needs for low-cost supply with negligible greenhouse gas emissions and carbon 'footprint'. The development of Canada's oil sands resource depends on a substantial energy input for extraction and upgrading. So far, this input has been supplied by natural gas, a resource that (a) is a premium fuel; (b) has constrained availability; and (c) produces significant CO 2 emissions. For the oil sands extraction process, natural gas is the current energy source used to generate the steam for in-situ heating, the power to drive the separation equipment, and the hydrogen for varying degrees of upgrading before piping. Nothwithstanding the current imbalance between supply and demand for gas within North America, the very demand of the oil sands for prodigious amounts of natural gas has itself the potential to force higher prices and create supply constraints for natural gas. Rooted in the energy equivalence of oil and gas, there is a long-established link between American gas prices whereby one bbl of oil is worth 7 GJ of natural gas. Temporary supply/demand imbalances apart, only cheap oil can maintain cheap gas. Only the improbability of cheap oil will maintain low

  18. Sources of particulate matter components in the Athabasca oil sands region: investigation through a comparison of trace element measurement methodologies

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. Phillips-Smith

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available The province of Alberta, Canada, is home to three oil sands regions which, combined, contain the third largest deposit of oil in the world. Of these, the Athabasca oil sands region is the largest. As part of Environment and Climate Change Canada's program in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring program, concentrations of trace elements in PM2. 5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 µm in diameter were measured through two campaigns that involved different methodologies: a long-term filter campaign and a short-term intensive campaign. In the long-term campaign, 24 h filter samples were collected once every 6 days over a 2-year period (December 2010–November 2012 at three air monitoring stations in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo. For the intensive campaign (August 2013, hourly measurements were made with an online instrument at one air monitoring station; daily filter samples were also collected. The hourly and 24 h filter data were analyzed individually using positive matrix factorization. Seven emission sources of PM2. 5 trace elements were thereby identified: two types of upgrader emissions, soil, haul road dust, biomass burning, and two sources of mixed origin. The upgrader emissions, soil, and haul road dust sources were identified through both the methodologies and both methodologies identified a mixed source, but these exhibited more differences than similarities. The second upgrader emissions and biomass burning sources were only resolved by the hourly and filter methodologies, respectively. The similarity of the receptor modeling results from the two methodologies provided reassurance as to the identity of the sources. Overall, much of the PM2. 5-related trace elements were found to be anthropogenic, or at least to be aerosolized through anthropogenic activities. These emissions may in part explain the previously reported higher levels of trace elements in snow

  19. Metakaolin study : pre-feasibility review of the potential for developing metakaolin from oil sands operations for use in concrete

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    De Spot, M.; Wojtarowicz, M.

    2003-11-01

    Oil sands operations produce vast quantities of tailing, which contains extremely fine clays that prevent the re-use of process water from tailings ponds. Research has indicated that this material can be processed into a product similar to metakaolin (MK), which has many commercial uses. This report evaluated the potential of MK recuperated from oil sands tailing ponds in Northern Alberta as a supplementary cementing material (SCM) for concrete. A background of the project, as well as a complete technical, economic, and environmental evaluation were presented. The intention was to extract the clay from the ponds to produce SCM and to provide 2 benefits: clarifying the process water for re-use; and the production of a valuable by-product. It was noted that SCM has lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the use of Portland cement (PC) in concrete. It was concluded that while technically feasible, the concept is not economically feasible. Material produced from the pond was similar to MK, but had lower quality and performance than products already on the market. Another shortcoming was that the calcined mature fine tailings (CMFT) were gray while real MK is white. Furthermore, the oil sands region is isolated, landlocked and far from any concrete markets. The cost of extracting, drying, calcining and transporting the material means that CMFT cannot compete against other materials such as fly ash. It was concluded that the oil sands industry will continue to search for ways to resolve its water and pond issues. If CMFT with improved quality, colour and cost and be produced, then it will be worthwhile to re-examine the case. 19 refs., 3 tabs., 6 figs.

  20. Episodic acidification of 5 rivers in Canada's oil sands during snowmelt: A 25-year record.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, A C; Chambers, P A; Jeffries, D S

    2017-12-01

    Episodic acidification during snowmelt is a natural phenomenon that can be intensified by acidic deposition from heavy industry. In Canada's oil sands region, acid deposition is estimated to be as much as 5% of the Canadian total and large tracks of northeastern Alberta are considered acid-sensitive because of extensive peatland habitats with poorly weathered soils. To identify the frequency, duration and severity of acidification episodes during snowmelt (the predominant hydrological period for delivery of priority pollutants from atmospheric oil sands emissions to surface waters), a 25-year record (1989 to 2014) of automated water quality data (pH, temperature, conductivity) was assembled for 3 rivers along with a shorter record (2012-2014) for another 2 rivers. Acidic episodes (pH<7, ANC<0) were recorded during 39% of all 83 snowmelt events. The severity (duration x magnitude) of episodic acidification increased exponentially over the study period (r 2 =0.56, P<0.01) and was strongly correlated (P<0.01) with increasing maximum air temperature and weakly correlated with regional land development (P=0.06). Concentrations of aluminum and 11 priority pollutants (Sb, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Se, Ag, Tl and Zn) were greatest (P<0.01) during low (<6.5) pH episodes, particularly when coincident with high discharge, such that aluminum and copper concentrations were at times high enough to pose a risk to juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Although low pH (pH<6.5) was observed during only 8% of 32 acidification episodes, when present, low pH typically lasted 10days. Episodic surface water acidification during snowmelt, and its potential effects on aquatic biota, is therefore an important consideration in the design of long-term monitoring of these typically alkaline (pH=7.72±0.05) rivers. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Bacterial Root Microbiome of Plants Growing in Oil Sands Reclamation Covers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eduardo K. Mitter

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Oil sands mining in northern Alberta impacts a large footprint, but the industry is committed to reclaim all disturbed land to an ecologically healthy state in response to environmental regulations. However, these newly reconstructed landscapes may be limited by several factors that include low soil nutrient levels and reduced microbial activity. Rhizosphere microorganisms colonize plant roots providing hosts with nutrients, stimulating growth, suppressing disease and increasing tolerance to abiotic stress. High-throughput sequencing techniques can be used to provide a detailed characterization of microbial community structure. This study used 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize the bacterial root microbiome associated with annual barley (Hordeum vulgare and sweet clover (Melilotus albus growing in an oil sands reclamation area. Our results indicate that Proteobacteria dominated the endosphere, whereas other phyla such as Acidobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes were restricted to the rhizosphere, suggesting that plants have the ability to select for certain soil bacterial consortia. The bacterial community in the endosphere compartments were less rich and diverse compared to the rhizosphere. Furthermore, it was apparent that sweet clover plants were more selective, as the community exhibited a lower richness and diversity compared to barley. Members of the family Rhizobiaceae, such as Sinorhizobium and Rhizobium were mainly associated with clover, whereas Acholeplasma (wall-less bacteria transmitted by insects was unique to barley. Genera from the Enterobacteriaceae family, such as Yersinia and Lentzea were also mostly detected in barley, while other genera such Pseudomonas and Pantoea were able to successfully colonize both plants. Endophytic bacterial profiles varied within the same plant species at different sampling locations; however, these differences were driven by factors other than slope positions or cover management. Our results

  2. First results from the oil sands passive air monitoring network for polycyclic aromatic compounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuster, Jasmin K; Harner, Tom; Su, Ky; Mihele, Cristian; Eng, Anita

    2015-03-03

    Results are reported from an ongoing passive air monitoring study for polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, Canada. Polyurethane foam (PUF) disk passive air samplers were deployed for consecutive 2-month periods from November 2010 to June 2012 at 17 sites. Samples were analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated PAHs, dibenzothiophene and its alkylated derivatives (DBTs). Relative to parent PAHs, alkylated PAHs and DBTs are enriched in bitumen and therefore considered to be petrogenic markers. Concentrations in air were in the range 0.03-210 ng/m(3), 0.15-230 ng/m(3) and 0.01-61 ng/m(3) for ∑PAHs, ∑alkylated PAHs and ΣDBTs, respectively. An exponential decline of the PAC concentrations in air with distance from mining areas and related petrogenic sources was observed. The most significant exponential declines were for the alkylated PAHs and DBTs and attributed to their association with mining-related emissions and near-source deposition, due to their lower volatility and greater association with depositing particles. Seasonal trends in concentrations in air for PACs were not observed for any of the compound classes. However, a forest fire episode during April to July 2011 resulted in greatly elevated PAH levels at all passive sampling locations. Alkylated PAHs and DBTs were not elevated during the forest fire period, supporting their association with petrogenic sources. Based on the results of this study, an "Athabasca PAC profile" is proposed as a potential source marker for the oil sands region. The profile is characterized by ∑PAHs/∑Alkylated PAHs = ∼0.2 and ∑PAHs/∑DBTs = ∼5.

  3. Source rock contributions to the Lower Cretaceous heavy oil accumulations in Alberta: a basin modeling study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berbesi, Luiyin Alejandro; di Primio, Rolando; Anka, Zahie; Horsfield, Brian; Higley, Debra K.

    2012-01-01

    The origin of the immense oil sand deposits in Lower Cretaceous reservoirs of the Western Canada sedimentary basin is still a matter of debate, specifically with respect to the original in-place volumes and contributing source rocks. In this study, the contributions from the main source rocks were addressed using a three-dimensional petroleum system model calibrated to well data. A sensitivity analysis of source rock definition was performed in the case of the two main contributors, which are the Lower Jurassic Gordondale Member of the Fernie Group and the Upper Devonian–Lower Mississippian Exshaw Formation. This sensitivity analysis included variations of assigned total organic carbon and hydrogen index for both source intervals, and in the case of the Exshaw Formation, variations of thickness in areas beneath the Rocky Mountains were also considered. All of the modeled source rocks reached the early or main oil generation stages by 60 Ma, before the onset of the Laramide orogeny. Reconstructed oil accumulations were initially modest because of limited trapping efficiency. This was improved by defining lateral stratigraphic seals within the carrier system. An additional sealing effect by biodegraded oil may have hindered the migration of petroleum in the northern areas, but not to the east of Athabasca. In the latter case, the main trapping controls are dominantly stratigraphic and structural. Our model, based on available data, identifies the Gordondale source rock as the contributor of more than 54% of the oil in the Athabasca and Peace River accumulations, followed by minor amounts from Exshaw (15%) and other Devonian to Lower Jurassic source rocks. The proposed strong contribution of petroleum from the Exshaw Formation source rock to the Athabasca oil sands is only reproduced by assuming 25 m (82 ft) of mature Exshaw in the kitchen areas, with original total organic carbon of 9% or more.

  4. Environmental building policy by the use of microalgae and decreasing of risks for Canadian oil sand sector development.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Avagyan, Armen B

    2017-09-01

    Environmental building recommendations aimed towards new environmental policies and management-changing decisions which as example demonstrated in consideration of the problems of Canadian oil sands operators. For the implementation of the circular economic strategy, we use an in-depth analysis of reported environmental after-consequence on all stages of the production process. The study addressed the promotion of innovative solutions for greenhouse gas emission, waste mitigation, and risk of falling in oil prices for operators of oil sands with creating market opportunities. They include the addition of microalgae biomass in tailings ponds for improvement of the microbial balance for the water speedily cleaning, recycling, and reusing with mitigation of GHG emissions. The use of food scraps for the nutrition of microalgae will reduce greenhouse gas emission minimally, on 0.33 MtCO 2 eq for Alberta and 2.63 MtCO 2 eq/year for Canada. Microalgae-derived biofuel can reduce this emission for Alberta on 11.9-17.9 MtCO 2 eq and for Canada on 71-106 MtCO 2 eq/year, and the manufacturing of other products will adsorb up to 135.6 MtCO 2 and produce 99.2 MtO 2 . The development of the Live Conserve Industry and principal step from non-efficient protection of the environment to its cultivation in a large scale with mitigation of GHG emission and waste as well as generating of O 2 and value-added products by the use of microalgae opens an important shift towards a new design and building of a biological system.

  5. Beyond eco-terrorism : the deeper issues affecting Alberta's oil patch

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1999-02-01

    Issues which have led to acts of sabotage in the Peace River country in northwestern Alberta are discussed. These acts are alleged to have been inspired by frustration and anger by rural Albertans over oil and gas pollution. Rural residents believe that activities such as well drilling, laying of pipelines, and the flaring of solution gas generate air emissions and other wastes which reduce the quality of air, water and soils, and harm the health of their livestock and crops, and have a direct impact on human health. This paper identifies the broad range of environmental and health issues that are currently known to be associated with the oil and gas industry. The findings of several independent scientific studies that corroborate the experiential evidence submitted by rural residents are discussed and some of the key socio-economic and political factors that are increasing the risk of environmental and health impacts are described. Recommendations for action by government and industry to respond to these issues are also presented. 1 tab., 3 figs

  6. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands: Volume 2. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1997-11-26

    The program is composed of 20 projects, of which 17 are laboratory bench or laboratory pilot scale processes or computer process simulations that are performed in existing facilities on the University of Utah campus in north-east Salt Lake City. These tasks are: (1) coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; (2) water-based recovery of bitumen; (3) oil sand pyrolysis in a continuous rotary kiln reactor; (4) oil sand pyrolysis in a large diameter fluidized bed reactor; (5) oil sand pyrolysis in a small diameter fluidized bed reactor; (6) combustion of spent sand in a transport reactor; (7) recovery and upgrading of oil sand bitumen using solvent extraction methods; (8) fixed-bed hydrotreating of Uinta Basin bitumens and bitumen-derived hydrocarbon liquids; (9) ebullieted bed hydrotreating of bitumen and bitumen derived liquids; (10) bitumen upgrading by hydropyrolysis; (11) evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high-energy jet fuels and other specialty products; (12) characterization of the bitumens and reservoir rocks from the Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (13) bitumen upgrading pilot plant recommendations; (14) liquid-solid separation and fine tailings thickening; (15) in-situ production of heavy oil from Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (16) oil sand research and development group analytical facility; and (17) process economics. This volume contains reports on nine of these projects, references, and a bibliography. 351 refs., 192 figs., 65 tabs.

  7. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands: Volume 1. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1997-11-26

    The program is composed of 20 projects, of which 17 are laboratory bench or laboratory pilot scale processes or computer process simulations that are performed in existing facilities on the University of Utah campus in north-east Salt Lake City. These tasks are: (1) coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; (2) water-based recovery of bitumen; (3) oil sand pyrolysis in a continuous rotary kiln reactor; (4) oil sand pyrolysis in a large diameter fluidized bed reactor; (5) oil sand pyrolysis in a small diameter fluidized bed reactor; (6) combustion of spent sand in a transport reactor; (7) recovery and upgrading of oil sand bitumen using solvent extraction methods; (8) fixed-bed hydrotreating of Uinta Basin bitumens and bitumen-derived hydrocarbon liquids; (9) ebullieted bed hydrotreating of bitumen and bitumen derived liquids; (10) bitumen upgrading by hydropyrolysis; (11) evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high-energy jet fuels and other specialty products; (12) characterization of the bitumens and reservoir rocks from the Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (13) bitumen upgrading pilot plant recommendations; (14) liquid-solid separation and fine tailings thickening; (15) in-situ production of heavy oil from Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (16) oil sand research and development group analytical facility; and (17) process economics. This volume contains an executive summary and reports for five of these projects. 137 figs., 49 tabs.

  8. Hot water generation for oil sands processing from enhanced geothermal systems: Process simulation for different hydraulic fracturing scenarios

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hofmann, Hannes; Babadagli, Tayfun; Zimmermann, Günter

    2014-01-01

    Highlights: • Low enthalpy Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) can provide hot water for oil sands processing. • A 5 km deep EGS can generate hot water at temperatures above 60 °C over a period of 30 years. • The cost is competitive as compared to the burning of natural gas. • The cost effective way to create an EGS in granitic basement rocks was the stimulation of complex natural fracture systems. • The savings in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to the burning of natural gas are enormous. - Abstract: The oil sands in northern Alberta, Canada are home to one of the largest hydrocarbon deposits on earth. Huge amounts of hot water—around 50–60 °C—are needed for the current extraction procedure and processing technology. The current practice of obtaining water from the Athabasca River and heating it by the burning of natural gas creates severe economic and environmental costs. In fact, 6% of Canada’s gas consumption is used for this purpose. As seen, the generation of huge amounts of fossil energy through oil sands extraction requires a substantial amount of fossil energy consumption (natural gas). Geothermal energy has the potential to significantly reduce natural gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at competitive costs. In this paper, we investigate how and whether or not the required hot water can be generated from the granitic basement rocks beneath the oil sands mining areas near Fort (Ft.) McMurray, located in the north east of Alberta. Hydraulic fracturing and resulting reservoir scenarios were simulated for different expected conditions in the region in order to find suitable fracturing strategies and conditions for an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS). The simulations show that suitable fracturing treatments can increase the hydraulic performance of the system and that EGS heat generation can significantly reduce the environmental impact at comparable costs associated with the current processing technology. With this effort

  9. Comparative Study of The Method Of Oil Extraction From Bemolanga Oil Sand From Madagascar

    OpenAIRE

    Robijaona Baholy

    2017-01-01

    This study seeks to determine the best way to extract oil from Bemolanga tar sands. The study was carried out using an experimental design. Solid-liquid extraction method using Soxhlet were performed in order to optimize the extraction of asphalt content in Bemolangatar sands and reduce its environmental impact. Two solvents were used: Chloroform and TetraChloroEthylene (TCE). Regarding the choice of solvent, chloroform offers the best of 98.42% extraction yield of which 90.32% of sand and 8...

  10. The Contribution of Oil Sands Industry Related Atmospheric THg and MeHg Deposition to Rivers of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wasiuta, V. L.; Cooke, C. A.; Kirk, J.; Chambers, P. A.; Alexander, A. C.; Rooney, R. C.

    2017-12-01

    Rapid development of Oil Sands deposits in northern Alberta (Canada) raises concerns about human health and environmental impacts. We present results from a three-year study of winter-time atmospheric deposition of total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in six tributary watersheds of the Athabasca River. Seasonal snowpack THg and MeHg concentrations were obtained from spring-time sampling throughout the oil sands region. Winter-time Hg loads were then modeled at watershed and sub-basin scales using ArcGIS geostatistical kriging. To determine the potential impacts of snowmelt on aquatic ecosystems, six rivers were sampled at high frequency over 2012 to 2014 ice-free seasons. Hydrologic year (HY) and first discharge peak loads were then calculated from linear extrapolation of measured concentrations and mean daily discharge. Results showed high THg and MeHg loads from atmospheric deposition around regional upgrading facilities with loads diminishing outwards. This reflects the large proportion of particle bound Hg with a short atmospheric residence time, and deposition close to emission sources. Snowpacks within the six watersheds contained substantial proportions of tributary river THg and MeHg loads. For example, HY2014 snowpacks contained 24 to 46 % of river MeHg loads. All rivers showed a large proportion of HY loads discharged, within a few weeks, in the spring first discharge peak. HY2014 snowpack MeHg loads were greater than river loads in the first discharge peak for all watersheds except the High Hills. This first discharge peak is important as it occurs during critical growth periods for aquatic life. Large differences in tributary river THg and MeHg loads suggest factors other than atmospheric deposition and watershed scale contributed to the load. Considerably higher THg and MeHg snowpack loads in the Muskeg Watershed relative to river export suggest substantial losses to catchment soils or wetlands during snowmelt. Evaluation of factors that could

  11. Energy Return on Investment of Canadian Oil Sands Extraction from 2009 to 2015

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ke Wang

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Oil sands, as unconventional oil, are so essential to both Canada and the world that special attention should be paid to their extraction status, especially their energy efficiency. One of the most commonly used methods to evaluate energy efficiency is the Energy Return on Investment (EROI analysis. This paper focuses on EROI analysis for both in situ oil sands and mining oil sands over the period of 2009 to 2015. This time period represents an extension to periods previously considered by other analyses. An extended Input-Output model is used to quantify indirect energy input, which has been ignored by previous analyses of oil sands extraction. Results of this paper show that EROI of both mining oil sands (range of value: 3.9–8 and in situ oil sands (range of value: 3.2–5.4 display an upward trend over the past 7 years; EROI of mining oil sands is generally higher, but is more fluctuating than the EROI of in situ oil sands. Compared with EROI of other hydrocarbons, the EROI of oil sands is still quite low, despite the fact that it is increasing gradually.

  12. A numerical/empirical technique for history matching and predicting cyclic steam performance in Canadian oil sands reservoirs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leshchyshyn, Theodore Henry

    The oil sands of Alberta contain some one trillion barrels of bitumen-in-place, most contained in the McMurray, Wabiskaw, Clearwater, and Grand Rapids formations. Depth of burial is 0--550 m, 10% of which is surface mineable, the rest recoverable by in-situ technology-driven enhanced oil recovery schemes. To date, significant commercial recovery has been attributed to Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) using vertical wellbores. Other techniques, such as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) are proving superior to other recovery methods for increasing early oil production but at initial higher development and/or operating costs. Successful optimization of bitumen production rates from the entire reservoir is ultimately decided by the operator's understanding of the reservoir in its original state and/or the positive and negative changes which occur in oil sands and heavy oil deposits upon heat stimulation. Reservoir description is the single most important factor in attaining satisfactory history matches and forecasts for optimized production of the commercially-operated processes. Reservoir characterization which lacks understanding can destroy a project. For example, incorrect assumptions in the geological model for the Wolf Lake Project in northeast Alberta resulted in only about one-half of the predicted recovery by the original field process. It will be shown here why the presence of thin calcite streaks within oil sands can determine the success or failure of a commercial cyclic steam project. A vast amount of field data, mostly from the Primrose Heavy Oil Project (PHOP) near Cold Lake, Alberta, enabled the development a simple set of correlation curves for predicting bitumen production using CSS. A previously calibtrated thermal numerical simulation model was used in its simplist form, that is, a single layer, radial grid blocks, "fingering" or " dilation" adjusted permeability curves, and no simulated fracture, to generate the first cycle production

  13. Turbine Fuels from Tar Sands Bitumen and Heavy Oil. Phase I. Preliminary Process Analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1985-04-09

    JP-4, upgrading, refining, tar sands, bitumen, 21 04 05 heavy crude oil, hydrotreating , hydrocracking, hydrovisbreak 07 01 03 ina. delayed coking...significant reserves of coal , shale, heavy crudes, and tar sands. Coal , because it is more hydrogen deficient than either shale oil or bitumen, is more...Bitumen from Santa Rosa tar sands was processed in a single case study (Zi) of high severity two-stage residual oil hydrotreating . Low ash and low metals

  14. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) vertical column density measurements by Pandora spectrometer over the Canadian oil sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fioletov, Vitali E.; McLinden, Chris A.; Cede, Alexander; Davies, Jonathan; Mihele, Cristian; Netcheva, Stoyka; Li, Shao-Meng; O'Brien, Jason

    2016-07-01

    Vertical column densities (VCDs) of SO2 retrieved by a Pandora spectral sun photometer at Fort McKay, Alberta, Canada, from 2013 to 2015 were analysed. The Fort McKay site is located in the Canadian oil sands region, approximately 20 km north of two major SO2 sources (upgraders), with total emission of about 45 kt yr-1. Elevated SO2 VCD values were frequently recorded by the instrument, with the highest values of about 9 Dobson Units (DU; DU = 2.69 × 1016 molecules cm-2). Comparisons with co-located in situ measurements demonstrated that there was a very good correlation between VCDs and surface concentrations in some cases, while in other cases, elevated VCDs did not correspond to high surface concentrations, suggesting the plume was above the ground. Elevated VCDs and surface concentrations were observed when the wind direction was from south to southeast, i.e. from the direction of the two local SO2 sources. The precision of the SO2 measurements, estimated from parallel measurements by two Pandora instruments at Toronto, is 0.17 DU. The total uncertainty of Pandora SO2 VCD, estimated using measurements when the wind direction was away from the sources, is less than 0.26 DU (1σ). Comparisons with integrated SO2 profiles from concurrent aircraft measurements support these estimates.

  15. Alberta industrial synergy CO2 programs initiative

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yildirim, E.

    1998-01-01

    The various industrial sectors within Alberta produce about 350,000 tonnes of CO 2 per day. This presentation was concerned with how this large volume and high concentration of CO 2 can be used in industrial and agricultural applications, because every tonne of CO 2 used for such purposes is a tonne that does not end up in the atmosphere. There is a good potential for an industrial synergy between the producers and users of CO 2 . The Alberta Industrial Synergy CO 2 Programs Initiative was established to ultimately achieve a balance between the producers of CO 2 and the users of CO 2 by creating ways to use the massive quantities of CO 2 produced by Alberta's hydrocarbon-based economy. The Alberta CO 2 Research Steering Committee was created to initiate and support CO 2 programs such as: (1) CO 2 use in enhanced oil recovery, (2) creation of a CO 2 production inventory, (3) survey of CO 2 users and potential users, (4) investigation of process issues such as power generation, oil sands and cement manufacturing, and (5) biofixation by plants, (6) other disposal options (e.g. in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, in aquifers, in tailings ponds, in coal beds). The single most important challenge was identified as 'rationalizing the formation of the necessary infrastructure'. Failing to do that will greatly impede efforts directed towards CO 2 utilization

  16. Influence of Oil Saturation Upon Spectral Induced Polarization of Oil Bearing Sands

    Science.gov (United States)

    The presence of oil in an unconsolidated granular porous material such as sand changes both the resistivity of the material and the value of the phase shift between the low-frequency current and the voltage. The resistivity and the phase angle can be written as a complex-valued r...

  17. Identification of causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Puttaswamy, N.; Liber, K.

    2010-01-01

    The potential causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity were investigated. Chronic 7-day toxicity tests were conducted to demonstrate that oil sands coke leachates (CL) are acutely toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia (C. dubia). CLs were generated in a laboratory to perform toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) tests in order to investigate the causes of the CL toxicity. The coke was subjected to a 15-day batch leaching process at 5.5 and 9.5 pH values. The leachates were then filtered and used for chemical and toxicological characterization. The 7-day estimates for the C. dubia survival were 6.3 for a pH of 5.5 and 28.7 per cent for the 9.5 CLs. The addition of EDTA significantly improved survival and reproduction in a pH of 5.5 CL, but not in a pH of 9.5 CL. The toxicity of the pH 5.5 CL was removed with a cationic resin treatment. The toxicity of the 9.5 pH LC was removed using an anion resin treatment. Toxicity re-appeared when nickel (Ni) and vanadium (V) were added back to the resin-treated CLs. Results of the study suggested that Ni and V were acting as primary toxicants in the pH 5.5 CL, while V was the primary cause of toxicity in the pH 9.5 CL.

  18. Oil Sands Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) 5 year report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fawcett, K.

    2003-05-01

    This 5 year report outlined and examined the activities of the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) from its introduction in 1997 up to 2001. The RAMP is a multi-stakeholder program comprised of industry and government representatives as well as members of aboriginal groups and environmental organizations. The objectives of RAMP are to monitor aquatic environments in the oil sands region in order to allow for assessment of regional trends and cumulative effects, as well as to provide baseline data against which impact predictions of recent environmental impact assessments can be verified. Scientific programs conducted as part of RAMP during the 5-year period included water quality and sediment quality analyses; fish monitoring; benthic communities monitoring; water quality and aquatic vegetation analyses of wetlands; and hydrology and climate monitoring. RAMP's programs have expanded annually in scope as a result of increased oil sands development in the region. This report provided outlines of RAMP's individual program objectives and organizational structures, as well as details of all studies conducted for each year. Data were collected for all major study areas were presented, and program methodologies for assessing and identifying trends were outlined. refs., tabs., figs

  19. Elucidating mechanisms of toxic action of dissolved organic chemicals in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morandi, Garrett D; Wiseman, Steve B; Guan, Miao; Zhang, Xiaowei W; Martin, Jonathan W; Giesy, John P

    2017-11-01

    Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is generated during extraction of bitumen in the surface-mining oil sands industry in Alberta, Canada, and is acutely and chronically toxic to aquatic organisms. It is known that dissolved organic compounds in OSPW are responsible for most toxic effects, but knowledge of the specific mechanism(s) of toxicity, is limited. Using bioassay-based effects-directed analysis, the dissolved organic fraction of OSPW has previously been fractionated, ultimately producing refined samples of dissolved organic chemicals in OSPW, each with distinct chemical profiles. Using the Escherichia coli K-12 strain MG1655 gene reporter live cell array, the present study investigated relationships between toxic potencies of each fraction, expression of genes and characterization of chemicals in each of five acutely toxic and one non-toxic extract of OSPW derived by use of effects-directed analysis. Effects on expressions of genes related to response to oxidative stress, protein stress and DNA damage were indicative of exposure to acutely toxic extracts of OSPW. Additionally, six genes were uniquely responsive to acutely toxic extracts of OSPW. Evidence presented supports a role for sulphur- and nitrogen-containing chemical classes in the toxicity of extracts of OSPW. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Exploring the biodegradation and toxicity of naphthenic acids present in Athabasca oil sands process affected waters using simulated wetlands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Toor, N.; Liber, K. [Saskatchewan Univ., Regina, SK (Canada); MacKinnon, M. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Fedorak, P. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2007-07-01

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) are a persistent group of dissolved organic acids found in oil sands process affected water (OSPW) from the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) in northern Alberta. This study investigated the feasibility of reducing the toxicity of OSPW in wetland environments, and proposed a strategy for reclamation at the AOS. Laboratory microcosms were used to mimic natural wetlands. The purpose was to determine if the toxicities of OSPWs generated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. (Syncrude) and Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) change with time as a result of aging and biodegradation. Experiments involved 2 types of OSPW obtained from Syncrude and Suncor. Nutrient availability (nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment) was increased for both short and long hydraulic retention times (40 and 400 days). The NAs found in the OSPW were tracked over the course of one year using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and Microtox bioassays. The objective was to determine the relationships between total NA concentrations, the degree to which different sub-groups of NAs are biodegraded and any potential reduction in OSPW toxicity.

  1. Health assessment of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on the oil sands using stress, immune function and growth indicators

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harms, N.J.; Smits, J.E. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    Oil sand mining companies in Alberta continue to explore reclamation strategies for tailings water and are evaluating the ecological effectiveness of constructed wetlands for the bioremediation of liquid and solid tailings contaminated with naphthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and dissolved inorganic ions. The success of reclaimed sites and ecosystem health can be measured by examining health variables in wild tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting on experimental wetlands receiving tailings or water from tailings ponds. This presentation reported on a study that measured clutch size, egg mass, and hatching and fledging success of 40 breeding pairs of tree swallows on 3 experimental wetlands on Suncor Energy Inc. and Syncrude Canada Ltd. oil sands leases. The Shallow Wetlands/Demonstration Pond (Syncrude), Consolidated Tailings and Natural Wetlands (Suncor) represent sites of different ages and different categories of wetland reclamation, notably mature, maturing, and newly reclaimed. Due to lack of nesting success on the selected reference site, the Shallow Wetlands/Demonstration Pond was selected as the reference site because it has undergone nearly complete bioremediation and had a very low level of contamination. Nestling growth and survival were measured in 199 tree swallows nestlings on the 3 experimental wetlands. Two mid-weight nestlings from 12 nest boxes on each study site were also examined for feather corticosterone levels and adaptive immune function.

  2. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Quarterly report, April--June 1993

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-07-01

    Accomplishments are briefly described for the following tasks: environmental impact statement; coupled fluidized bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; water-based recovery of bitumen; rotary kiln process for recovery of bitumen and combustion of coke sand; recovery of bitumen from oil sands using fluidized bed reactors and combustion of spent sands in transport reactors; recovery of bitumen from oil sand and upgrading of bitumen by solvent extraction; catalytic and thermal upgrading of bitumens and bitumen-derived liquids; evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high energy jet fuels and other specialty products; development of mathematical models for bitumen recovery and processing; completion of the cost examination study of the pilot plant restoration; development studies of equipment for three-product gravity separation of bitumen and sand; determine thickener requirements; and environmental studies of the North Salt Lake pilot plant rehabilitation and eventual operation and those environmental problems associated with eventual commercial products.

  3. Breaking the bottleneck : how best can we bring oil sands products to demanding markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Prince, D.

    2006-01-01

    Alberta-based Altex Energy Ltd. is pursuing the development of an innovative heavy oil/bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the United States Gulf Coast (USGC). This energy infrastructure development company is led by a proven management team that developed and constructed the 3,700 km long Alliance Pipeline system. This presentation included a map of the $3.7 billion dollar Alliance Pipeline that identified the mainline compressor stations, lateral compressor stations, area offices and head offices. It was noted that oilsands will represent the most significant resource plays for many years. A graph indicating bitumen supply forecasts from 2005 to 2020 suggests that bitumen production will have exponential growth over the foreseeable future. Labor, materials and infrastructure limitations will create barriers to oilsands growth, as will uncertain market access. For that reason, assured pipeline capacity is needed along with an infrastructure to refineries and a favourable competitive balance for Canadian producers. The presentation addressed issues regarding marketing choices and the challenges of upgrading in Alberta. The economics of diluting heavy oil was also discussed along with industry response to the diluent challenge. Altex's proposed solution of a new direct greenfield pipeline from Alberta to the USGC would reach the largest refinery market in North America as well as the largest heavy oil/bitumen consuming regions. The Altex solution would be complementary to heavy oil/bitumen in Alberta. The proprietary pipeline technology permits alternative diluents, eliminating much of the diluent penalty. It mitigates the risks of upgrading in Alberta and competes on a cost basis with other expansion alternatives. The Altex pipeline system eliminates the need for costly condensate diluent, but accepts all current diluents. It transports up to 90 per cent more bitumen than clean diluted bitumen in a conventional pipeline. It can also transport as much as 175 per cent

  4. Degradation and aquatic toxicity of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected waters using simulated wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toor, Navdeep S; Franz, Eric D; Fedorak, Phillip M; MacKinnon, Michael D; Liber, Karsten

    2013-01-01

    Oil sands process-affected waters (OSPWs) produced during the extraction of bitumen at the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) located in northeastern Alberta, Canada, are toxic to many aquatic organisms. Much of this toxicity is related to a group of dissolved organic acids known as naphthenic acids (NAs). Naphthenic acids are a natural component of bitumen and are released into process water during the separation of bitumen from the oil sand ore by a caustic hot water extraction process. Using laboratory microcosms as an analogue of a proposed constructed wetland reclamation strategy for OSPW, we evaluated the effectiveness of these microcosms in degrading NAs and reducing the aquatic toxicity of OSPW over a 52-week test period. Experimental manipulations included two sources of OSPW (one from Syncrude Canada Ltd. and one from Suncor Energy Inc.), two different hydraulic retention times (HRTs; 40 and 400 d), and increased nutrient availability (added nitrate and phosphate). Microcosms with a longer HRT (for both OSPWs) showed higher reductions in total NAs concentrations (64-74% NAs reduction, p100% v/v) independent of HRT. However, EC20s from separate Microtox® bioassays were relatively unchanged when comparing the input and microcosm waters at both HRTs over the 52-week study period (p>0.05), indicating that some sub-lethal toxicity persisted under these experimental conditions. The present study demonstrated that given sufficiently long HRTs, simulated wetland microcosms containing OSPW significantly reduced total NAs concentrations and acute toxicity, but left behind a persistent component of the NAs mixture that appeared to be associated with residual chronic toxicity. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Initial geochemical characteristics of fluid fine tailings in an oil sands end pit lake

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dompierre, Kathryn A. [Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5A9 (Canada); Lindsay, Matthew B.J., E-mail: matt.lindsay@usask.ca [Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5E2 (Canada); Cruz-Hernández, Pablo [Department of Geology, University of Huelva, Campus ‘El Carmen’, E-21071 Huelva (Spain); Halferdahl, Geoffrey M. [Environmental Research and Development, Syncrude Canada Limited, Edmonton, Alberta T6N 1H4 (Canada)

    2016-06-15

    Geochemical characteristics of fluid fine tailings (FFT) were examined in Base Mine Lake (BML), which is the first full-scale demonstration oil sands end pit lake (EPL) in northern Alberta, Canada. Approximately 186 Mm{sup 3} of FFT was deposited between 1994 and 2012, before BML was established on December 31, 2012. Bulk FFT samples (n = 588) were collected in July and August 2013 at various depths at 15 sampling sites. Temperature, solid content, electrical conductivity (EC), pH, Eh and alkalinity were measured for all samples. Detailed geochemical analyses were performed on a subset of samples (n = 284). Pore-water pH decreased with depth by approximately 0.5 within the upper 10 m of the FFT. Major pore-water constituents included Na (880 ± 96 mg L{sup −1}) and Cl (560 ± 95 mg L{sup −1}); Ca (19 ± 4.1 mg L{sup −1}), Mg (11 ± 2.0 mg L{sup −1}), K (16 ± 2.3 mg L{sup −1}) and NH{sub 3} (9.9 ± 4.7 mg L{sup −1}) were consistently observed. Iron and Mn concentrations were low within FFT pore water, whereas SO{sub 4} concentrations decreased sharply across the FFT–water interface. Geochemical modeling indicated that FeS{sub (s)} precipitation was favoured under SO{sub 4}-reducing conditions. Pore water was also under-saturated with respect to gypsum [CaSO{sub 4}·2H{sub 2}O], and near saturation with respect to calcite [CaCO{sub 3}], dolomite [CaMg(CO{sub 3}){sub 2}] and siderite [FeCO{sub 3}]. X-ray diffraction (XRD) suggested that carbonate-mineral dissolution largely depleted calcite and dolomite. X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy revealed the presence of FeS{sub (s)}, pyrite [FeS{sub 2}], and siderite. Carbonate-mineral dissolution and secondary mineral precipitation have likely contributed to FFT dewatering and settlement. However, the long-term importance of these processes within EPLs remains unknown. These results provide a reference for assessing the long-term geochemical evolution of oil sands EPLs, and offer

  6. Should upgrading and refining be enhanced in Alberta?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Asgarpour, S.

    2006-01-01

    Although world oil prices are rising, the price of bitumen remains stable. It was noted that surplus refinery capacity is disappearing and that skilled labour, infrastructure, transportation systems, environmental management and technology development are among some of the challenges facing heavy hydrocarbon development. Pie charts indicating global reserves of crude oil and heavy crude oil showed that although the Middle East leads in world proven oil reserves, nearly half of the heavy crude oil and natural bitumen deposits are in Canada. As a global energy leader, Alberta is using its' world class expertise to develop the vast energy resources of the province and to market these resources and abilities to the world. This presentation summarized processing activities in Alberta and outlined the markets for petrochemicals. A graph representing North American petroleum supply and demand from 2001 to 2019 was also presented along with a review of Alberta's upgrading and refining capacity and infrastructure opportunities for crude oil, natural gas, petrochemicals and electricity. Alberta's crude oil markets by 2020 are likely to be the Far East, California, Heredity's, Wyoming, Chicago, Cushing, United States Gulf Coast, and the East Coast. The benefits of upgrading in Alberta include inexpensive feedstock, existing upgrader and petrochemical sites and low transportation costs. In addition, more refining capacity in the province would provide market diversification for bitumen products; higher investment and value-added in Alberta; opportunity to provide feedstock to petrochemicals; production of synthetic diluent in the province; and, smaller environmental footprint and greater energy efficiency. The cumulative impact of oil sands development on government revenues was discussed along with the challenge of addressing the issue of a skilled labour shortage, infrastructure needs, and developing a business case for a carbon dioxide pipeline. tabs., figs

  7. Nearshore dynamics of artificial sand and oil agglomerates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalyander, P. Soupy; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Long, Joseph W.; McLaughlin, Molly R.

    2015-01-01

    Weathered oil can mix with sediment to form heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) that can cause beach re-oiling for years after a spill. Few studies have focused on the physical dynamics of SOAs. In this study, artificial SOAs (aSOAs) were created and deployed in the nearshore, and shear stress-based mobility formulations were assessed to predict SOA response. Prediction sensitivity to uncertainty in hydrodynamic conditions and shear stress parameterizations were explored. Critical stress estimates accounting for large particle exposure in a mixed bed gave the best predictions of mobility under shoaling and breaking waves. In the surf zone, the 10-cm aSOA was immobile and began to bury in the seafloor while smaller size classes dispersed alongshore. aSOAs up to 5 cm in diameter were frequently mobilized in the swash zone. The uncertainty in predicting aSOA dynamics reflects a broader uncertainty in applying mobility and transport formulations to cm-sized particles.

  8. Oil sands tailings technology : understanding the impact to reclamation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mamer, M. [Suncor Energy Inc., Fort McMurray, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    This paper discussed tailings management techniques at oil sands mines and their effects on reclamation schedules and outcomes. The layer of mature fine tailings (MFT) that forms in tailings ponds does not settle within a reasonable time frame, requiring more and larger tailings ponds for storing MFT. Consolidated tailings (CT) technology was developed to accelerate the consolidation of MFT, although the process nonetheless takes decades. CT is produced from mixing tailings sand, gypsum, and MFT to create a mixture that will consolidate more quickly and release water. However, CT production is tied to the extraction process, making it applicable only when the plant is operational, and a precise recipe and accurate injection are required for CT to work. In tailings reduction operations (TRO), a new approach to tailings management, MFT is mixed with a polymer flocculant, deposited in thin layers, and allowed to dry. TRO has a significant advantage over CT in that the latter takes up to 30 years to consolidate to a trafficable surface compared to weeks for TRO. TRO allows MFT to be consumed more quickly than it is produced, reducing need to build more tailings ponds, operates independent of plant operations, accelerates the reclamation time frame, and offers enhanced flexibility in final tailings placement sites. TRO also creates a dry landscape, to which well established reclamation techniques can be applied. Dried MFT is a new material type, and research is exploring optimum reclamation techniques. 2 figs.

  9. Trace metals in heavy crude oils and tar sand bitumens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reynolds, J.G.

    1990-11-28

    Fe, Ni, and V are considered trace impurities in heavy crude oils and tar sand bitumens. In order to understand the importance of these metals, we have examined several properties: (1) bulk metals levels, (2) distribution in separated fractions, (3) size behavior in feeds and during processing, (4) speciation as a function of size, and (5) correlations with rheological properties. Some of the results of these studies show: (1) V and Ni have roughly bimodal size distributions, (2) groupings were seen based on location, size distribution, and Ni/V ratio of the sample, (3) Fe profiles are distinctively different, having a unimodal distribution with a maximum at relatively large molecular size, (4) Fe concentrations in the tar sand bitumens suggest possible fines solubilization in some cases, (5) SARA separated fractions show possible correlations of metals with asphaltene properties suggesting secondary and tertiary structure interactions, and (6) ICP-MS examination for soluble ultra-trace metal impurities show the possibility of unexpected elements such as U, Th, Mo, and others at concentrations in the ppB to ppM range. 39 refs., 13 figs., 5 tabs.

  10. Learning from the Past - Evaluating Forecasts for Canadian Oil Sands Production with Data

    OpenAIRE

    Hehl, Friedrich

    2013-01-01

    Crude oil plays an important role for the global energy system. As there is ample evidence that conventional oil production will have peaked by 2020, unconventional oil has attained a stronger focus. In particular, oil derived from bitumen from Canadian oilsands has been proposed as a possible remedy to global oil depletion. This study aims to test the hypothesis that forecasts on the Canadian oil sands published between about 2000 and 2010 have been overestimating production significantly. A ...

  11. Diagenetic history of the Swan Hills Simonette Oil Reservoir (Givetian-Frasnian), deep basin of west-central Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Duggan, J.P.; Mountjoy, E.W. [McGill Univ., Montreal, PQ (Canada). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences

    1997-05-01

    The geology and diagenetic history of the Swan Hills Simonette oil field of west-central Alberta basin was described. Present-day burial depth is 3900 m; formation temperature is 93 degrees C. Highest porosites (20 per cent) occur in dolostones of the lagoon, ref, and fore-reef depositional environments but limestones still retain porosities up to five per cent. Hydrocarbons are present in saddle dolomite fluid inclusions. Oxygen isotopes for replacement dolomites and late calcite suggest that the carbonate-precipitating fluids were derived from the Precambrian basement or Paleozoic clastics sourced from the basement. Faults may have acted as vertical conduits for fluid migration.

  12. Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liggio, John; Li, Shao-Meng; Hayden, Katherine; Taha, Youssef M.; Stroud, Craig; Darlington, Andrea; Drollette, Brian D.; Gordon, Mark; Lee, Patrick; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G.; Wang, Danny; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Brook, Jeffrey R.; Lu, Gang; Staebler, Ralf M.; Han, Yuemei; Tokarek, Travis W.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Makar, Paul A.; Zhang, Junhua; L. Plata, Desiree; Gentner, Drew R.

    2016-06-01

    Worldwide heavy oil and bitumen deposits amount to 9 trillion barrels of oil distributed in over 280 basins around the world, with Canada home to oil sands deposits of 1.7 trillion barrels. The global development of this resource and the increase in oil production from oil sands has caused environmental concerns over the presence of toxic compounds in nearby ecosystems and acid deposition. The contribution of oil sands exploration to secondary organic aerosol formation, an important component of atmospheric particulate matter that affects air quality and climate, remains poorly understood. Here we use data from airborne measurements over the Canadian oil sands, laboratory experiments and a box-model study to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of secondary organic aerosol production from oil sands emissions. We find that the evaporation and atmospheric oxidation of low-volatility organic vapours from the mined oil sands material is directly responsible for the majority of the observed secondary organic aerosol mass. The resultant production rates of 45-84 tonnes per day make the oil sands one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America. Heavy oil and bitumen account for over ten per cent of global oil production today, and this figure continues to grow. Our findings suggest that the production of the more viscous crude oils could be a large source of secondary organic aerosols in many production and refining regions worldwide, and that such production should be considered when assessing the environmental impacts of current and planned bitumen and heavy oil extraction projects globally.

  13. Strategic marketing opportunities for Suncor OSG [Oil Sands Group

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carrothers, S.

    1993-01-01

    Suncor's Oil Sands Group (OSG) is in a unique position to provide advantages to its customers, producing a light, sweet resid-free crude at a time when North American production of this valuable type of oil is in decline. While the per-barrel production cost of synthetic crude has been high historically, the OSG has recently committed to over US$300 million in capital investments which will reduce unit costs to conventional levels. Adding to this, the plant is located on a reserve that, even with existing technology, could feed the plant virtually indefinitely. Three aggressive strategic initiatives which will enhance the value of the products are being undertaken. The product slate diversification initiative involves significantly expanding the production slate to include premium products that are customized to meet customer needs. The product quality initiative will address product characteristics that are unattractive to some end users. The transportation initiative will ensure reliable and timely delivery of a wide variety of OSG products to an expanded customer base. 1 fig

  14. Regional sustainable development strategy for the Athabasca Oil Sands area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1999-07-01

    The Regional Sustainable Development Strategy (RSDS) provides a framework for balancing development with environmental protection. This provisional direction for sustainable resource management was confirmed in a March 1999 policy document. It is as follows: the use of Alberta's natural resources shall be sustainable, the management of Alberta's natural resources shall support and promote the Alberta economy, Alberta's environment shall be protected, resources shall be managed on an integrated basis, and Alberta's natural resources shall be managed for multiple benefits. The focus of the RSDS is to address the need to balance resource development and environmental protection. The report covers: an overview, the Regional Sustainable Development Strategy and the RSDS management model. Blueprints for action concerning the impacts of oilsands development are provided under 14 themes, including 1) cumulative impacts on wildlife, fish habitat and populations, surface and groundwater quality and 2) human health effects of air emissions and effects of air emissions on wildlife and vegetation. The RSDS will apply provincial and federal policy, legislation, standards and programs in a regional context, including principles in the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Harmonization Accord

  15. Unconventional oil resources exploitation: a review

    OpenAIRE

    Vilamová, Šárka; Piecha, Marian; Pavelek, Zdeněk

    2016-01-01

    Unconventional crude oil sources are geographically extensive and include the tar sands of the Province of Alberta in Canada, the heavy oil belt of the Orinoco region of Venezuela and the oil shales of the United States, Brazil, India and Malagasy. High production costs and low oil prices have hitherto inhibited the inclusion of unconventional oil resources in the world oil resource figures. In the last decade, developing production technologies, coupled with the higher market value of oil, c...

  16. Parasitological Analysis and Gill Histopathology of Pearl Dace (Semotilus Margarita) and Brook Stickleback (Culaea Inconstans) Collected from the Athabasca Oil Sands Area (Canada).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raine, J C; Pietrock, M; Willner, K; Chung, K; Turcotte, D; Parrott, J L

    2017-06-01

    Pearl dace (Semotilus margarita) and brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans) were collected from tributaries of the Athabasca River (Alberta, Canada), upstream (reference site) and downstream of oil sands deposits where fish were expected to be exposed to naturally occurring oil sands constituents. The objective was to determine if fish collected from these sites exhibited differences in the prevalence or intensity of infection by parasites or in gill histology. Dace did not display significant differences in these parameters. Alternately, upstream stickleback were predominantly infected by complex life history parasites, while downstream fish were primarily infected by parasites with simpler life histories. Moreover, downstream stickleback exhibited significantly more clubbing and aneurysms in secondary gill lamellae relative to upstream fish. This suggested a difference in habitat quality between upstream and downstream sites. However, based on basic body condition parameters of the fish, it would appear that any impacts upon the health of the fish due to the presence of naturally occurring oil sands associated chemical constituents would have been minor.

  17. Toxicity of oil sands acid-extractable organic fractions to freshwater fish: Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow) and Oryzias latipes (Japanese medaka).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauer, Anthony E; Frank, Richard A; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Farwell, Andrea J; Dixon, D George

    2017-03-01

    The Alberta oil sands are one of the largest global petroleum deposits and, due to non-release practices for oil sands process-affected waters, produced tailings are stored in large ponds. The acid extractable organic (AEO) compounds in oil sands process-affected water are of greatest concern due to their persistence and toxicity to a variety of aquatic biota. The present study evaluated the toxicity of the five AEO fractions to two fish species: Oryzias latipes (Japanese medaka) and Pimephales promelas (fathead minnow). The fractions (F1-F5) were comprised of AEO with increasing mean molecular weight and subsequent increases in cyclicity, aromaticity, degree of oxygenation, and heteroatom content. The lowest molecular weight fraction, F1, displayed the lowest acute toxicity to both fish species. For fathead minnow, F5 displayed the greatest toxic potency, while F2 to F4 displayed intermediate toxicities. For Japanese medaka, F2 and F3 displayed the greatest acute toxicities and F1, F4 and F5 were significantly less potent. Overall, fathead minnow were more acutely sensitive to AEO than Japanese medaka. The present study indicates that AEO toxicity may not be solely driven by a narcotic mode of action, but chemical composition such as aromaticity and heteroatom content and their relation to toxicity suggest other drivers indicative of additional modes of toxic action. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Effects of oil sands tailings compounds and harsh weather on mortality rates, growth and detoxification efforts in nestling tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gentes, Marie-Line [Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4 (Canada)]. E-mail: marie-line.gentes@usask.ca; Waldner, Cheryl [Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4 (Canada)]. E-mail: cheryl.waldner@usask.ca; Papp, Zsuzsanna [Toxicology Research Centre, 44 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B3 (Canada)]. E-mail: zsp127@duke.usask.ca; Smits, Judit E.G. [Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4 (Canada)]. E-mail: judit.smits@usask.ca

    2006-07-15

    Oil sands mining companies in Alberta, Canada, are evaluating the feasibility of using wetlands to detoxify oil sands process material (OSPM) as a reclamation strategy. Reproductive success, nestling growth, survival and ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) activity were measured in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on experimental wetlands. In 2003, harsh weather triggered a widespread nestling die-off. Mortality rates on the control site reached 48% while they ranged from 59% to 100% on reclaimed wetlands. The odds of dying on the most process-affected sites were more than ten times higher than those on the control site. In 2004, weather was less challenging. Mortality rates were low, but nestlings on reclaimed wetlands weighed less than those on the control site, and had higher EROD activity. These results indicate that compared with reference birds, nestlings from OSPM-impacted wetlands may be less able to withstand additional stressors, which could decrease their chances of survival after fledging. - Under natural stress caused by harsh weather, birds exposed to chemicals from the oil sands extraction process suffered higher mortality than those in control areas.

  19. Effects of oil sands tailings compounds and harsh weather on mortality rates, growth and detoxification efforts in nestling tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gentes, Marie-Line; Waldner, Cheryl; Papp, Zsuzsanna; Smits, Judit E.G.

    2006-01-01

    Oil sands mining companies in Alberta, Canada, are evaluating the feasibility of using wetlands to detoxify oil sands process material (OSPM) as a reclamation strategy. Reproductive success, nestling growth, survival and ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) activity were measured in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on experimental wetlands. In 2003, harsh weather triggered a widespread nestling die-off. Mortality rates on the control site reached 48% while they ranged from 59% to 100% on reclaimed wetlands. The odds of dying on the most process-affected sites were more than ten times higher than those on the control site. In 2004, weather was less challenging. Mortality rates were low, but nestlings on reclaimed wetlands weighed less than those on the control site, and had higher EROD activity. These results indicate that compared with reference birds, nestlings from OSPM-impacted wetlands may be less able to withstand additional stressors, which could decrease their chances of survival after fledging. - Under natural stress caused by harsh weather, birds exposed to chemicals from the oil sands extraction process suffered higher mortality than those in control areas

  20. Kyoto, the oil sands and the GHG emissions market

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vickers, P.

    2004-01-01

    This paper reviews uncertainties in the oil sands industry in relation to climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and the Kyoto Protocol. Other issues contributing to uncertainties in the industry were also discussed, including water and natural gas issues, refinery capacity and markets, price and exchange rates as well as capital availability and project cost overruns. The potential economic impact of the Kyoto Protocol on oil sands was outlined with prices per barrel. Government regulations were examined in the context of the evolving expectations of the Canadian public. U.S. actions on climate change were examined at the federal and state level. Emissions trading systems were reviewed with reference to a post 2012 regime. The 2005 budget was discussed, along with the Canadian legislative agenda and domestic offsets program, as well as the regulatory agenda in June of 2005. Post 2012 issues were examined, including discussions on the next commitment period, with reference to the fact that there was no support for new commitments among developing countries but that domestic pressures was building in the U.S. for air and climate regulations. Pressures from shareholders and the scientific community were discussed. Emissions trading in the European Union was reviewed. Stabilization goals will mean significant cuts to emissions in order to accommodate growth. Scenario planning and climate change uncertainties were also reviewed. The benefits of scenario planning in complex situations were outlined and were seen to encourage the development of strategic options. Issues concerning environmental stewardship and possible responses by the Unites States were discussed. Three scenarios were outlined: that climate change is not man-made and all the problems will go away; that technology will evolve to accommodate changes; and that policy will be insensitive to the economy, technology will lag and the energy sector will be faced with much higher costs. Various risk management

  1. Digging Deep for the Heritage Fund: Why the Right Fund for Alberta Pays Dividends Long After Oil Is Gone

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ton van den Bremer

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Albertans have long been aware that while their provincial government has shown a lack of consistent discipline in investing oil royalty revenues in the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, the Norwegians have been showing oil-rich jurisdictions just how effectively saving can be done. While Alberta’s fund was established in the mid-1970s, more than a decade before Norway began its national savings program, the Norwegian fund was worth more than $900 billion as of the beginning of 2014; Alberta’s is worth roughly $15 billion today, revealing the province’s inability to stick with firm, routine contribution commitments, and its occasional habit of using the fund’s earnings to cover spending priorities. But while many economists, politicians and pundits from both the left and right have long pointed to Norway as the model for Alberta to follow, it would in fact be wrong for Alberta to mimic Norway’s strategy. Indeed, the right plan for Alberta can set the province up in better shape for the future than even Norway will be. The Norway approach will inevitably prove unsustainable. As it is, Norway deposits all resource revenue into its fund, which then distributes a dividend to the government every year worth four per cent of the fund’s wealth. As the fund grows, so to does the size of the dividend. Yet, as wealth is converted from belowground assets (oil to aboveground assets (cash and investments, the belowground wealth becomes gradually but inevitably depleted. At some point, all of Norway’s oil wealth will have been converted into aboveground assets, and the dividend will eventually have to be adjusted downward. A more sustainable approach, and one that Alberta should pursue, is one where the dividend is a falling proportion of fund assets. In other words, the province will want to calculate an appropriate dividend that is a fraction not just of the size of the financial fund (aboveground, but a constant fraction of total wealth

  2. Canada's oil sands, opportunities and challenges to 2015 : an energy market assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2004-05-01

    The National Energy Board monitors the supply of all energy commodities in Canada along with the demand for Canadian energy commodities in domestic and export markets. This report provides an assessment of the current state of the oil sands industry and the potential for growth. It also identifies the major issues and challenges associated with the development of Canada's oil sands, one of the world's largest hydrocarbon resources. Initial production of Canada's oil sands began in 1967. The resource has become more economic to develop in recent years due to higher energy prices and new technologies. The economic potential of Canada's oil sands has been recognized internationally. Canadian oil sands production in 2004 will surpass 160,000 cubic metres per day. By 2015, production is expected to more than double to meet market demands. The challenges facing the industry include higher natural gas prices, capital cost overruns and environmental impacts. The major factors that affect the rate of oil sands development include natural gas supply, energy demand, oil and gas pricing, markets and pipelines, environmental considerations, emerging technologies, geopolitical issues, and labour. This report includes key findings for the following four key components: economic potential and development of the resource base; markets and pipelines; environmental and socio-economic impacts; and, potential spin-off developments in the electricity and petrochemical industries. 26 tabs., 53 figs

  3. Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation of Canadian oil sands to future markets

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tarnoczi, Tyler

    2013-01-01

    Oil sands transportation diversification is important for preventing discounted crude pricing. Current life cycle assessment (LCA) models that assess greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from crude oil transportation are linearly-scale and fail to account for project specific details. This research sets out to develop a detailed LCA model to compare the energy inputs and GHG emissions of pipeline and rail transportation for oil sands products. The model is applied to several proposed oils sands transportation routes that may serve as future markets. Comparison between transportation projects suggest that energy inputs and GHG emissions show a high degree of variation. For both rail and pipeline transportation, the distance over which the product is transported has a large impact on total emissions. The regional electricity grid and pump efficiency have the largest impact on pipeline emissions, while train engine efficiency and bitumen blending ratios have the largest impact on rail transportation emissions. LCA-based GHG regulations should refine models to account for the range of product pathways and focus efforts on cost-effective emission reductions. As the climate-change impacts of new oil sands transportation projects are considered, GHG emission boundaries should be defined according to operation control. -- Highlights: •A life cycle model is developed to compare transportation of oil sands products. •The model is applied to several potential future oil sands markets. •Energy inputs and GHG emissions are compared. •Model inputs are explored using sensitivity analysis. •Policy recommendations are provided

  4. Ambient air quality trends in Alberta

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2007-01-01

    This document provided an overview of ambient air pollutant trends in Alberta. The report discussed the following pollutants having effect on human and environmental health: carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen sulphide (H2 S ), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ), sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ), ozone (O 3 ), fine particulate matter (PM 2 .5), benzene, and benzopyrene. Each of these pollutants was described. The report provided data on annual average concentration trends and annual 99th percentile concentration as an indicator of peak concentrations. A map illustrating air quality monitoring stations in 2006 was also provided. The findings revealed that mean annual CO levels were the lowest they have been since 1990; hydrogen sulphide concentrations have fluctuated in time since 1990; most Edmonton and Calgary area stations showed significant decreasing trends in annual average NO 2 levels since 1990; and higher SO 2 concentrations have been found in the industrial areas of Alberta, such as the Redwater and Scotford oil sands locations. tabs., figs

  5. Wildlife inventory of oil sand leases 12, 13 and 34

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Skinner, D.L.

    1996-01-01

    Results of a preliminary study to assess wildlife abundance and distribution on Syncrude's proposed oil sand leases 12, 13 and 34 were presented. The objective of the study was to determine the relative abundance and habitat preferences of different wildlife species. Aerial and track count surveys were conducted in winter. The abundance of hooved animals was determined using an aerial survey of the entire Syncrude area which is composed of conifer-dominated lowlands. Results of the surveys showed that wildlife abundance in the study area was typical of the Fort McMurray region. Thirteen habitat types were identified, including 2 types of upland deciduous forest, mixed wood forest, 4 types of coniferous forest, 2 types of wetland community, 3 types of riparian community and cleared peatland. The distribution of mammals in the study area was presented. This included distribution of hooved animals, small herbivores, large carnivores, small carnivores, and other furbearers. The habitat utilization of each wildlife species was discussed. Several habitat types were preferred by at least one species. Very few species were associated with deciduous and mixed wood forest. It was noted that winter track counts may not be indicative of habitat preferences and distribution during other important periods such as breeding and natal seasons. 69 refs., 12 tabs., 13 figs

  6. Siemens fuel gasification technology for the Canadian oil sands industry

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Morehead, H. [Siemens Energy Inc., Orlando, FL (United States). IGCC and Gasification Sales and Marketing

    2010-07-01

    The Siemens fuel gasification (SFG) technology can be used to gasify a range of feedstocks, including petcoke, hard coal, lignite, and low-ranking fuels such as biomass and refinery residuals. The technology has recently been applied to a number of projects over the last 3 years. This paper discussed some of the issues related to the technology and it's use at a start-up facility in China. Five entrained-flow gasifiers with a thermal capacity of 500 MW are being installed at a coal gasification plant in northwestern China. The technology's use in hydrogen, steam and power production applications for the oil sands industry was also discussed. Issues related to feedstock quality, process characteristics, and equipment requirements for commercial gasifier systems were reviewed. The paper concluded by observing that improvements in gasification technology will make coal and petcoke gasification feasible options for power generation. IGCC is the most advanced and cost-effective technology for reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. Gasification-based plants are also able to capture carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}) for storage and sequestration. Details of the Siemens gasification test center in Germany were also included. 1 tab., 4 figs.

  7. Solvent extraction of oil-sand components for determination of trace elements by neutron activation analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jacobs, F.S.; Filby, R.H.

    1983-01-01

    Instrumental neutron activation analysis was used to measure the concentrations of 30 elements in Athabasca oil sands and oil-sand components. The oil sands were separated into solid residue, bitumen, and fines by Soxhlet extraction with toluene-bitumen extract. The mineral content of the extracted bitumen was dependent on the treatment of the oil sand prior to extraction. The geochemically important and organically associated trace element contents of the bitumen (and asphaltenes) were determined by subtracting the mineral contributions from the total measured concentrations. The method allows analysis of the bitumen without the necessity of ultracentrifugation or membrane filtration, which might remove geochemically important components of the bitumen. The method permits classification of trace elements into organic and inorganic combinations

  8. Sustainable use of oil sands for geotechnical construction and road building

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Anochie-Boateng, Joseph

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available established essential trends in oil sand behavior for developing laboratory guidelines and test protocols and typical material characterization models for their sustainable use in geotechnical and road building applications....

  9. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Quarterly report, July--September, 1993

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-11-01

    This report cites task number followed by a brief statement of each task and the action taken this quarter. The tasks are: NEPA environmental information statement; coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; water-based recovery of bitumen; rotary kiln process for recovery of bitumen and combustion of coke sand; recovery of bitumen from oil sands using fluidized bed reactors and combustion of spent sands in transport reactors; recovery of bitumen from oil sand and upgrading of bitumen by solvent extraction; catalytic and thermal upgrading of bitumens and bitumen-derived liquids; evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high energy jet fuels, and other specialty products; development of mathematical models for bitumen recovery and processing; completion of the cost estimation study of the pilot plant restoration; development studies of equipment for three-product gravity separation of bitumen and sand; development studies of disposal of sand by conveying or pumping of high solids concentration sand-water slurries; and environmental studies of the North Salt Lake pilot plant rehabilitation and eventual operation and those environmental problems associated with eventual commercial products.

  10. Observations on sediment sources in the Lower Athabasca River basin: implications of natural hydrocarbons inputs from oil sands deposits

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Conly, F.M.

    1999-01-01

    Government, industry and public concern exists over the environmental consequences of the development of the oil sand deposits in the McMurray Formation in the lower Athabasca River basin, Alberta. The impact of this development is unclear and is undergoing investigation. Investigations to date have focussed on the nature of the effluent produced by the extraction industry and its effect on biotic systems, and on the spatial distribution of hydrocarbon contaminants associated with deposited fluvial sediments. Natural hydrocarbon outcrops may be responsible for observed biomarker responses in areas not exposed to industrial effluent. Given this source of hydrocarbons and doubt concerning its environmental impact, it is difficult to ascertain the impact of oil extraction activities within a fluvial system. A study was conducted to determine the nature and extent of natural hydrocarbon releases within the context of the sediment regime of the lower Athabasca River basin. A description is included of observations from the field and a context is set up for assessing sediment-bound hydrocarbon contaminants in the lower Athabasca River basin. Abstract only included

  11. Alberta air emissions : trends and projections

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2008-06-01

    This paper provided a summary of air emissions trends and projections for Alberta. Predicted regional distribution trends and industry sector emissions were presented. Historical and projected emissions included sulfur oxides (SO x ) nitrogen oxide (NO x ), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and ammonia (NH 3 ). Results of the study indicated that carbon monoxide (CO) emissions were decreasing, while VOCs, NO x , SO x , PM 2.5 and NH 3 levels were increasing. Approximately 9 per cent of ammonia emissions were from point sources, while the majority of PM 2.5 emissions were attributed to unpaved roads and construction operations. Agricultural animal operations accounted for most of the VOC source emissions in the region. Increased development of the oil sands industry is contributing to increases in VOC emissions. Increases in NH 3 were attributed to growth in the agricultural sector and the increasing use of confined feeding operations in the region. Results of the study indicated that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Alberta will keep increasing as a result of Alberta's growing economy. It was concluded that emissions from other industrial sectors are also expected to increase. In 2005, Alberta's total GHG emissions were 233 megatonnes of CO 2 equivalent, of which 168 megatonnes were attributed to industry. Results were presented in both graph and tabular formats. 3 tabs., 25 figs

  12. Analysis of Proppant Hydraulic Fracturing in a Sand Oil Reservoir in Southwest of Iran

    OpenAIRE

    Reza Masoomi; Iniko Bassey; Dolgow Sergie Viktorovich; Hosein Dehghani

    2015-01-01

    Hydraulic fracturing is one way to increase the productivity of oil and gas wells. One of the most fundamental successes of hydraulic fracturing operation is selecting the proper size and type of proppants which are used during the process. The aim of this study is optimizing the type and size of used propant in hydraulic fracturing operation in a sand oil reservoir in southwest of Iran. In this study sand and ceramic (sintered bauxite) have been considered as proppant type. Also the various ...

  13. Experimental Investigation on Dilation Mechanisms of Land-Facies Karamay Oil Sand Reservoirs under Water Injection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Botao; Jin, Yan; Pang, Huiwen; Cerato, Amy B.

    2016-04-01

    The success of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is strongly dependent on the formation of a homogeneous and highly permeable zone in the land-facies Karamay oil sand reservoirs. To accomplish this, hydraulic fracturing is applied through controlled water injection to a pair of horizontal wells to create a dilation zone between the dual wells. The mechanical response of the reservoirs during this injection process, however, has remained unclear for the land-facies oil sand that has a loosely packed structure. This research conducted triaxial, permeability and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) tests on the field-collected oil sand samples. The tests evaluated the influences of the field temperature, confining stress and injection pressure on the dilation mechanisms as shear dilation and tensile parting during injection. To account for petrophysical heterogeneity, five reservoir rocks including regular oil sand, mud-rich oil sand, bitumen-rich oil sand, mudstone and sandstone were investigated. It was found that the permeability evolution in the oil sand samples subjected to shear dilation closely followed the porosity and microcrack evolutions in the shear bands. In contrast, the mudstone and sandstone samples developed distinct shear planes, which formed preferred permeation paths. Tensile parting expanded the pore space and increased the permeability of all the samples in various degrees. Based on this analysis, it is concluded that the range of injection propagation in the pay zone determines the overall quality of hydraulic fracturing, while the injection pressure must be carefully controlled. A region in a reservoir has little dilation upon injection if it remains unsaturated. Moreover, a cooling of the injected water can strengthen the dilation potential of a reservoir. Finally, it is suggested that the numerical modeling of water injection in the Karamay oil sand reservoirs must take into account the volumetric plastic strain in hydrostatic loading.

  14. Predicting the abundance of clays and quartz in oil sands using hyperspectral measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Entezari, Iman; Rivard, Benoit; Geramian, Mirjavad; Lipsett, Michael G.

    2017-07-01

    Clay minerals play a crucial role in the processability of oil sands ores and in the management of tailings. An increase in fine content generally leads to a decrease in both bitumen recovery performance and tailings settling rate. It is thus important to identify clay types and their abundance in oil sands ores and tailings. This study made use of oil sands samples characterized for quantitative mineralogy by x-ray diffraction, to gain an understanding of changes in the reflectance spectra of oil sands. The sample suite included bitumen-removed oil sands ore samples and their different fine size fractions. Spectral metrics applicable to the prediction of quartz and clay contents in oil sands were then derived with a focus on metrics correlating with sample content in total 2:1 clays (total of illite and illite-smectite) and kaolinite. Metrics in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) and longwave infrared (LWIR) were found to correlate with mineral contents. The best predictions of clays and quartz were achieved using LWIR metrics (R2 > 0.89). Results also demonstrated the applicability of LWIR metrics in the prediction of kaolinite and total 2:1 clays.

  15. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Annual report, July 1991--July 1992

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1992-08-01

    The University of Utah tar sand research and development program is concerned with research and development on Utah is extensive oil sands deposits. The program has been intended to develop a scientific and technological base required for eventual commercial recovery of the heavy oils from oil sands and processing these oils to produce synthetic crude oil and other products such as asphalt. The overall program is based on mining the oil sand, processing the mined sand to recover the heavy oils and upgrading them to products. Multiple deposits are being investigated since it is believed that a large scale (approximately 20,000 bbl/day) plant would require the use of resources from more than one deposit. The tasks or projects in the program are organized according to the following classification: Recovery technologies which includes thermal recovery methods, water extraction methods, and solvent extraction methods; upgrading and processing technologies which covers hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and hydropyrolysis; solvent extraction; production of specialty products; and environmental aspects of the production and processing technologies. These tasks are covered in this report.

  16. A synopsis of long-term aquatic effects monitoring after an oil spill to Wabamun Lake, Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wernick, B.; DeBruyn, A.M.; Chapman, P. [Golder Associates Ltd., North Vancouver, BC (Canada); Patterson, L. [CN Environment, Surrey, BC (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    A train derailment in August 2005 resulted in the release of Bunker C heavy fuel oil into the waters of Wabamun Lake. Alberta Environment issued an Environmental Protection Order requiring CN Railway to prepare a long-term plan to monitor the effects of the spilled oil on the aquatic environment. To date, monitoring has included assessments of potential effects on plankton, benthic invertebrate, emergent vegetation, and fish communities. Approximately 2,000 sediment grabs were collected for chemistry, toxicity, and benthic invertebrate analysis. In addition 700 litres of water were collected for chemistry and toxicity analyses and the biomass of 40 kg of emergent vegetation was measured. Analytical techniques included a variety of laboratory and field experiments. Nearly 200 semi-permeable membrane devices were deployed to measure exposure to hydrocarbons. An in situ assessment of larval fish development was conducted on 4,000 whitefish and 12,000 northern pike eggs. Testimony from the initial, intensive studies was integrated into a single framework. Follow-up studies were then conducted to identify the potential effects of the oil spill. The oil spill did not cause wide-scale effects in Wabamun Lake according to the study results.

  17. Investigation of Primary Recovery in Low-Permeability Oil Formations: A Look at the Cardium Formation, Alberta (Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ghaderi S.M.

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Tight oil formations (permeability < 1 mD in Western Canada have recently emerged as a reliable resource of light oil supply owing to the use of multifractured horizontal wells. The Cardium formation, which contains 25% of Alberta’s total discovered light oil (according to Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, consists of conventional and unconventional (low-permeability or tight play areas. The conventional play areas have been developed since 1957. Contrarily, the development of unconventional play is a recent event, due to considerably poorer reservoir properties which increases the risk associated with capital investment. This in turn implies the need for a comprehensive and critical study of the area before planning any development strategy. This paper presents performance results from the low permeability portions of the Cardium formation where new horizontal wells have been drilled and stimulated in multiple stages to promote transverse hydraulic fractures. Development of the tight Cardium formation using primary recovery is considered. The production data of these wells was first matched using a black oil simulator. The calibrated model presented was used for performance perditions based on sensitivity studies and investigations that encompassed design factors such as well spacing, fracture properties and operational constraints.

  18. Mycorrhizal inoculum potentials of pure reclamation materials and revegetated tailing sands from the Canadian oil sand industry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bois, G; Piché, Y; Fung, M Y P; Khasa, D P

    2005-05-01

    Recent improvements in the management of oil sand tailings used by the Canadian oil sand industry have resulted in the production of composite tailing sands (CT): a new challenging material for reclamation work. Jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), hybrid poplar (Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh. xPopulus nigra L.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) plants were used in an 8-week greenhouse bioassay to evaluate the mycorrhizal inoculum potential of CT. This inoculum potential was compared with that of three other reclamation materials [common tailing sands (TS), deep overburden (OB) and muskeg peat (MK)], and with three sites reclaimed in 1982 (R82), 1988 (R88) and 1999 (R99). CT was devoid of active mycorrhizal propagules while all other materials showed some level of inoculum potential. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi were observed on roots of clover or poplar grown in TS, OB, and all substrates containing peat (MK, R82, R88 and R99). Pine roots were also colonized by vesicle-forming hyphae of an unidentified fine endophyte and by dark septate fungi. Ectomycorrhizas (ECM) were observed on pine and poplar grown in OB, MK, and in soils from the two older reclaimed sites (R82 and R88). Using morpho- and molecular typing, six ECM fungi were identified to the genus or species level: Laccaria sp., Thelephora americana, Wilcoxina sp. (E-strain), Tuber sp. (I-type), a Sebacinoid, and a Pezizales species. Laccaria sp. and Wilcoxina sp. were the most frequently observed ECM species.

  19. Properties of palm oil fuel ash cement sand brick containing pulverized cockle shell as partial sand replacement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mat Aris, S.; Muthusamy, K.; Uzer, A.; Ahmad, S. Wan

    2018-04-01

    Environmental pollution caused by the disposal of solid wastes generated from both palm oil industry and cockle shell trade has motivated researches to explore the potential of these wastes. Integrating these wastes in production of construction material is one of the ways to reduce amount of waste thrown at dumping area. Thus, the present investigation investigates the performance of palm oil fuel ash (POFA) cement sand brick containing pulverized cockle shell as partial fine aggregate replacement. All mixes used contain 20% of POFA as partial cement replacement. Total of six mixes were prepared by adding a range of pulverized cockle shell that is 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% as partial sand replacement. The mixes were prepared in form of brick. All the water cured samples were tested for compressive strength and flexural strength until 28 days. Findings show that brick produced using 20% pulverized cockle shell exhibit the highest compressive strength and flexural strength also the lowest water absorption value.

  20. Policy Analysis of Water Availability and Use Issues for Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Development

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ruple, John [Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Keiter, Robert [Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)

    2010-03-01

    Oil shale and oil sands resources located within the intermountain west represent a vast, and as of yet, commercially untapped source of energy. Development will require water, and demand for scarce water resources stands at the front of a long list of barriers to commercialization. Water requirements and the consequences of commercial development will depend on the number, size, and location of facilities, as well as the technologies employed to develop these unconventional fuels. While the details remain unclear, the implication is not – unconventional fuel development will increase demand for water in an arid region where demand for water often exceeds supply. Water demands in excess of supplies have long been the norm in the west, and for more than a century water has been apportioned on a first-come, first-served basis. Unconventional fuel developers who have not already secured water rights stand at the back of a long line and will need to obtain water from willing water purveyors. However, uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of some senior water claims combine with indeterminate interstate river management to cast a cloud over water resource allocation and management. Quantitative and qualitative water requirements associated with Endangered Species protection also stand as barriers to significant water development, and complex water quality regulations will apply to unconventional fuel development. Legal and political decisions can give shape to an indeterminate landscape. Settlement of Northern Ute reserved rights claims would help clarify the worth of existing water rights and viability of alternative sources of supply. Interstate apportionment of the White River would go a long way towards resolving water availability in downstream Utah. And energy policy clarification will help determine the role oil shale and oil sands will play in our nation’s future.

  1. Coarse Woody Debris Increases Microbial Community Functional Diversity but not Enzyme Activities in Reclaimed Oil Sands Soils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jin-Hyeob Kwak

    Full Text Available Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM and peat mineral soil mix (PMM are cover soils commonly used for upland reclamation post open-pit oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Coarse woody debris (CWD can be used to regulate soil temperature and water content, to increase organic matter content, and to create microsites for the establishment of microorganisms and vegetation in upland reclamation. We studied the effects of CWD on soil microbial community level physiological profile (CLPP and soil enzyme activities in FMM and PMM in a reclaimed landscape in the oil sands. This experiment was conducted with a 2 (FMM vs PMM × 2 (near CWD vs away from CWD factorial design with 6 replications. The study plots were established with Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen CWD placed on each plot between November 2007 and February 2008. Soil samples were collected within 5 cm from CWD and more than 100 cm away from CWD in July, August and September 2013 and 2014. Microbial biomass was greater (p<0.05 in FMM than in PMM, in July, and August 2013 and July 2014, and greater (p<0.05 near CWD than away from CWD in FMM in July and August samplings. Soil microbial CLPP differed between FMM and PMM (p<0.01 according to a principal component analysis and CWD changed microbial CLPP in FMM (p<0.05 but not in PMM. Coarse woody debris increased microbial community functional diversity (average well color development in Biolog Ecoplates in both cover soils (p<0.05 in August and September 2014. Carbon degrading soil enzyme activities were greater in FMM than in PMM (p<0.05 regardless of distance from CWD but were not affected by CWD. Greater microbial biomass and enzyme activities in FMM than in PMM will increase organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, improving plant growth. Enhanced microbial community functional diversity by CWD application in upland reclamation has implications for accelerating upland reclamation after oil sands mining.

  2. Coarse Woody Debris Increases Microbial Community Functional Diversity but not Enzyme Activities in Reclaimed Oil Sands Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kwak, Jin-Hyeob; Chang, Scott X.; Naeth, M. Anne; Schaaf, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM) and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) are cover soils commonly used for upland reclamation post open-pit oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Coarse woody debris (CWD) can be used to regulate soil temperature and water content, to increase organic matter content, and to create microsites for the establishment of microorganisms and vegetation in upland reclamation. We studied the effects of CWD on soil microbial community level physiological profile (CLPP) and soil enzyme activities in FMM and PMM in a reclaimed landscape in the oil sands. This experiment was conducted with a 2 (FMM vs PMM) × 2 (near CWD vs away from CWD) factorial design with 6 replications. The study plots were established with Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen) CWD placed on each plot between November 2007 and February 2008. Soil samples were collected within 5 cm from CWD and more than 100 cm away from CWD in July, August and September 2013 and 2014. Microbial biomass was greater (p<0.05) in FMM than in PMM, in July, and August 2013 and July 2014, and greater (p<0.05) near CWD than away from CWD in FMM in July and August samplings. Soil microbial CLPP differed between FMM and PMM (p<0.01) according to a principal component analysis and CWD changed microbial CLPP in FMM (p<0.05) but not in PMM. Coarse woody debris increased microbial community functional diversity (average well color development in Biolog Ecoplates) in both cover soils (p<0.05) in August and September 2014. Carbon degrading soil enzyme activities were greater in FMM than in PMM (p<0.05) regardless of distance from CWD but were not affected by CWD. Greater microbial biomass and enzyme activities in FMM than in PMM will increase organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, improving plant growth. Enhanced microbial community functional diversity by CWD application in upland reclamation has implications for accelerating upland reclamation after oil sands mining. PMID:26618605

  3. Semipermeable membrane devices concentrate mixed function oxygenase inducers from oil sands and refinery wastewaters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Parrott, J.L.; Hewitt, L.M.

    2002-01-01

    The health of fish in the Athabasca River was examined to determine the effects of both natural and anthropogenic oil sands exposure on liver mixed function oxygenase (MFO) enzymes. Semipermeable membrane devices (SPMD) were used to concentrate bioavailable compounds that may result in MFO induction. The SPMDs were used for a period of 2 weeks in the Steepbank River as well as in oil refinery wastewater and intake ponds. They were then tested to see if they induced ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity in hepatoma cells, a cell line derived from a liver cancer of a small fish. SPMDs from the wastewater pond contained potent EROD inducers in fish liver cells. SPMDs from the Athabasca River exhibited some EROD inducers, but they were 1/100 as potent as those of the refinery wastewater. The characteristics of MFO inducers from refinery wastewater were different from natural inducers from the oil sands in the Athabasca and Steepbank Rivers. For instance, log Kow was less than 5 for refinery wastewater, but it was greater than 5 for Athabasca River wastewater and from natural oil sands exposure. In the case of the Steepbank River, the pattern of MFO induction was similar to the MFO induction seen in wild fish.The highest MFO inducers were found to be in the area of the mine, suggesting and anthropogenic pollution source. The less potent inducers were in the area of the natural and undisturbed oil sands. Very few inducers were found outside of the oil sands formation

  4. Communities Perceived Socio-economic Impacts of Oil Sands Extraction in Nigeria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Murtala Ibraheem Chindo

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available Nigeria is currently harmonising plans for the exploitation of oil sands in southern part of the country. The findings from a case study suggested that investment and subsequent production in oil sands could have positive outcomes, but could also affect the lives of people in the surrounding communities. The current approach which excludes the communities in the planning process may only lead to trepidation of the crisis which has bedevilled the oil producing region of the country. There is the need to have an all-inclusive involvement of the affected communities in decision making process from initial conception through to the various stages of the mining cycle.

  5. Study of greenhouse gases reduction alternatives for the exploitation of non conventional oil sands in Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bouchonneau, Deborah [Institut Francais du Petrole (IFP), Paris (France)

    2008-07-01

    High energy prices and greenhouse gases reduction represent the main challenges the current worldwide energetic situation has to face. As a consequence, paradox strategies can be highlighted: oil prices are sufficiently high to exploit non conventional oil resources, like extra heavy oils and oil sands. But the production of these resources emits larger GHG than the conventional oil path and implies other major environmental issues (water management, risks of soil pollution, destruction of the boreal forest), incompatible with the rules validated by the protocol of Kyoto. At the light of the new greenhouse gases reduction regulation framework announced by the Canadian Federal government, this work focuses on the study of greenhouse gases reduction alternatives applied to the non conventional oil sands exploitation in Canada. (author)

  6. Size distribution and coating thickness of black carbon from the Canadian oil sands operations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. Cheng

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Black carbon (BC plays an important role in the Earth's climate system. However, parameterizations of BC size and mixing state have not been well addressed in aerosol–climate models, introducing substantial uncertainties into the estimation of radiative forcing by BC. In this study, we focused on BC emissions from the oil sands (OS surface mining activities in northern Alberta, based on an aircraft campaign conducted over the Athabasca OS region in 2013. A total of 14 flights were made over the OS source area, in which the aircraft was typically flown in a four- or five-sided polygon pattern along flight tracks encircling an OS facility. Another 3 flights were performed downwind of the OS source area, each of which involved at least three intercepting locations where the well-mixed OS plume was measured along flight tracks perpendicular to the wind direction. Comparable size distributions were observed for refractory black carbon (rBC over and downwind of the OS facilities, with rBC mass median diameters (MMDs between ∼ 135 and 145 nm that were characteristic of fresh urban emissions. This MMD range corresponded to rBC number median diameters (NMDs of ∼ 60–70 nm, approximately 100 % higher than the NMD settings in some aerosol–climate models. The typical in- and out-of-plume segments of a flight, which had different rBC concentrations and photochemical ages, showed consistent rBC size distributions in terms of MMD, NMD and the corresponding distribution widths. Moreover, rBC size distributions remained unchanged at different downwind distances from the source area, suggesting that atmospheric aging would not necessarily change rBC size distribution. However, aging indeed influenced rBC mixing state. Coating thickness for rBC cores in the diameter range of 130–160 nm was nearly doubled (from ∼ 20 to 40 nm within 3 h when the OS plume was transported over a distance of 90 km from the source area.

  7. Dissolved organic compounds in reused process water for steam-assisted gravity drainage oil sands extraction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kawaguchi, Hideo; Li, Zhengguo; Masuda, Yoshihiro; Sato, Kozo; Nakagawa, Hiroyuki

    2012-11-01

    The in situ oil sands production method called steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) reuses process wastewater following treatment. However, the treatment and reuse processes concentrate contaminants in the process water. To determine the concentration and dynamics of inorganic and organic contaminants, makeup water and process water from six process steps were sampled at a facility employing the SAGD process in Alberta, Canada. In the groundwater used for the makeup water, the total dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content was 4 mg/L. This significantly increased to 508 mg/L in the produced water, followed by a gradual increase with successive steps in subsequent water treatments. The concentrations and dynamics of DOC constituents in the process water determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that in the produced water, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as acetone (33.1 mg/L) and 2-butanone (13.4 mg/L) predominated, and there were significant amounts of phenolic compounds (total 9.8 mg/L) and organic acids including naphthenic acids (NAs) corresponding to the formula C(n)H(2n+Z)O(X) for combinations of n = 4 to 18, Z = 0 and -2, and X = 2 to 4 (53 mg/L) with trace amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as naphthalene and phenanthrene. No organic contaminants, except for saturated fatty acids, were detected in the groundwater. The concentration of DOC in the recycled water was 4.4-fold higher than that in the produced water. Likewise, the total concentrations of phenols and organic acids in the recycled water were 1.7- and 4.5-fold higher than in the produced water, whereas the total concentrations of VOCs and PAHs in the recycled water were reduced by over 80%, suggesting that phenols and organic acids are selectively concentrated in the process water treatment. This comprehensive chemical analysis thus identified organic constituents that were concentrated in the process water and which interfere with subsequent

  8. Size distribution and coating thickness of black carbon from the Canadian oil sands operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Yuan; Li, Shao-Meng; Gordon, Mark; Liu, Peter

    2018-02-01

    Black carbon (BC) plays an important role in the Earth's climate system. However, parameterizations of BC size and mixing state have not been well addressed in aerosol-climate models, introducing substantial uncertainties into the estimation of radiative forcing by BC. In this study, we focused on BC emissions from the oil sands (OS) surface mining activities in northern Alberta, based on an aircraft campaign conducted over the Athabasca OS region in 2013. A total of 14 flights were made over the OS source area, in which the aircraft was typically flown in a four- or five-sided polygon pattern along flight tracks encircling an OS facility. Another 3 flights were performed downwind of the OS source area, each of which involved at least three intercepting locations where the well-mixed OS plume was measured along flight tracks perpendicular to the wind direction. Comparable size distributions were observed for refractory black carbon (rBC) over and downwind of the OS facilities, with rBC mass median diameters (MMDs) between ˜ 135 and 145 nm that were characteristic of fresh urban emissions. This MMD range corresponded to rBC number median diameters (NMDs) of ˜ 60-70 nm, approximately 100 % higher than the NMD settings in some aerosol-climate models. The typical in- and out-of-plume segments of a flight, which had different rBC concentrations and photochemical ages, showed consistent rBC size distributions in terms of MMD, NMD and the corresponding distribution widths. Moreover, rBC size distributions remained unchanged at different downwind distances from the source area, suggesting that atmospheric aging would not necessarily change rBC size distribution. However, aging indeed influenced rBC mixing state. Coating thickness for rBC cores in the diameter range of 130-160 nm was nearly doubled (from ˜ 20 to 40 nm) within 3 h when the OS plume was transported over a distance of 90 km from the source area.

  9. Development of water quality objectives and management systems for the lower Athabasca River in the oil sands area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Noton, L.; McEachern, P.

    2004-01-01

    This paper addressed environmental concerns related to the increased oil sands activity along the lower Athabasca River in northeastern Alberta. The concerns include potential effects on water quality of the river even though wastewaters do not currently reach the Athabasca River, nor do they have any significant effects. However, as the industry expands, there is concern that releases of wastewater may increase significantly. A multi-stakeholder group called the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) has addressed some of these environmental management issues in the Athabasca area by establishing a water quality task group that examines water quality protection and management activities. The task group intends to develop and recommend water quality objectives and management options on the lower Athabasca River. Their 4 part process includes: (1) defining the problem, (2) setting goals, (3) measuring performance, and (4) managing and adapting to potential impacts. The group has identified and defined about 35 water quality variables of potential concern. It has also identified the uses of water it wants to protect and intends to prevent the degradation of water quality. A plan for developing site specific water quality objectives has been established following a review of water quality guidelines. Performance will be measured using water quality models that simulate full development scenarios. The modelling work will be instrumental in designing management schemes for any potential impacts

  10. Use of calcium sulfate to accelerate densification while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands tailings ponds

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bordenave, S.; Ramos, E.; Lin, S.; Voordouw, G.; Gieg, L. [Calgary Univ., AB (Canada). Petroleum Microbiology Research Group; Guo, C.; Wells, S. [Suncor Energy, Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    Oil sands tailings ponds contain high volumes of fine tailings. Accelerated densification of the tailings can be achieved by adding calcium sulfate, and microbial activity has also been known to increase the tailings densification process. The presence of calcium sulfate can divert microbial activity from the production of methane. This study characterized the microbial processes in a tailings pond in order to estimate their contribution to tailings densification and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. Sulfate and sulfide concentrations were measured. Rates of microbial sulfate reduction and methanogenesis were measured as a function of depth in a pond treated with calcium sulfate. Samples were collected at various depths from a tailings pond in northern Alberta. The study showed that the highest rates of methanogenesis occurred in areas where sulfate reduction rates were low. Fluctuating rates of sulfate reduction demonstrated that different microbial activities occurred at discrete levels in the pond. The study suggested that sulfide formed by the reduction of sulfate at depth is carried upwards in gas bubbles and then oxidized back into sulfate in the upper oxygenated layers of the pond. It was concluded that when used as a consolidation agent, calcium sulfate reduces GHG emissions from tailings ponds. 13 refs., 3 figs.

  11. Cover systems in the Athabasca oil sands : a summary of the Green Bullet and ten years of reclamation research at Syncrude Canada Ltd.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    O' Kane, M. [O' Kane Consultants Inc., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2010-02-15

    This PowerPoint presentation discussed the use of a dry cover system over oil sand tailings as land reclamation strategy. Dry covers can range from a single layer of earthen material to several layers of different material types, including native soils, non-reactive tailings or waste rock, geosynthetic materials, and oxygen consuming organic materials. The 3 prototype covers used in the Athabasca deposit in northern Alberta include peat, glacial till and sedge-sphagnum open bog (SSOB). The hydraulic role of the covers was described. This presentation also described how the physical reclamation works, with particular reference to how the area is contoured to ensure proper drainage. Soil and vegetation assessments are undertaken to ensure the reclamation amendments are achieving the goals of the reclamation plan. tabs., figs.

  12. Cover systems in the Athabasca oil sands : a summary of the Green Bullet and ten years of reclamation research at Syncrude Canada Ltd

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    O'Kane, M.

    2010-01-01

    This PowerPoint presentation discussed the use of a dry cover system over oil sand tailings as land reclamation strategy. Dry covers can range from a single layer of earthen material to several layers of different material types, including native soils, non-reactive tailings or waste rock, geosynthetic materials, and oxygen consuming organic materials. The 3 prototype covers used in the Athabasca deposit in northern Alberta include peat, glacial till and sedge-sphagnum open bog (SSOB). The hydraulic role of the covers was described. This presentation also described how the physical reclamation works, with particular reference to how the area is contoured to ensure proper drainage. Soil and vegetation assessments are undertaken to ensure the reclamation amendments are achieving the goals of the reclamation plan. tabs., figs.

  13. Oil sands development contributes polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Athabasca River and its tributaries

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Erin N.; Short, Jeffrey W.; Schindler, David W.; Hodson, Peter V.; Ma, Mingsheng; Kwan, Alvin K.; Fortin, Barbra L.

    2009-01-01

    For over a decade, the contribution of oil sands mining and processing to the pollution of the Athabasca River has been controversial. We show that the oil sands development is a greater source of contamination than previously realized. In 2008, within 50 km of oil sands upgrading facilities, the loading to the snowpack of airborne particulates was 11,400 T over 4 months and included 391 kg of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC), equivalent to 600 T of bitumen, while 168 kg of dissolved PAC was also deposited. Dissolved PAC concentrations in tributaries to the Athabasca increased from 0.009 μg/L upstream of oil sands development to 0.023 μg/L in winter and to 0.202 μg/L in summer downstream. In the Athabasca, dissolved PAC concentrations were mostly snow, dissolved PAC concentrations were up to 4.8 μg/L, thus, spring snowmelt and washout during rain events are important unknowns. These results indicate that major changes are needed to the way that environmental impacts of oil sands development are monitored and managed. PMID:19995964

  14. Contributions of natural and anthropogenic sources to ambient ammonia in the Athabasca Oil Sands and north-western Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whaley, Cynthia H.; Makar, Paul A.; Shephard, Mark W.; Zhang, Leiming; Zhang, Junhua; Zheng, Qiong; Akingunola, Ayodeji; Wentworth, Gregory R.; Murphy, Jennifer G.; Kharol, Shailesh K.; Cady-Pereira, Karen E.

    2018-02-01

    Atmospheric ammonia (NH3) is a short-lived pollutant that plays an important role in aerosol chemistry and nitrogen deposition. Dominant NH3 emissions are from agriculture and forest fires, both of which are increasing globally. Even remote regions with relatively low ambient NH3 concentrations, such as northern Alberta and Saskatchewan in northern Canada, may be of interest because of industrial oil sands emissions and a sensitive ecological system. A previous attempt to model NH3 in the region showed a substantial negative bias compared to satellite and aircraft observations. Known missing sources of NH3 in the model were re-emission of NH3 from plants and soils (bidirectional flux) and forest fire emissions, but the relative impact of these sources on NH3 concentrations was unknown. Here we have used a research version of the high-resolution air quality forecasting model, GEM-MACH, to quantify the relative impacts of semi-natural (bidirectional flux of NH3 and forest fire emissions) and direct anthropogenic (oil sand operations, combustion of fossil fuels, and agriculture) sources on ammonia volume mixing ratios, both at the surface and aloft, with a focus on the Athabasca Oil Sands region during a measurement-intensive campaign in the summer of 2013. The addition of fires and bidirectional flux to GEM-MACH has improved the model bias, slope, and correlation coefficients relative to ground, aircraft, and satellite NH3 measurements significantly.By running the GEM-MACH-Bidi model in three configurations and calculating their differences, we find that averaged over Alberta and Saskatchewan during this time period an average of 23.1 % of surface NH3 came from direct anthropogenic sources, 56.6 % (or 1.24 ppbv) from bidirectional flux (re-emission from plants and soils), and 20.3 % (or 0.42 ppbv) from forest fires. In the NH3 total column, an average of 19.5 % came from direct anthropogenic sources, 50.0 % from bidirectional flux, and 30.5 % from forest fires. The

  15. BIOTIGER, A NATURAL MICROBIAL PRODUCT FOR ENHANCED HYDROCARBON RECOVERY FROM OIL SANDS.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brigmon, R; Topher Berry, T; Whitney Jones, W; Charles Milliken, C

    2008-05-27

    BioTiger{trademark} is a unique microbial consortia that resulted from over 8 years of extensive microbiology screening and characterization of samples collected from a century-old Polish waste lagoon. BioTiger{trademark} shows rapid and complete degradation of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, produces novel surfactants, is tolerant of both chemical and metal toxicity and shows good activity at temperature and pH extremes. Although originally developed and used by the U.S. Department of Energy for bioremediation of oil-contaminated soils, recent efforts have proven that BioTiger{trademark} can also be used to increase hydrocarbon recovery from oil sands. This enhanced ex situ oil recovery process utilizes BioTiger{trademark} to optimize bitumen separation. A floatation test protocol with oil sands from Ft. McMurray, Canada was used for the BioTiger{trademark} evaluation. A comparison of hot water extraction/floatation test of the oil sands performed with BioTiger{trademark} demonstrated a 50% improvement in separation as measured by gravimetric analysis in 4 h and a five-fold increase at 25 hr. Since BioTiger{trademark} performs well at high temperatures and process engineering can enhance and sustain metabolic activity, it can be applied to enhance recovery of hydrocarbons from oil sands or other complex recalcitrant matrices.

  16. Improvement of Dune Sands by Residual Oil in Order to Use in Construction of Lagoons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alborz Hajian nia

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available This research which is based on experimental work, devoted to study the improvement and stabilization of dune sands in order to create strong layer and stabilize slope and floor construction of sewage Lagoons. Materials used stabilizing these soils are residual oil from the refinery. To confirm the effectiveness of the use of residual oil to improve the mechanical properties of the sand, various samples with different percentages were tested. In besides, the geotechnical and environmental tests were done. Results demonstrate that samples made with 5% oil have highest shear and unconfined compaction strength. It revealed that in compare with natural samples, cohesion and loading capacity highly increased and permeability decrease well. Percentage of fine aggregate, minerals and durability of oil in soil material were also investigated. Finally, effects of sewage on the samples were analyzed, and performance the oils were evaluated in order to use in lagoons.

  17. Satellite Monitoring Over the Canadian Oil Sands: Highlights from Aura OMI and TES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shephard, Mark W.; McLinden, Chris; Fioletov, Vitali; Cady-Pereira, Karen E.; Krotkov, Nick A.; Boersma, Folkert; Li, Can; Luo, Ming; Bhartia, P. K.; Joiner, Joanna

    2014-01-01

    Satellite remote sensing provides a unique perspective for air quality monitoring in and around the Canadian Oil Sands as a result of its spatial and temporal coverage. Presented are Aura satellite observations of key pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), methanol (CH3OH), and formic acid (HCOOH) over the Canadian Oil Sands. Some of the highlights include: (i) the evolution of NO2 and SO2 from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), including comparisons with other nearby sources, (ii) two years of ammonia, carbon monoxide, methanol, and formic acid observations from 240 km North-South Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) transects through the oils sands, and (iii) preliminary insights into emissions derived from these observations.

  18. Are naphthenic acids from oil sands tailings waters really naphthenic acids?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fedorak, P.M.; Grewer, D.M.; Young, R.F.; Whittal, R.M. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Naphthenic acids (NA) are toxic compounds that occur in oil sands tailings waters, and are comprised of a complex mixture of alkyl-substituted acyclic and cycloaliphatic carboxylic acids. This PowerPoint presentation discussed some of the analytica methods used to characterize NA in tailings water samples. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is traditionally used to analyze the NA in tailings samples. However, newer method include electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (ESI-FT-ICR MS). The method has been used to identify oxy-NA that contain more than 2 oxygen atoms. Ion counts from ultrahigh resolution MS of oil sands tailings waters were presented. The study concluded by suggesting that when considering oil sands tailings, the term NA should be replaced with the term acid-extractable organics, that include classical NA, oxy-NA, and other unidentified organic acids. tabs., figs.

  19. Ozonation of oil sands process water removes naphthenic acids and toxicity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott, Angela C; Zubot, Warren; MacKinnon, Michael D; Smith, Daniel W; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2008-03-01

    Naphthenic acids are naturally-occurring, aliphatic or alicyclic carboxylic acids found in petroleum. Water used to extract bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands becomes toxic to various organisms due to the presence of naphthenic acids released from the bitumen. Natural biodegradation was expected to be the most cost-effective method for reducing the toxicity of the oil sands process water (OSPW). However, naphthenic acids are poorly biodegraded in the holding ponds located on properties leased by the oil sands companies. In the present study, chemical oxidation using ozone was investigated as an option for mitigation of this toxicity. Ozonation of sediment-free OSPW was conducted using proprietary technology manufactured by Seair Diffusion Systems Inc. Ozonation for 50min generated a non-toxic effluent (based on the Microtox bioassay) and decreased the naphthenic acids concentration by approximately 70%. After 130min of ozonation, the residual naphthenic acids concentration was 2mgl(-1): or = 22).

  20. Oil spills and their impacts on sand beach invertebrate communities: A literature review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bejarano, Adriana C; Michel, Jacqueline

    2016-11-01

    Sand beaches are highly dynamic habitats that can experience considerable impacts from oil spills. This review provides a synthesis of the scientific literature on major oil spills and their impacts on sand beaches, with emphasis on studies documenting effects and recoveries of intertidal invertebrate communities. One of the key observations arising from this review is that more attention has generally been given to studying the impacts of oil spills on invertebrates (mostly macrobenthos), and not to documenting their biological recovery. Biological recovery of sand beach invertebrates is highly dynamic, depending on several factors including site-specific physical properties and processes (e.g., sand grain size, beach exposure), the degree of oiling, depth of oil burial, and biological factors (e.g., species-specific life-history traits). Recovery of affected communities ranges from several weeks to several years, with longer recoveries generally associated with physical factors that facilitate oil persistence, or when cleanup activities are absent on heavily oiled beaches. There are considerable challenges in quantifying impacts from spills on sand beach invertebrates because of insufficient baseline information (e.g., distribution, abundance and composition), knowledge gaps in their natural variability (spatial and temporal), and inadequate sampling and replication during and after oil spills. Thus, environment assessments of impacts and recovery require a rigorous experimental design that controls for confounding sources of variability. General recommendations on sampling strategies and toxicity testing, and a preliminary framework for incorporating species-specific life history traits into future assessments are also provided. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. In situ recovery of oil from Utah tar sand: a summary of tar sand research at the Laramie Energy Technology Center

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Marchant, L.C.; Westhoff, J.D.

    1985-10-01

    This report describes work done by the United States Department of Energy's Laramie Energy Technology Center from 1971 through 1982 to develop technology for future recovery of oil from US tar sands. Work was concentrated on major US tar sand deposits that are found in Utah. Major objectives of the program were as follows: determine the feasibility of in situ recovery methods applied to tar sand deposits; and establish a system for classifying tar sand deposits relative to those characteristics that would affect the design and operation of various in situ recovery processes. Contents of this report include: (1) characterization of Utah tar sand; (2) laboratory extraction studies relative to Utah tar sand in situ methods; (3) geological site evaluation; (4) environmental assessments and water availability; (5) reverse combustion field experiment, TS-1C; (6) a reverse combustion followed by forward combustion field experiment, TS-2C; (7) tar sand permeability enhancement studies; (8) two-well steam injection experiment; (9) in situ steam-flood experiment, TS-1S; (10) design of a tar sand field experiment for air-stream co-injection, TS-4; (11) wastewater treatment and oil analyses; (12) economic evaluation of an in situ tar sand recovery process; and (13) appendix I (extraction studies involving Utah tar sands, surface methods). 70 figs., 68 tabs.

  2. Paleontological overview of oil shale and tar sands areas in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Murphey, P. C.; Daitch, D.; Environmental Science Division

    2009-02-11

    In August 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. In Section 369 of this Act, also known as the ''Oil Shale, Tar Sands, and Other Strategic Unconventional Fuels Act of 2005,'' Congress declared that oil shale and tar sands (and other unconventional fuels) are strategically important domestic energy resources that should be developed to reduce the nation's growing dependence on oil from politically and economically unstable foreign sources. In addition, Congress declared that both research- and commercial-scale development of oil shale and tar sands should (1) be conducted in an environmentally sound manner using management practices that will minimize potential impacts, (2) occur with an emphasis on sustainability, and (3) benefit the United States while taking into account concerns of the affected states and communities. To support this declaration of policy, Congress directed the Secretary of the Interior to undertake a series of steps, several of which are directly related to the development of a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands. One of these steps was the completion of a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to analyze the impacts of a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands, with an emphasis on the most geologically prospective lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. For oil shale, the scope of the PEIS analysis includes public lands within the Green River, Washakie, Uinta, and Piceance Creek Basins. For tar sands, the scope includes Special Tar Sand Areas (STSAs) located in Utah. This paleontological resources overview report was prepared in support of the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and PEIS, and it is intended to be used by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regional paleontologists and field office staff to support future

  3. Mass spectrometry of oil sands naphthenic acids : degradation in OSPW and wetland plants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Headley, J. [Environment Canada, Saskatoon, SK (Canada). Water Science and Technology Directorate

    2009-07-01

    This presentation discussed mass spectrometry of oil sands naphthenic acids and the degradation in OSPW and wetland plants. It presented background information on the Athabasca oil sands and naphthenic acids which involve a mixture of alkanes and cycloalkane carboxylic acids with aliphatic side chains. The presentation also discussed mass spectrometry with electrospray operating in negative ion modes. Loop injection, external standard methods and solid phase extraction were reviewed along with improved analysis by removing background ions. Other topics that were presented included hydroponic test systems and wetland plant toxicity, growth and transpiration. It was concluded that dissipation included species containing oxygen, ozone, O{sub 4}, and O{sub 5}. tabs., figs.

  4. The Alberta dilemma: optimal sharing of a water resource by an agricultural and an oil sector

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gaudet, G.; Moreaux, M.; Withagen, C.A.A.M.

    2006-01-01

    We fully characterize the optimal time paths of production and water usage by an agricultural and an oil sector that share a limited water resource. We show that for any given water stock, if the oil stock is sufficiently large, it will become optimal to have a phase during which the agricultural

  5. Dust is the dominant source of "heavy metals" to peat moss (Sphagnum fuscum) in the bogs of the Athabasca Bituminous Sands region of northern Alberta.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shotyk, William; Bicalho, Beatriz; Cuss, Chad W; Duke, M John M; Noernberg, Tommy; Pelletier, Rick; Steinnes, Eiliv; Zaccone, Claudio

    2016-01-01

    Sphagnum fuscum was collected from twenty-five ombrotrophic (rain-fed) peat bogs surrounding open pit mines and upgrading facilities of Athabasca Bituminous Sands (ABS) in northern Alberta (AB) in order to assess the extent of atmospheric contamination by trace elements. As a control, this moss species was also collected at a bog near Utikuma (UTK) in an undeveloped part of AB and 264km SW of the ABS region. For comparison, this moss was also collected in central AB, in the vicinity of the City of Edmonton which is approximately 500km to the south of the ABS region, from the Wagner Wetland which is 22km W of the City, from Seba Beach (ca. 90km W) and from Elk Island National Park (ca. 45km E). All of the moss samples were digested and trace elements concentrations determined using ICP-SMS at a commercial laboratory, with selected samples also analyzed using instrumental neutron activation analysis at the University of Alberta. The mosses from the ABS region yielded lower concentrations of Ag, As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Pb, Sb, Tl, and Zn compared to the moss from the Edmonton area. Concentrations of Ni and Mo in the mosses were comparable in these two regions, but V was more abundant in the ABS samples. Compared with the surface vegetation of eight peat cores collected in recent years from British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, the mean concentrations of Ag, As, Bi, Cd, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Tl and Zn in the mosses from the ABS region are generally much lower. In fact, the concentrations of these trace elements in the samples from the ABS region are comparable to the corresponding values in forest moss from remote regions of central and northern Norway. Lithophile element concentrations (Ba, Be, Ga, Ge, Li, Sc, Th, Ti, Zr) explain most of the variation in trace metal concentrations in the moss samples. The mean concentrations of Th and Zr are greatest in the moss samples from the ABS region, reflecting dust inputs to the bogs from open pit mines, aggregate

  6. Adsorption of surfactants on sand surface in enhanced oil recovery: Isotherms, kinetics and thermodynamic studies

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bera, Achinta; Kumar, T.; Ojha, Keka; Mandal, Ajay, E-mail: mandal_ajay@hotmail.com

    2013-11-01

    Adsorption of surfactants onto reservoir rock surface may result in the loss and reduction of their concentrations in surfactant flooding, which may render them less efficient or ineffective in practical applications of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Surfactant flooding for EOR received attraction due to its ability to increase the displacement efficiency by lowering the interfacial tension between oil and water and mobilizing the residual oil. This article highlights the adsorption of surfactants onto sand surface with variation of different influencing factors. It has been experimentally found that adsorption of cationic surfactant on sand surface is more and less for anionic surfactant, while non-ionic surfactant shows intermediate behaviour. X-ray diffraction (XRD) study of clean sand particles has been made to determine the main component present in the sand particles. The interaction between sand particles and surfactant has been studied by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy of the sand particles before and after aging with surfactant. Salinity plays an important role in adsorption of anionic surfactant. Batch experiments were also performed to understand the effects of pH and adsorbent dose on the sorption efficiency. The sand particles exhibited high adsorption efficiency at low pH for anionic and nonionic surfactants. But opposite trend was found for cationic surfactant. Adsorption data were analyzed by fitting with Langmuir, Freundlich, Redlich-Peterson, and Sips isotherm models. Results show that the Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second order kinetics models suit the equilibrium and kinetics of adsorption on sand surface. Thermodynamics feasibility of the adsorption process was also studied to verify the spontaneity of the process.

  7. Isolation and characterization of psychotrophic bacteria from oil-reservoir water and oil sands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kato, T; Haruki, M; Imanaka, T; Morikawa, M; Kanaya, S

    2001-06-01

    Four psychrotrophic strains, which grew at 4 degrees C but not at 37 degrees C, were isolated from Japanese oil-reservoir water (strains SIB1, SIC1, SIS1) and Canadian oil sands (strain CAB1). Strains SIB1, SIS1, and CAB1 had a maximum growth rate at 20 degrees C and grew to the highest cell densities at the cultivation temperature of 0-4 degrees C. Strain SIS1 was capable of growing even at -5 degrees C. The growth profile of strain SIC1 was rather similar to that of a mesophilic bacterium. Strains SIB1, SIC1, and SIS1 were identified as members of the genus Shewanella, and strain CAB1 was a member of the genus Arthrobacter. All these strains exhibited weak degradation ability against catechol, a hydroxylated aromatic hydrocarbon, and tributyrin. These strains are expected to be of potential use in the in situ bioremediation technology of hazardous hydrocarbons and esters under low-temperature conditions.

  8. Emissions databases for polycyclic aromatic compounds in the Canadian Athabasca oil sands region - development using current knowledge and evaluation with passive sampling and air dispersion modelling data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qiu, Xin; Cheng, Irene; Yang, Fuquan; Horb, Erin; Zhang, Leiming; Harner, Tom

    2018-03-01

    Two speciated and spatially resolved emissions databases for polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) were developed. The first database was derived from volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions data provided by the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) and the second database was derived from additional data collected within the Joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) program. CALPUFF modelling results for atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated PAHs, and dibenzothiophenes (DBTs), obtained using each of the emissions databases, are presented and compared with measurements from a passive air monitoring network. The JOSM-derived emissions resulted in better model-measurement agreement in the total PAH concentrations and for most PAH species concentrations compared to results using CEMA-derived emissions. At local sites near oil sands mines, the percent error of the model compared to observations decreased from 30 % using the CEMA-derived emissions to 17 % using the JOSM-derived emissions. The improvement at local sites was likely attributed to the inclusion of updated tailings pond emissions estimated from JOSM activities. In either the CEMA-derived or JOSM-derived emissions scenario, the model underestimated PAH concentrations by a factor of 3 at remote locations. Potential reasons for the disagreement include forest fire emissions, re-emissions of previously deposited PAHs, and long-range transport not considered in the model. Alkylated PAH and DBT concentrations were also significantly underestimated. The CALPUFF model is expected to predict higher concentrations because of the limited chemistry and deposition modelling. Thus the model underestimation of PACs is likely due to gaps in the emissions database for these compounds and uncertainties in the methodology for estimating the emissions. Future work is required that focuses on improving the PAC emissions estimation and

  9. Emissions databases for polycyclic aromatic compounds in the Canadian Athabasca oil sands region – development using current knowledge and evaluation with passive sampling and air dispersion modelling data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    X. Qiu

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Two speciated and spatially resolved emissions databases for polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR were developed. The first database was derived from volatile organic compound (VOC emissions data provided by the Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA and the second database was derived from additional data collected within the Joint Canada–Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM program. CALPUFF modelling results for atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, alkylated PAHs, and dibenzothiophenes (DBTs, obtained using each of the emissions databases, are presented and compared with measurements from a passive air monitoring network. The JOSM-derived emissions resulted in better model–measurement agreement in the total PAH concentrations and for most PAH species concentrations compared to results using CEMA-derived emissions. At local sites near oil sands mines, the percent error of the model compared to observations decreased from 30 % using the CEMA-derived emissions to 17 % using the JOSM-derived emissions. The improvement at local sites was likely attributed to the inclusion of updated tailings pond emissions estimated from JOSM activities. In either the CEMA-derived or JOSM-derived emissions scenario, the model underestimated PAH concentrations by a factor of 3 at remote locations. Potential reasons for the disagreement include forest fire emissions, re-emissions of previously deposited PAHs, and long-range transport not considered in the model. Alkylated PAH and DBT concentrations were also significantly underestimated. The CALPUFF model is expected to predict higher concentrations because of the limited chemistry and deposition modelling. Thus the model underestimation of PACs is likely due to gaps in the emissions database for these compounds and uncertainties in the methodology for estimating the emissions. Future work is required that focuses on improving the PAC

  10. As good as it gets : Alberta economic profile and forecast

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hirsch, T.

    2006-04-01

    This economic profile and forecast report for the province of Alberta revealed that nearly every sector of the economy is operating at full, or near full capacity. Alberta's strong economy is a result of high energy prices, rapid population growth and rising employment. Increased provincial government spending along with tax reductions for businesses also contribute to a strong economy. However, the the province still faces some economic challenges, including a general labour shortage. Forestry and agriculture are under pressure of low commodity prices and high input costs, and the province has not articulated a long-term strategy for managing non-renewable natural resource revenue. In addition, the provincial economy is highly dependent upon volatile energy prices. Despite these challenges, the report states that the momentum is on the side of continued economic growth in Alberta. The Canada West Foundation is forecasting real growth in the gross domestic product of 5.2 per cent for 2006 and 4.7 per cent for 2007. The strong energy sector is largely responsible for much of Alberta's economic growth. An estimated 20,000 wells will be drilled in the province in 2006, and high oil prices will lead to record drilling and oil sands investment. This report also highlighted the economic activity in other sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, international exports, hi-tech, forestry, agriculture, and construction. Information regarding interprovincial migration and population growth was included along with public finances. 16 figs

  11. The effect of sand composition on the degradation of buried oil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Fernández, Sandra; Bernabeu, Ana M; Rey, Daniel; Mucha, Ana P; Almeida, C Marisa R; Bouchette, Frédéric

    2014-09-15

    The potential effects of the mineralogical composition of sediment on the degradation of oil buried on sandy beaches were investigated. Toward that purpose, a laboratory experiment was carried out with sandy sediment collected along NW Iberian Peninsula beaches, tar-balls from the Prestige oil spill (NW Spain) and seawater. The results indicate that the mineralogical composition is important for the physical appearance of the oil (tar-balls or oil coatings). This finding prompted a reassessment of the current sequence of degradation for buried oil based on compositional factors. Moreover, the halo development of the oil coatings might be enhanced by the carbonate concentration of the sand. These findings open new prospects for future monitoring and management programs for oiled sandy beaches. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Alberta bitumen strategies and royalties delivered in kind

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ekelund, Mike [Alberta Department of Energy (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    With North America's growing energy demands, Alberta's oil sands will provide a secure source of energy, especially considering the region's bitumen production growth potential for years to come. The Government of Alberta's provincial energy strategy is a guiding document for resource development, which includes bitumen production. Bitumen production policies developed under the strategy aim to support clean energy development, wise energy use, and sustained economic prosperity. Such policies include reducing CO2 emissions through carbon capture and storage projects, and improved monitoring, aligned regulations and efficient enforcement in the industry though a regulatory enhancement project. Bitumen Royalty in Kind (BRIK) has been one tool used to implement some aspects of the trategy, such as fostering value-added oil sands development, enhancing the bitumen market in Alberta, and sharing in the gains while working to mitigate the risks from processing bitumen into further value added products. Work continues on many policies and strategies involving BRIK that will impact bitumen development and markets.

  13. Transmission infrastructure development in Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stubbings, R.V. [EnVision Energy Consulting Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2004-09-01

    Major power blackouts have resulted in greater attention to reliability. Changes in industry structure have placed unanticipated demands on transmission systems. Load growth has outstripped transmission investment, and there are major implications for infrastructure development due to the enactment of the new transmission regulation. This paper discusses several projects addressing new developments in the electric power industry, including details of an Edmonton-Calgary path upgrade in order to increase north-south transmission capacity. Proposed southwest Transmission upgrades were reviewed, including the construction of a double-circuit 240 kV line from Pincher Creek to Peigan or Mud Lake, in order to improve reliability and improve access to southern wind and hydro generation. Other possible projects include a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) from Fort McMurray to Calgary and a Northern Lights Transmission project between Fort McMurray and the Pacific Northwest. Various investment drivers were reviewed, with oil sands processing providing steam hosts for cogeneration at Fort McMurray and Cold Lake generation as well as Lake Wabamun. Plans concerning Southwest Alberta generation were presented, including wind-powered generation, and load growth in southern Alberta. Various investment limiters include absorption of existing capacity; improved facility utilization; and distributed generation. Competition for investment funds were discussed, in addition to uncertainties over generation siting as well as regulatory difficulties and power flow pattern irregularities due to increasing market integration. Uncertain access to markets, locational marginal pricing and various southern Alberta generation incentives were reviewed. Market implications include generation mix; lower price volatility; reduced potential for market power abuse by generators; and increased export levels. The implications for British Columbia were highlighted, with particular reference to an

  14. Groundwater Discharges to Rivers in the Western Canadian Oil Sands Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellis, J.; Jasechko, S.

    2016-12-01

    Groundwater discharges into rivers impacts the movement and fate of nutrients and contaminants in the environment. Understanding groundwater-surface water interactions is especially important in the western Canadian oil sands, where groundwater contamination risks are elevated and baseline water chemistry data is lacking, leading to substantial uncertainties about anthropogenic influences on local river quality. High salinity groundwater springs sourced from deep aquifers, comprised of Pleistocene-aged glacial meltwater, are known to discharge into many rivers in the oil sands. Understanding connections between deep aquifers and surficial waterways is important in order to determine natural inputs into these rivers and to assess the potential for injected wastewater or oil extraction fluids to enter surface waters. While these springs have been identified, their spatial distribution along rivers has not been fully characterized. Here we present river chemistry data collected along a number of major river corridors in the Canadian oil sands region. We show that saline groundwater springs vary spatially along the course of these rivers and tend to be concentrated where the rivers incise Devonian- or Cretaceous-aged aquifers along an evaporite dissolution front. Our results suggest that water sourced from Devonian aquifers may travel through bitumen-bearing Cretaceous units and discharge into local rivers, implying a strong groundwater-surface water connection in specialized locations. These findings indicate that oil sands process-affected waters that are injected at depth have the potential to move through these aquifers and reach the rivers at the surface at some time in the future. Groundwater-surface water interactions remain key to understanding the risks oil sands activities pose to aquatic ecosystems and downstream communities.

  15. Heat-resistant agent used for control sand of steam huff and puff heavy oil well

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, F. S.; Liu, G. L.; Lu, Y. J.; Xiong, X. C.; Ma, J. H.; Su, H. M.

    2018-01-01

    Heat-resistant agent containing hydroxymethyl group was synthesized from coal tar, which has similar structure with phenolic resin and could improve the heat resistance of phenolic resin sand control agent. The results showed that the heat resistance of the sand control agent was improved by adding 10% to 30% heat-resistant agent, after 280°C high temperature treatment for 7d, the compressive strength of consolidated core was increased to more than 5MPa. The compressive strength of consolidation core was not decreased after immersion in formation water, crude oil, acid or alkaline medium, which showed good resistance to medium immersion. The sand control agent had small core damage and the core permeability damage ratio of sand control agent consolidation was only 18.7%.

  16. The Relationship Between Seismicity and the Oil and Gas Industry in Western Alberta and Eastern B.C.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atkinson, G. M.; Eaton, D. W. S.; Ghofrani, H.; Walker, D.; Cheadle, B.; Schultz, R.; Shcherbakov, R.; Tiampo, K. F.; Gu, Y. J.; Harrington, R. M.; Liu, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Significantly increased production of hydrocarbons in North America is being driven by the development of unconventional resources whose commercial viability, in many cases, depends upon massive subsurface injection of fluids. Although relatively uncommon, elevated pore pressure from fluid injection of any kind can induce earthquake activity by activating slip on a proximal fault. In the western Canada sedimentary basin (which follows the Rocky Mountain foothills region and straddles the border between Alberta and B.C.), we find that hydraulic fracture treatment, wherein fluids are injected under high pressure in long laterally-drilled wells in order to induce localized fracturing of a rock formation, is the primary triggering mechanism of induced seismicity. This contrasts with the central U.S., where most induced seismicity has been attributed to large-scale wastewater injection into deep disposal wells. Our findings are based on a comprehensive statistical analysis of seismicity at the M≥3 level since 1985, along with a complete well database for the region, containing information on many thousands of oil and gas wells. Since 2010, most of the regional earthquakes of M≥3 are correlated in both time and space with hydraulic fracturing. Monte Carlo simulations confirm that the observed correlations are extremely unlikely (<<1%) to have been obtained by chance. Improved understanding of regional variability in fault activation processes, accounting for operational and geological factors, will aid in the development and validation of predictive models for the time-dependent hazards from induced earthquakes.

  17. Process water treatment in Canada's oil sands industry : 2 : a review of emerging technologies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Allen, E.W.

    2008-01-01

    This review was conducted to identify candidate treatment technologies for treating oil sands process water. The oil sands industry in Canada uses large volumes of fresh water in order to extract bitumen deposits. The development of process water treatment technologies has become a critical issue for the industry, particularly as oil sand production is expected to triple in the next decade. However, treatment technologies must be adapted to consider the fouling potential of bitumens and fine clays as well as the effect of alkaline process water on treatment performance. The review included developments in chemical modifications to membranes and adsorbents designed to improve pollutant removal and reduce fouling; hybridization technologies designed to enhance the biological treatment of toxic feedwaters; recent advances in photocatalytic oxidation technologies for organic compounds; and new designs for large-scale treatment wetlands for polluted waste waters. It was concluded that major knowledge gaps must be optimized and preliminary studies must be conducted in order to understand how the treatment technologies will be affected by the chemical and physical characteristics of oil sands process water. 188 refs., 8 tabs

  18. Physiological and biochemical responses of small fish exposed to Athabasca oil sands sediment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tetrault, G.R.; Environment Canada, Burlington, ON; McMaster, M.E.; Dixon, D.G.; Parrott, J.L.

    2002-01-01

    A study was conducted to determine the influence of naturally occurring oil sands related compounds on the reproductive function and hepatic responses of fish. Wild fish, both exposed and unexposed to the compounds in question, were collected along with sediments for laboratory testing. The study showed that in vitro gonadal incubation levels of steroid production were lower at the tributary sites within the oil sands deposits. One indicator of exposure to oil sands related compounds (hepatic 7-ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity) was shown to be 5 times higher at the same sites. In addition, slimy sculpin were exposed to sediment samples from the Steepbank River site for 4 to 8 days to evaluate the absorption of the indicator. The indicator in exposed fish was found to be comparable to that measured in fish native to the oil sands area. The study was not capable of predicting an altered ability of gonadal tissue of exposed fish to produce steroid hormones in vitro. It was concluded that future development could compromise the reproductive health of fish in the area

  19. Royal Society of Canada expert panel report : environmental and health impacts of Canada's oil sands industry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gosselin, P.; Hrudey, S.E.; Naeth, M.A.; Plourde, A.; Therrien, R.; Laval Univ., Quebec City, PQ; Van Der Kraak, G.; Guelph Univ., ON; Xu, Z.

    2010-12-01

    This expert panel report was commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada to provide a comprehensive evidence-based assessment of the environmental and health impacts of Canada's oil sands industry. The report evaluated the feasibility of land reclamation and the impacts of oil sands contaminants on downstream residents. Health impacts on residents living in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo were assessed, and the impacts on regional water supplies were evaluated. Regional water and ground water quantities were examined, and issues related to tailing pond operations and reclamation were examined. Ambient air quality impacts were assessed, as well as potential impacts of the oil sands industry on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The environmental regulatory performance of operators in the industry was also evaluated. A summary of economic and policy issues related to the industry was also provided. The study identified major gaps in the process of assessment, prevention, and mitigation of the health impacts of oil sands exploitation, as as major indirect health impacts linked to past exploitation activities. 672 refs., 11 tabs., 11 figs. 10 appendices.

  20. Surrounding circumstances and custom: Extrinsic evidence in the interpretation of oil and gas industry agreements in Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hardy, D.E. (Ballem, McDill, MacInnes and Eden, Calgary, AB (Canada))

    1989-01-01

    The oil and gas industry is built on agreements. When the inevitable disuputes arise as to the rights and obligations of the parties under these agreements, the courts are often called upon to construe the agreements. During such litigation, an issue which often arises is the extent to which evidence outside the agreement can be used as an aid to interpretation. The courts use the parol evidence rule to determine this issue. The purpose of this paper is to consider two exceptions to the parole evidence rule, the exceptions for surrounding circumstances and for custom, which are argued frequently in oil and gas industry litigation as grounds for the admission of extrinsic evidence to aid in the interpretation of written agreements. While the issue of whether or not evidence is admissible under one or both of these exceptions is rarely the central issue in a case, it often plays a significant role in how a court construes a written agreement. The purpose of this paper, then, is to explain the basis for these two exceptions, discover the principles which have developed regarding their application in Alberta courts, and describe some of the difficulties which may be encountered in their application. As well as illustrating the principles governing the application of the surrounding circumstances and custom exceptions, the case authority surveyed in this paper illustrates two important facts about the application of these exceptions to the parol evidence rule. The first is that a court's decision on whether or not to admit evidence under one of these exceptions can have a significant impact on how that court construes an agreement and, therefore, on the outcome of a dispute. The second is that difficulties exist in the way in which some courts have applied the exceptions.

  1. An added dimension: GC atmospheric pressure chemical ionization FTICR MS and the Athabasca oil sands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barrow, Mark P; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V

    2014-08-19

    The Athabasca oil sands industry, an alternative source of petroleum, uses large quantities of water during processing of the oil sands. In keeping with Canadian environmental policy, the processed water cannot be released to natural waters and is thus retained on-site in large tailings ponds. There is an increasing need for further development of analytical methods for environmental monitoring. The following details the first example of the application of gas chromatography atmospheric pressure chemical ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (GC-APCI-FTICR MS) for the study of environmental samples from the Athabasca region of Canada. APCI offers the advantages of reduced fragmentation compared to other ionization methods and is also more amenable to compounds that are inaccessible by electrospray ionization. The combination of GC with ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry can improve the characterization of complex mixtures where components cannot be resolved by GC alone. This, in turn, affords the ability to monitor extracted ion chromatograms for components of the same nominal mass and isomers in the complex mixtures. The proof of concept work described here is based upon the characterization of one oil sands process water sample and two groundwater samples in the area of oil sands activity. Using the new method, the Ox and OxS compound classes predominated, with OxS classes being particularly relevant to the oil sands industry. The potential to resolve retention times for individual components within the complex mixture, highlighting contributions from isomers, and to characterize retention time profiles for homologous series is shown, in addition to the ability to follow profiles of double bond equivalents and carbon number for a compound class as a function of retention time. The method is shown to be well-suited for environmental forensics.

  2. Ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) induction in rainbow trout exposed to diluted oil sand wastewater

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Verbeek, A.; Mackay, W.; Birkholz, D.

    1995-01-01

    Toxic industrial wastewaters, such as those from oil sands extraction, must be assessed for their potential sublethal effects before they can be safely disposed in the environment. The induction of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity was assessed as a potential bioindicator of sublethal stress in rainbow trout exposed to sublethal concentrations of oil sands tailings water. The mixed-function oxygenase system in rainbow trout responded rapidly following a definable concentration-response relationship; however, it proved to be a relatively insensitive indicator of sublethal exposure to oil sands tailings water. Increased activity and maximal induction, as a result of exposure to 0.3 and 0.6 times the LC 50 (Toxic Units), occurred rapidly within 24 hours of exposure. The linearity of the relationship between the concentration of oil sands tailings pond water and ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity, expressed by the following regression equation, In EROD = 3.68 (conc.) + 3.20, had an r 2 value of 0.593. Maximal induction required 0.4--0.8 Toxic Units. The absolute level of maximal induction was only one-fifth to one-sixth of the potential induction as found in response to the positive control, 0.5 mg/kg β-naphthoflavone (i.p.). The authors also present data that suggests that the different levels of induction observed in trout exposed to tailings pond water vs those injected with 0.5 mg/kg β-naphthoflavone (i.p.) may be indicative of two different P450 isoforms, the CYP4Al isoform responding to the organic acidic surfactants in oil sands tailings pond water and the CYP1A1 isoform, the isoform generally associated with most xenobiotic transformation in fish, responding to β-naphthoflavone

  3. Ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) induction in rainbow trout exposed to diluted oil sand wastewater

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Verbeek, A. [Chemex Labs Alberta Inc., Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); Mackay, W. [Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); Birkholz, D. [Enviro-Test Labs., Edmonton, Alberta (Canada)

    1995-12-31

    Toxic industrial wastewaters, such as those from oil sands extraction, must be assessed for their potential sublethal effects before they can be safely disposed in the environment. The induction of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity was assessed as a potential bioindicator of sublethal stress in rainbow trout exposed to sublethal concentrations of oil sands tailings water. The mixed-function oxygenase system in rainbow trout responded rapidly following a definable concentration-response relationship; however, it proved to be a relatively insensitive indicator of sublethal exposure to oil sands tailings water. Increased activity and maximal induction, as a result of exposure to 0.3 and 0.6 times the LC{sub 50} (Toxic Units), occurred rapidly within 24 hours of exposure. The linearity of the relationship between the concentration of oil sands tailings pond water and ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity, expressed by the following regression equation, In EROD = 3.68 (conc.) + 3.20, had an r{sup 2} value of 0.593. Maximal induction required 0.4--0.8 Toxic Units. The absolute level of maximal induction was only one-fifth to one-sixth of the potential induction as found in response to the positive control, 0.5 mg/kg {beta}-naphthoflavone (i.p.). The authors also present data that suggests that the different levels of induction observed in trout exposed to tailings pond water vs those injected with 0.5 mg/kg {beta}-naphthoflavone (i.p.) may be indicative of two different P450 isoforms, the CYP4Al isoform responding to the organic acidic surfactants in oil sands tailings pond water and the CYP1A1 isoform, the isoform generally associated with most xenobiotic transformation in fish, responding to {beta}-naphthoflavone.

  4. Supplying Synthetic Crude Oil from Canadian Oil Sands: A Comparative Study of the Costs and CO2 Emissions of Mining and In-Situ Recovery

    OpenAIRE

    Méjean, A.; Hope, C.

    2010-01-01

    High crude oil prices and the eventual decline of conventional oil production raise the issue of alternative fuels such as non-conventional oil. The paper describes a simple probabilistic model of the costs of synthetic crude oil (SCO) produced from Canadian oil sands. Synthetic crude oil is obtained by upgrading bitumen that is first produced through mining or in-situ recovery techniques. This forward-looking analysis quantifies the effects of learning and production constraints on the costs...

  5. Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalyander, P Soupy; Long, Joseph W; Plant, Nathaniel G; Thompson, David M

    2014-03-15

    Heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates that formed in the surf zone following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continued to cause beach re-oiling 3years after initial stranding. To understand this phenomena and inform operational response now and for future spills, a numerical method to assess the mobility and alongshore movement of these "surface residual balls" (SRBs) was developed and applied to the Alabama and western Florida coasts. Alongshore flow and SRB mobility and potential flux were used to identify likely patterns of transport and deposition. Results indicate that under typical calm conditions, cm-size SRBs are unlikely to move alongshore, whereas mobility and transport is likely during storms. The greater mobility of sand compared to SRBs makes burial and exhumation of SRBs likely, and inlets were identified as probable SRB traps. Analysis of field data supports these model results. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  6. High temperature transformation of tar-asphaltene components of oil sand bitumen

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Imanbayev Yerzhan

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Transformations of high-molecular-weight compounds of oil sand natural bitumen under the heat treatment were studied in this work. For that purpose the natural bitumen isolated from oil sand taken from the Beke field (Kazakhstan was used as a substrate. Thermal processing of natural bitumen leads to a general change in the chemical composition of components and to an increase in the output of certain fractions. The contents of oil, tar and asphaltenes were determined and the elemental composition of tar-asphaltene compounds was evaluated. Molecular structures of the tar and asphaltene components of natural bitumen before and after cracking have been defined from the data of elemental analysis, NMR spectroscopy and molecular weight. The high molecular compounds were presented as giant molecules containing small aromatic islands some of which were linked by aliphatic chains, that was proved by infrared spectroscopy.

  7. Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalyander, P. Soupy; Long, Joesph W.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Thompson, David M.

    2014-01-01

    Heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates that formed in the surf zone following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continued to cause beach re-oiling 3 years after initial stranding. To understand this phenomena and inform operational response now and for future spills, a numerical method to assess the mobility and alongshore movement of these “surface residual balls” (SRBs) was developed and applied to the Alabama and western Florida coasts. Alongshore flow and SRB mobility and potential flux were used to identify likely patterns of transport and deposition. Results indicate that under typical calm conditions, cm-size SRBs are unlikely to move alongshore, whereas mobility and transport is likely during storms. The greater mobility of sand compared to SRBs makes burial and exhumation of SRBs likely, and inlets were identified as probable SRB traps. Analysis of field data supports these model results.

  8. Biogeochemical processes controlling the mobility of major ions and trace metals in aquitard sediments beneath an oil sand tailing pond: Laboratory studies and reactive transport modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holden, A. A.; Haque, S. E.; Mayer, K. U.; Ulrich, A. C.

    2013-08-01

    Increased production and expansion of the oil sand industry in Alberta are of great benefit to the economy, but they carry major environmental challenges. The volume of fluid fine tailings requiring storage is 840 × 106 m3 and growing, making it imperative that we better understand the fate and transport of oil sand process-affected water (OSPW) seepage from these facilities. Accordingly, the current study seeks to characterize both a) the potential for major ion and trace element release, and b) the principal biogeochemical processes involved, as tailing pond OSPW infiltrates into, and interacts with, underlying glacial till sediments prior to reaching down gradient aquifers or surface waters. Objectives were addressed through a series of aqueous and solid phase experiments, including radial diffusion cells, an isotope analysis, X-ray diffraction, and sequential extractions. The diffusion cells were also simulated in a reactive transport framework to elucidate key reaction processes. The experiments indicate that the ingress and interaction of OSPW with the glacial till sediment-pore water system will result in: a mitigation of ingressing Na (retardation), displacement and then limited precipitation of exchangeable Ca and Mg (as carbonates), sulfate reduction and subsequent precipitation of the produced sulfides, as well as biodegradation of organic carbon. High concentrations of ingressing Cl (~ 375 mg L- 1) and Na (~ 575 mg L- 1) (even though the latter is delayed, or retarded) are expected to migrate through the till and into the underlying sand channel. Trace element mobility was influenced by ion exchange, oxidation-reduction, and mineral phase reactions including reductive dissolution of metal oxyhydroxides — in accordance with previous observations within sandy aquifer settings. Furthermore, although several trace elements showed the potential for release (Al, B, Ba, Cd, Mn, Pb, Si, Sr), large-scale mobilization is not supported. Thus, the present

  9. Our fair share : report of the Alberta Royalty Review Panel

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hunter, W.M.; Chrapko, E.; Dwarkin, J.; McKenzie, K.; Plourde, A.; Spanglet, S.

    2007-01-01

    This final report conducted by the Alberta Royalty Review Panel determined that Albertans are not currently receiving their fair share from energy developments within the province. Royalty rates have not kept pace with recent changes in resource development in the province or with changes in world energy markets. It was argued that since Albertans own their resources, the government of Alberta must alter the royalty and tax system in order to ensure that appropriate royalties are paid. An equitable and flexible administrative framework should be developed to maintain the province's competitive edge in the global energy market. It was recommended that total shares for Albertans from oil sands developments be increased from 47 per cent to 64 per cent; conventional oil shares should be increased from 44 per cent to 49 per cent; and shares for natural gas should be increased from 58 per cent to 63 per cent. Target rates were designed to close tax gaps between economic sectors. Simplified royalty frameworks were presented for natural gas and conventional oil categories, as well as for oil sands developments. Increases of $1.9 billion in provincial revenue are anticipated as a result of the increased royalties. 5 tabs., 31 figs

  10. Carbon isotope characterization of migrating gas in the heavy oil fields of Alberta, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rich, K.; Muehlenbachs, K. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Uhrich, K. [Amoco Canada Petroleum Co. Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); Greenwood, G. [Chemex Labs. (Alberta) Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada)

    1995-11-01

    Many oil reservoirs exhibit gas migration which is of public and industrial concern. Identifying the source of the gases will improve the economics and effectiveness of remedial measures. Isotopic composition was used to determine the source of the gases in this study. The source gases of the Lindbergh-Lloydminster oil field regions was found to be predominantly bacteriogenic, variably mixed with biodegraded thermogenic gas. Migrating gas was tagged by a {delta}{sup 13}C {approx_equal} -44 % ethane. This suggested that the source of the gases may be the shallow Fish Scales, White Speckled, and Lea Park Formations. Based on this observation, it was suggested that remedial efforts should be concentrated on these shallow depth zones. 5 figs., 22 refs.

  11. Feasibility study of producing lump fuel using oil-bituminous sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moldybaev, A.B.; Ermagambetov, B.T.; Mamraeva, K.M.; Shin, R.G.; Bakirova, R.K. (Institut Organicheskogo Sinteza i Uglekhimii AN KazSSR (USSR))

    1991-04-01

    Describes production of lump fuel by briquetting and coking different mixtures of non-caking coal with coal preparation sludge and bitumen extracted from oil sands. The coal used was from the Shubarkol'sk coal deposit (USSR); the sludge was from the Saburkhanskaya preparation plant. Properties and composition of oil-bituminous sands and of bitumen to be used as binder are given. Technological details of the briquetting and coking processes are provided. Results show that briquets produced from mixtures of coal and oil-bituminous sands can only be used as a high-ash lump fuel, which cannot be further processed into semicoke. Experiments were carried out briquetting coal or coke, sludge and 6-8% bitumen extracted from the sands, varying coal or coke grain fractions and composition of the mixture. An increased briquet strength was found after using the vacuum-distilled 300-350 C bitumen fraction. Briquets from this non-caking coal with bitumen binder are regarded as ecologically clean fuel. 5 refs.

  12. Utilization of fly ash as partial sand replacement in oil palm shell lightweight aggregate concrete

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nazrin Akmal, A. Z. Muhammad; Muthusamy, K.; Mat Yahaya, F.; Hanafi, H. Mohd; Nur Azzimah, Z.

    2017-11-01

    Realization on the increasing demand for river sand supply in construction sector has inspired the current research to find alternative material to reduce the use of natural sand in oil palm shell lightweight aggregate concrete (OPS LWAC) production. The existence of fly ash, a by-product generated from coal power plant, which pose negative impact to the environment when it is disposed as waste, were used in this research. The effect of fly ash content as partial sand replacement towards workability and compressive strength of OPS lightweight aggregate concrete were investigated. Four concrete mixes containing various percentage of fly ash that are 0%, 10%, 20% and 30% by weight of sand were used in the experimental work. All mixes were cast in form of cubes before subjected to water curing until the testing age. Compressive strength test were conducted at 1, 3, 7 and 28 days. The finding shows that the workability of the OPS LWAC decreases when more fly ash are used as sand replacement. It was found that adding of 10% fly ash as sand replacement content resulted in better compressive strength of OPS LWAC, which is higher than the control mix.

  13. Aviation Turbine Fuels from Tar Sands Bitumen and Heavy Oils. Part 1. Process Analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1984-09-01

    04 Z 1 2L z 0 U. 40c z 0 U wW qcM x U, > -(FHW ic x Z J Z M 300 z 4c 00 U AO U2 o g II. us us . . . .’we TABLE 26 WESTKEN OIL COST OF...Miller, J. D., M. Misra, "Concentration of Utah Tar Sands by on Ambient Temperature Flotation Process,"International Journal of Mineral...34Bitumen Recovery from Tar Sands Sludge - by Flotation using Promotor Additive," Canadian Patent #1146-897, (July 8, 1980). Sun Corporation Inc

  14. Addressing complexity and uncertainty: conceptual models and expert judgments applied to migratory birds in the oil sands of Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marc A. Nelitz

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Complexity and uncertainty are inherent in social-ecological systems. Although they can create challenges for scientists and decision makers, they cannot be a reason for delaying decision making. Two strategies have matured in recent decades to address these challenges. Systems thinking, as embodied by conceptual modeling, is a holistic approach in which a system can be better understood by examining it as a whole. Expert elicitation represents a second strategy that enables a greater diversity of inputs to understand complex systems. We explored the use of conceptual models and expert judgments to inform expansion of monitoring around oil sands development in northern Alberta, Canada, particularly related to migratory forest birds. This study area is a complex social-ecological system for which there is an abundance of specific information, but a relatively weak understanding about system behavior. Multiple conceptual models were developed to represent complexity and provide a more fulsome view of influences across the landscape. A hierarchical approach proved useful, and a mechanistic structure of the models clarified the cumulative and interactive nature of factors within and outside the study area. To address gaps in understanding, expert judgments were integrated using a series of structured exercises to derive "weightings" of importance of different components in the conceptual models, specifically pairwise comparisons, Likert scaling, and a maximum difference conjoint approach. These exercises were helpful for discriminating the importance of different influences and illuminating the competing beliefs of experts. Various supporting tools helped us engage a group of experts from across North America, which included a virtual meeting, online polling, desktop sharing, web survey, and financial incentive. This combination of techniques was innovative and proved useful for addressing complexity and uncertainty in a specific natural resource

  15. Pore Scale Analysis of Oil Shale/Sands Pyrolysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lin, Chen-Luh [Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States); Miller, Jan [Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)

    2011-03-01

    There are important questions concerning the quality and volume of pore space that is created when oil shale is pyrolyzed for the purpose of producing shale oil. In this report, 1.9 cm diameter cores of Mahogany oil shale were pyrolyzed at different temperatures and heating rates. Detailed 3D imaging of core samples was done using multiscale X-ray computed tomography (CT) before and after pyrolysis to establish the pore structure. The pore structure of the unreacted material was not clear. Selected images of a core pyrolyzed at 400oC were obtained at voxel resolutions from 39 microns (Οm) to 60 nanometers (nm). Some of the pore space created during pyrolysis was clearly visible at these resolutions and it was possible to distinguish between the reaction products and the host shale rock. The pore structure deduced from the images was used in Lattice Boltzmann simulations to calculate the permeability in the pore space. The permeabilities of the pyrolyzed samples of the silicate-rich zone were on the order of millidarcies, while the permeabilities of the kerogen-rich zone after pyrolysis were very anisotropic and about four orders of magnitude higher.

  16. Reclamation of oil and gas well sites on privately-owned land in Alberta: An evaluation of benefits and costs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bates, L.A.

    1994-01-01

    In Alberta, ca 24,000 oil/gas well sites will be abandoned over the next 10 years. There is concern that the expense to reclaim the surface lands at these sites to current standards represents a substantial opportunity cost to industry and the provincial economy. The economic costs and benefits associated with regulation of such reclamation activity are examined and the impacts of surface access regulations on the reclamation process are discussed. Cost benefit analysis is not easily applied to environmental regulation where some extra-market benefits and costs are intangible and/or unmeasurable. Although this qualifies the results, it appears that the costs of wellsite reclamation exceed the benefits. Costs are defined as reclamation expenses; benefits are defined as the real estate value of the land, or the net present value of agricultural land rentals. An effort has been made to provide a proxy for the extra-market value of the land to the landowner. The continuation of full surface access compensation for nonproducing wells can result in negative incentive effects that reduce allocative efficiency of reclamation regulation. Reclamation costs are correlated with well age and surface access payments, but not with agricultural land use or geographic region. This suggests that reclamation standards designed to reclaim well sites to the same productive capacity as site-adjacent land is not driving reclamation effort. Rather, landowners have negotiated substantial annual surface lease payments and may also be demanding greater reclamation effort, either to maximize compensation due to higher expectations. Methods of reducing these negative incentive effects to better achieve reclamation goals are suggested. 49 refs., 9 figs., 17 tabs

  17. Alberta interconnected electric system transmission development plan 2002 - 2011

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2002-03-13

    load forecasts. It also discussed the electric energy growth by sector. Oil sands co-generation developments were also summarized. A section dealing with compliance with directives of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board was also included. tabs., figs., appendices.

  18. Sedimentological and Scanning Electron Miscroscopic Descriptions of Afowo Oil Sand Deposits, South Western Nigeria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Akinmosin A

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Sedimentological and scanning electron microscopic analyses of some shallow reservoir tar sand samples in parts of Southwestern Nigeria were carried out with the aim of characterizing the reservoir properties in relation to bitumen saturation and recovery efficiency. The production of impregnated tar from the sands requires the reservoir to be of good quality. A total of thirty samples were collected at different localities within the tar sand belt (ten out of these samples were selected for various reservoir quality analyses based on their textural homogeneity. The result of particle size distribution study showed that bulk of the sands is medium – coarse grained and moderately sorted. The grain morphologies are of low to high sphericity with shapes generally sub-angular to sub-rounded, implying that the sands have undergone a fairly long transportation history with depositional energy having a moderate to high velocity. The quartz content was made up of about 96% of the total mineralogical components; the sediments of the Afowo Formation can be described to be mineralogically and texturally stable. The result of the scanning electron microscopy (SEM analysis revealed that the oil sands contained minerals which had been precipitated and occurred as pore filling cement; these minerals include sheet kaolinite, block kaolinite, vermiform kaolinite, pyrite crystals and quartz. The SEM images also showed micro-pores ranging from 0.057µm to 0.446µm and fractures. The study showed that the clay minerals contained in the Afowo reservoir rocks were mainly kaolinite. Kaoline unlike some other clays (e.g Montimorillonite does not swell with water, hence it is not expected to have any negative effects on the reservoir quality, especially during enhanced oil recovery operations.

  19. Enhanced Gravitational Drainage of Crude Oil Through Alabama Beach Sand Caused by the Dispersant Corexit 9500A

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steffy, D. A.; Nichols, A.; Hobbs, K.

    2017-12-01

    Oil spill material released by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident contaminated a majority of the 60 miles of Alabama coastline. In response to the oil spill, BP sprayed a dispersant, Corexit 9500A, as an initial remediation effort. An unforeseen impact of the saltwater-dispersant mixture includes the mobilization of oil-spilled material into the underlying beach sand. This study investigated the effect of the dispersant to promote gravitational drainage by measuring the physical characteristics of the sand, saltwater, crude oil, and the dispersant solution. The saltwater-dispersant mixture promoted the downward movement of oil mass 20 times greater extent than just saltwater. These tests are meant to simulate spill material on the beach being exposed to a low-energy, 1-meter mixed tide occurring along the Alabama coastline. A separate test simulated oilwet sand exposed to saltwater and a saltwater-dispersant mixture. The oil-wet sand impeded the vertical movement of saltwater, but allowed a saltwater-dispersant solution to mobilize the oil to migrate downward. The mobilization of oil in this three phase system of saltwater, oil, and air is controlled by: the pressure-saturation profile of the sand; interfacial tension with saltwater; and its surface tension with air.

  20. Source and distribution of naturally occurring arsenic in groundwater from Alberta’s Southern Oil Sands Regions

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Moncur, Michael C.; Paktunc, Dogan; Birks, S. Jean; Ptacek, Carol J.; Welsh, Brent; Thibault, Yves (CanmetMINING); (AER); (Alberta Innov.); (Waterloo)

    2016-06-10

    Arsenic (As) concentrations as high as 179 μg/L have been observed in shallow groundwater in the Alberta’s Southern Oil Sand Regions. The geology of this area of Alberta includes a thick cover (up to 200 m) of unconsolidated glacial deposits, with a number of regional interglacial sand and gravel aquifers, underlain by marine shale. Arsenic concentrations observed in 216 unconsolidated sediment samples ranged from 1 and 17 ppm. A survey of over 800 water wells sampled for As in the area found that 50% of the wells contained As concentrations exceeding drinking water guidelines of 10 μg/L. Higher As concentrations in groundwater were associated with reducing conditions. Measurements of As speciation from 175 groundwater samples indicate that As(III) was the dominant species in 74% of the wells. Speciation model calculations showed that the majority of groundwater samples were undersaturated with respect to ferrihydrite, suggesting that reductive dissolution of Fe-oxyhydroxides may be the source of some As in groundwater. Detailed mineralogical characterization of sediment samples collected from two formations revealed the presence of fresh framboidal pyrite in the deeper unoxidized sediments. Electron microprobe analysis employing wavelength dispersive spectrometry indicated that the framboidal pyrite had variable As content with an average As concentration of 530 ppm, reaching up to 1840 ppm. In contrast, the oxidized sediments did not contain framboidal pyrite, but exhibited spheroidal Fe-oxyhydroxide grains with elevated As concentrations. The habit and composition suggest that these Fe-oxyhydroxide grains in the oxidized sediment were an alteration product of former framboidal pyrite grains. X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES) indicated that the oxidized sediments are dominated by As(V) species having spectral features similar to those of goethite or ferrihydrite with adsorbed As, suggesting that Fe-oxyhydroxides are the dominant As carriers

  1. Sulfur extended oil sand as a potential temporary mine paving material

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Simion, J.R.; Hyne, J.B. [Alberta Sulphur Research Ltd., Calgary, AB (Canada); Coward, J.; Melley, R.; Noble, R. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    1995-10-01

    The development of sulfur-extended oil sand material, as part of a paving material to be used for heavy haul roads, was described. Paving materials made from oil sand, sulfur and other components which are available at mining sites or are plant by-products, were evaluated to determine the optimum characteristics of the mix to be used. Preliminary mixes were prepared in the laboratory. One problem encountered was the possibility of producing H{sub 2}S by the reaction of the hot sulfur with the bitumen. A final mix temperature of 140-148 degrees C was established for mixing and for minimizing toxic fumes evolution. Some additional tests performed on the preferred mix included the effect of freeze-thaw cycles and water immersion on compressive strength. 3 refs., 3 tabs., 11 figs.

  2. Carbon dynamics, food web structure and reclamation strategies in Athabasca oil sands wetlands (CRFAW)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ciborowski, J.; Dixon, G.; Foote, L.; Liber, K.; Smits, J.

    2010-01-01

    This abstract provided details of the Carbon Dynamics, Food Web Structure and Reclamation Strategies in Athabasca Oil Sands Wetlands (CFRAW) program, a collaboration between oil sands industry partners and university laboratories. CFRAW researchers are investigating the effects of mine tailings and process waters on the development, health, and function of wetland communities in post-mining landscapes. The aim of the program is to accurately predict how quickly the reclaimed wetlands will approach conditions seen in reference wetland systems. The program is also examining the effects of hydrocarbons as a surrogate source of carbon after they are metabolized by bacteria. The biological uptake, pathways, and movement through the food web of materials used by the biota in constructed wetlands are also being studied. Flux estimates will be used to determine if wetlands amended with peat will maintain their productivity. A conceptual model of carbon pathways and budgets is also being developed.

  3. Microbial activity influences pore water recovery from oil sands mature fine tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Foght, J.; Bressier, D.; Cardenas, M.; Fedorak, P.; Guigard, S.; Gupta, R.; Siddique, T. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Studies have shown that natural anaerobic microbial activity in mature fine tailings (MFT) produces methane and accelerates settling of fines, accompanied by release of pore water. However, the microbial activity is limited by low concentrations of microbial substrates in the MFT. In this study, MFT was amended with additional substrates such as agricultural waste streams or microbial products such as carbon dioxide. The objective was to increase the densification rate and accelerate pore water recovery compared to unamended or inactivated control conditions. This biological phenomenon was observed using MFT from different oil sand operators. An overview of the research results was presented and the potential for accelerating microbial activity to increase water recovery from MFT was discussed. Dewatering of oil sands tailings deposited into settling basins was shown to be important from both an environmental and industrial standpoint. figs.

  4. Applicability of small fast reactor '4S' for oil sands recovery

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Matsuyama, S.; Nishiguchi, Y.; Sakashita, Y.; Kasuga, S. [Toshiba Corp., Yokohama (Japan); Kawashima, M. [Aitel Corp., Yokohama (Japan); Grenci, T. [Westinghouse, Waddell, Arizona (United States)

    2009-07-01

    '4S' (Super-Safe, Small and Simple) is a small-sized sodium cooled reactor with a reflector controlled long life core. Concept of steam production plant consisting of the 4S with a thermal rating of 135 MWt for a typical SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) plant was established. The 4S, provided for oil sands recovery, will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission and has applicability to oil sands plant. The burden for development and licensing will be reduced in tie-ups with development and licensing program for the 4S with a thermal rating of 30MWt which is now in a process of pre-application review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (author)

  5. Presentations of the CONRAD Research Symposium : oil sands water usage workshop

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2004-01-01

    This symposium provided a forum to exchange ideas regarding water use by the oil sands industry in Canada. The topics of discussion addressed timely issues such as corrosion control in pipelines, cumulative discharge modelling in the oil sands area, waste management schemes, the effects of potential limits on water withdrawal for thermal recovery operations and plant operations, the feasibility of geological sequestration of salts, and the impact of process-affected water on bitumen recovery. Other topics of discussion included tailings ponds management, deoxygenation of water, nanofiltration for water management, water quality for wetlands, water reuse, and water supply security. The conference featured 25 presentations, of which 17 have been indexed separately for inclusion in this database. tabs., figs

  6. The need for a marketing strategy for Alberta bitumen

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Redford, D.A.

    1993-01-01

    Over the past 15 years, government and industry have invested heavily in research and development of new technology for extracting bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. The results have been a dramatic increase in the fraction of oil sands deposits that could be economically exploited and a drop in production costs. However, no rapid increase in bitumen recovery has been achieved and most new bitumen production projects have been postponed or cancelled. This is the result of very variable prices for bitumen and the inadequacy of a marketing strategy which relies on the sale of raw bitumen. Options such as transport of bitumen to southern markets are limited by the need to reduce bitumen viscosity for pipelining and by the limited market for emulsified or diluted bitumen. Another possible strategy, conversion of the bitumen to synthetic crude oil, is limited by high costs, product characteristics (too much diesel and not enough gasoline), and a market limited to specialized refineries. A third strategy is to convert and refine bitumen to transportation fuels in Alberta, using inexpensive local natural gas, and transporting the products through existing pipeline facilities. 3 figs

  7. The need for a marketing strategy for Alberta bitumen

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Redford, D.A. (Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority, Edmonton, AB (Canada))

    1993-03-01

    Over the past 15 years, government and industry have invested heavily in research and development of new technology for extracting bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. The results have been a dramatic increase in the fraction of oil sands deposits that could be economically exploited and a drop in production costs. However, no rapid increase in bitumen recovery has been achieved and most new bitumen production projects have been postponed or cancelled. This is the result of very variable prices for bitumen and the inadequacy of a marketing strategy which relies on the sale of raw bitumen. Options such as transport of bitumen to southern markets are limited by the need to reduce bitumen viscosity for pipelining and by the limited market for emulsified or diluted bitumen. Another possible strategy, conversion of the bitumen to synthetic crude oil, is limited by high costs, product characteristics (too much diesel and not enough gasoline), and a market limited to specialized refineries. A third strategy is to convert and refine bitumen to transportation fuels in Alberta, using inexpensive local natural gas, and transporting the products through existing pipeline facilities. 3 figs.

  8. The Impact of Foreign Investment Restrictions on the Stock Returns of Oil Sands Companies

    OpenAIRE

    Eugene Beaulieu; Matthew M. Saunders

    2014-01-01

    On December 7, 2012 the Government of Canada released a policy statement and revised the guidelines for investments by State-Owned Enterprises in the Canadian oil sands. This policy statement was in response to the proposed purchase of Nexen by the Chinese SOE, CNOOC. According to the new guidelines, foreign investors must convince the Minister of Industry that a particular investment is likely to be of net benefit to Canada and those investments by foreign SOEs to acquire controlling interes...

  9. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway I: changes in porewater chemistry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tariq eSiddique

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available Dispersed clay particles in mine tailings and soft sediments remain suspended for decades, hindering consolidation and challenging effective management of these aqueous slurries. Current geotechnical engineering models of self-weight consolidation of tailings do not consider microbial contribution to sediment behavior, however, here we show that microorganisms indigenous to oil sands tailings change the porewater chemistry and accelerate consolidation of oil sands tailings. A companion paper describes the role of microbes in alteration of clay chemistry in tailings. Microbial metabolism in mature fine tailings (MFT amended with an organic substrate (hydrolyzed canola meal produced methane (CH4 and carbon dioxide (CO2. Dissolution of biogenic CO2 lowered the pH of amended MFT to pH 6.4 versus unamended MFT (pH 7.7. About 12% more porewater was recovered from amended than unamended MFT during 2 months of active microbial metabolism, concomitant with consolidation of tailings. The lower pH in amended MFT dissolved carbonate minerals, thereby releasing divalent cations including calcium (Ca2+ and magnesium (Mg2+ and increasing bicarbonate (HCO3- in porewater. The higher concentrations increased the ionic strength of the porewater, in turn reducing the thickness of the diffuse double layer (DDL of clay particles by reducing the surface charge potential (repulsive forces of the clay particles. The combination of these processes accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. In addition, ebullition of biogenic gases created transient physical channels for release of porewater. In contrast, saturating the MFT with non-biogenic CO2 had little effect on consolidation. These results have significant implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds and broad importance in anaerobic environments such as contaminated harbors and estuaries containing soft sediments rich in clays and organics.

  10. Thermochemical method for the treatment of oil contaminated sand; Metodo termoquimico para tratamento de areia contaminada por oleo

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pimenta, Rosana C.G.M. [Fundacao Gorceix, Ouro Preto, MG (Brazil)]|[PETROBRAS S.A., Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Khalil, Carlos N. [PETROBRAS, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil). Centro de Pesquisas (CENPES)

    2004-07-01

    In January 2000 there was a major oil spill in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, which contaminated 2400 tons of sand. This work, based on NGS (Nitrogen Generating System) technology, was adapted for cleaning contaminated sand and recovering of spilled oil. NGS is a thermochemical method first developed for removal of paraffin deposits in production and export pipelines. The method is based on a strongly exothermic redox chemical reaction between two salts catalyzed in acidic pH. The reaction products are harmless to the environment and consist of nitrogen, sodium chloride, water and heat. By combining simultaneous effects of the treatment such as heating, turbulence and floatation, one can remove, within 98% of efficiency, spilling oil from contaminated sand. After treatment, removed oil can be securely returned to refining process. The method has proved to be efficient, fast, low cost and ecologically correct method for cleaning contaminated sand and can be applied in place right after a contamination event. (author)

  11. Papers of the Canadian Institute's 3. annual conference : oil sands supply and infrastructure : labour supply, upgraders, transportation, pipelines

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2005-01-01

    The focus of this conference was on the development of the oil sands industry, with specific reference to issues concerning supply and infrastructure. Energy source development and transmission issues were discussed, as well as transportation systems. The impact of increased oil sands development on pipelines was also examined. Various fuel options were discussed, including the use of hydrogen, natural gas and alternate fuels in manufacturing and processing plants. Economic drivers and the creation of new markets were examined, and various export opportunities were reviewed. The environmental impact of increased oil sands activity was discussed, with specific reference to the Boreal regions. Management challenges in the oil sands industry were also discussed along with issues concerning human resources, labour supply, training and education. The conference featured 15 presentations, of which 13 have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. refs., tabs., figs

  12. Fish gill responses to pollutants from oil sands mining-associated waters

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lee, L.E.J.; Willfang, S.; Lamb, M.P.; Nero, V.; Farwell, A.J.; Dixon, D.G.

    2002-01-01

    The processing of Athabasca Deposit oil sands results in large amounts of liquid wastes associated with oil sand tailings. In addition to containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), these waste waters are high in salinity and naphthenic acids which may be toxic to aquatic biota and their effects must be clarified. This study presents a suite of tests for in-depth and quick analysis of tailings water toxicity and contributes to the assessment of environmental risk. Yellow perch, fathead minnows, and rainbow trout were exposed to reclamation ponds where both in vivo and in vitro evaluation of crude and individual naphthenic acids and salts were conducted to examine their effect on fish gills which are very susceptible to contaminants. The fish exposed to the reclamation ponds showed higher incidence of gill pathological changes than control fish in Mildred Lake, a reservoir lake whose waters are diverted for use in oil sands extraction. Notable gill histopathological changes were observed when fish were exposed in vivo to sulfate/chloride salts and to abietic acid. Changes in membrane integrity, lysosomal activity and general morphology were observed when fished were exposed in vitro to salts, commercial napthenic acids or crude naphthenic extracts from the reclamation ponds

  13. Floating Photocatalysts for Passive Solar Degradation of Naphthenic Acids in Oil Sands Process-Affected Water

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim Leshuk

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW, generated from bitumen extraction in the Canadian oil sands, may require treatment to enable safe discharge to receiving watersheds, as dissolved naphthenic acids (NAs and other acid extractable organics (AEO, identified as the primary toxic components of OSPW, are environmentally persistent and poorly biodegradable. However, conventional advanced oxidation processes (AOPs are impractically expensive to treat the volumes of OSPW stockpiled in the Athabasca region. Here we prepared floating photocatalysts (FPCs by immobilizing TiO2 on glass microbubbles, such that the composite particles float at the air-water interface for passive solar photocatalysis. The FPCs were demonstrated to outperform P25 TiO2 nanoparticles in degrading AEO in raw OSPW under natural sunlight and gentle mixing conditions. The FPCs were also found to be recyclable for multiple uses through simple flotation and skimming. This paper thus demonstrates the concept of a fully passive AOP that may be scalable to oil sands water treatment challenges, achieving efficient NA reduction solely through the energy provided by sunlight and natural mixing processes (wind and waves.

  14. A foundation for the future: building an environmental monitoring system for the oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dowdeswell, L.; Dillon, P.; Ghoshal, S.; Miall, A.; Rasmussen, J.; Smol, J.P.

    2010-12-01

    In September, 2010, important concerns regarding the impacts of oil sand industry on the environment in the Lower Athabasca River Basin resulted in the creation of the oil sands advisory panel. This panel was set up to examine and evaluate the existing system for research and monitoring and identify strengths and weaknesses regarding water monitoring in the Lower Athabasca River Basin and connected waterways. In this report, the panel provides important elements to guide the monitoring of water quality and quantity. The panel has identified several organizations or individuals contributing to the research and monitoring of the Athabasca River system but also points out in the document that the research has not yet led to a consensus regarding the impacts of oil sands development on the environment. It has also been observed that no standardized data management system has been put in place to facilitate the access to data for interested parties. Important weaknesses in the existing monitoring system were identified by the panel. The advisory panel recommended the implementation of a credible and transparent, comprehensive and adaptive monitoring program, through a collaborative work between relevant jurisdictions and stakeholders. 50 refs.

  15. Groundwater recharge estimates in the Athabasca and Cold Lake oil sands areas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    MacMillan, G.J.; Smith, A.D.

    2009-01-01

    Groundwater recharge estimates for the Cold Lake and Athabasca oil sands region were presented. New oil sands projects planned for the future will require approximately 150,000 m 3 per day of groundwater. Regulators and public agencies are now investigating the potential impacts of oil sands operations on both shallow groundwater and surface water in the region. Maximum yields from the aquifers are also being estimated. Measurements are currently being taken to determine transmissivity, hydraulic pressure, storage potential and leakage. Numerical models are currently used to determine saturated zone recharge estimates and water table fluctuations. Isotope tracers are also being used to determine where groundwater flow potential is vertical as well as to determine correction factors for hydrogeological and geochemical conditions at each site. Darcy's Law is used to determine heat flow in the groundwater aquifers. To date, the studies have demonstrated that drilling fluids have been recovered at groundwater sites. Wells are often installed near water supply and supply well networks. It was concluded that new water wells will need to be completed at various depths. Data were presented for aquifers and nest wells. refs., tabs., figs

  16. Influence of Geometric Parameters of the Hydrocyclone and Sand Concentration on the Water/Sand/Heavy-Oil Separation Process: Modeling and Simulation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F Farias

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available In the oil exploitation, produced fluids are composed of oil, gas, water and sand (depending on the reservoir location. The presence of sand in flow oil leads to several industrial problems for example: erosion and accumulation in valves and pipeline. Thus, it is necessary to stop production for manual cleaning of equipments and pipes. These facts have attracted attention of academic and industrial areas, enabling the appearing of new technologies or improvement of the water/oil/sand separation process. One equipment that has been used to promote phase separation is the hydrocyclone due to high performance of separation and required low cost to installation and maintenance. In this sense, the purpose of this work is to study numerically the effect of geometric parameters (vortex finder diameter of the hydrocyclone and sand concentration on the inlet fluid separation process. A numerical solution of the governing equations was obtained by the ANSYS CFX-11 commercial code. Results of the streamlines, pressure drop and separation efficiency on the hydrocyclone are presented and analyzed. It was observed that the particles concentration and geometry affect the separation efficiency of the hydrocyclone.

  17. Evidence of low toxicity of oil sands process-affected water to birds invites re-evaluation of avian protection strategies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beck, Elizabeth M; Smits, Judit E G; St Clair, Colleen Cassady

    2015-01-01

    Exposure to water containing petroleum waste products can generate both overt and subtle toxicological responses in wildlife, including birds. Such exposure can occur in the tailings ponds of the mineable oil sands, which are located in Alberta, Canada, under a major continental flyway for waterfowl. Over the 40 year history of the industry, a few thousand bird deaths have been reported following contact with bitumen on the ponds, but a new monitoring programme demonstrated that many thousands of birds land annually without apparent harm. This new insight creates an urgent need for more information on the sublethal effects on birds from non-bitumen toxicants that occur in the water, including naphthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals and salts. Ten studies have addressed the effects of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), and none reported acute or substantial adverse health effects. Interpretive caution is warranted, however, because nine of the studies addressed reclaimed wetlands that received OSPW, not OSPW ponds per se, and differences between experimental and reference sites may have been reduced by shared sources of pollution in the surrounding air and water. Two studies examined eggs of birds nesting >100 km from the mine sites. Only one study exposed birds directly and repeatedly to OSPW and found no consistent differences between treated and control birds in blood-based health metrics. If it is true that aged forms of OSPW do not markedly affect the health of birds that land briefly on the ponds, then the extensiveness of current bird-deterrent programmes is unwarranted and could exert negative net environmental effects. More directed research on bird health is urgently needed, partly because birds that land on these ponds subsequently migrate to destinations throughout North America where they are consumed by both humans and wildlife predators.

  18. Tertiary stratigraphy and sedimentary environments of the oil bearing sands of the Orinoco Oil Belt, Venezuela, South America

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bejarano, C. [Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Caracas (Venezuela)

    2006-07-01

    Core studies and seismic stratigraphic analyses were used to characterize the tertiary stratigraphy and sedimentary environments of oil sands in the Orinoco Oil Belt. Structural data and maps of seismic reflectors were integrated with seismic-stratigraphic correlations used to characterize the Hato Viejo fault system. The study determined that 3 transgressive-regressive cycles belonging to the Oligocene and Miocene periods. Transgression peaks occurred in the shales of the Roblecito formation. Myocene cycles corresponded to the clastics of the Oficina formation. The Oligocene transgressive sheetsands of the Chaguaramas formation were cored in several wells. The coring study demonstrated that the formation consisted of fine-grained poor, consolidated sandstones with weak sedimentary cross-stratification. Miocene sediments in the region were characterized by sand, shale, and coal facies. Lithofacies associations and electrofacies correlations demonstrated that the lower transgressive Oficina formation was comprised of stacked sand bars formed in a braided fluvial system with channels, delta front deposits, crevasse splays, and flood plains swamps. It was concluded that the stratigraphic and sedimentary model developed using the data will be used to create a regional chronostratigraphic geological model of the region. However, dating of the different maximum flooding surfaces is needed in order to correlate sedimentary bodies in time and space. 3 refs., 9 figs.

  19. Massive dominance of Epsilonproteobacteria in formation waters from a Canadian oil sands reservoir containing severely biodegraded oil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hubert, Casey R J; Oldenburg, Thomas B P; Fustic, Milovan; Gray, Neil D; Larter, Stephen R; Penn, Kevin; Rowan, Arlene K; Seshadri, Rekha; Sherry, Angela; Swainsbury, Richard; Voordouw, Gerrit; Voordouw, Johanna K; Head, Ian M

    2012-02-01

    The subsurface microbiology of an Athabasca oil sands reservoir in western Canada containing severely biodegraded oil was investigated by combining 16S rRNA gene- and polar lipid-based analyses of reservoir formation water with geochemical analyses of the crude oil and formation water. Biomass was filtered from formation water, DNA was extracted using two different methods, and 16S rRNA gene fragments were amplified with several different primer pairs prior to cloning and sequencing or community fingerprinting by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Similar results were obtained irrespective of the DNA extraction method or primers used. Archaeal libraries were dominated by Methanomicrobiales (410 of 414 total sequences formed a dominant phylotype affiliated with a Methanoregula sp.), consistent with the proposed dominant role of CO(2) -reducing methanogens in crude oil biodegradation. In two bacterial 16S rRNA clone libraries generated with different primer pairs, > 99% and 100% of the sequences were affiliated with Epsilonproteobacteria (n = 382 and 72 total clones respectively). This massive dominance of Epsilonproteobacteria sequences was again obtained in a third library (99% of sequences; n = 96 clones) using a third universal bacterial primer pair (inosine-341f and 1492r). Sequencing of bands from DGGE profiles and intact polar lipid analyses were in accordance with the bacterial clone library results. Epsilonproteobacterial OTUs were affiliated with Sulfuricurvum, Arcobacter and Sulfurospirillum spp. detected in other oil field habitats. The dominant organism revealed by the bacterial libraries (87% of all sequences) is a close relative of Sulfuricurvum kujiense - an organism capable of oxidizing reduced sulfur compounds in crude oil. Geochemical analysis of organic extracts from bitumen at different reservoir depths down to the oil water transition zone of these oil sands indicated active biodegradation of dibenzothiophenes, and stable

  20. Class I cultural resource overview for oil shale and tar sands areas in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    O' Rourke, D.; Kullen, D.; Gierek, L.; Wescott, K.; Greby, M.; Anast, G.; Nesta, M.; Walston, L.; Tate, R.; Azzarello, A.; Vinikour, B.; Van Lonkhuyzen, B.; Quinn, J.; Yuen, R.; Environmental Science Division

    2007-11-01

    In August 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. In Section 369 of this Act, also known as the 'Oil Shale, Tar Sands, and Other Strategic Unconventional Fuels Act of 2005', Congress declared that oil shale and tar sands (and other unconventional fuels) are strategically important domestic energy resources that should be developed to reduce the nation's growing dependence on oil from politically and economically unstable foreign sources. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate alternatives for establishing commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing programs in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. This PEIS evaluates the potential impacts of alternatives identifying BLM-administered lands as available for application for commercial leasing of oil shale resources within the three states and of tar sands resources within Utah. The scope of the analysis of the PEIS also includes an assessment of the potential effects of future commercial leasing. This Class I cultural resources study is in support of the Draft Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and is an attempt to synthesize archaeological data covering the most geologically prospective lands for oil shale and tar sands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. This report is based solely on geographic information system (GIS) data held by the Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). The GIS data include the information that the BLM has provided to the SHPOs. The primary purpose of the Class I cultural resources overview is to provide information on the affected environment for the PEIS. Furthermore, this report provides recommendations to support planning decisions and the management of cultural resources that could be impacted by future

  1. Our petroleum legacy: The Alberta story

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bott, R.

    1992-11-01

    Background information is presented on the importance of the petroleum industry in Alberta. Alberta holds over 70% of Canada's coal and natural gas reserves and, if bitumen is included, over 90% of Canada's established oil reserves. Alberta's major exports are dominated by crude oil and related products ($9.6 billion in 1990) and the oil and gas sector had $15.7 billion in revenues in 1991, over 4 times as much as the next most important sector, agriculture. About 140,000 Albertans are directly or indirectly employed in the oil and gas industry, about 11% of employed persons. The industry's capital spending in Alberta was $5.3 billion in 1991, and its total expenditures were about $15 billion, and during the 1980s the industry paid about $42 billion to the Alberta government in the form of taxes, royalties, and other fees. Other benefits of the oil and gas industry's presence in Alberta include those related to its employment of a skilled workforce, its advanced research capabilities, and economic spinoff effects from employment and technological development. The influence of recent events on the industry is outlined, including the effects of international energy commodity markets, deregulation, and higher exploration and development costs. The declining financial viability of the Alberta petroleum industry is noted and its future is discussed in the light of such factors as oil prices, markets, new technologies, environmental constraints, and the volume of new discoveries. 9 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab

  2. Microorganisms in oil sands tailings ponds influence the properties and behaviour of mature fine tailings

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bressler, D.; Cardenas, M.; Fedorak, P.M.; Guigard, S.; Gupta, R.; Siddique, T.; Foght, J. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Large numbers of microorganisms are present in the mature fine tailings produced during oil sands operations. Many different types of microbes grow in communities that compete and cooperate. Most of the microorganisms are anaerobic, and include sulfate-reducing bacteria, nitrate-reducing bacteria, iron-reducing bacteria, fermenters, and methanogens. The microbes produce approximately 40 million litres of greenhouse gases (GHGs), methane (CH{sub 4}) and carbon dioxide (CO{sub 2}). All tailings ponds are microbiologically different. The gases are produced by microbial waste products and have been observed to degrade fugitive naphtha in fresh tailings at a Syncrude oil sands facility. At a Shell-Albian Sands facility, the microbes degraded into trisodium citrate. The microbes can aid in the settling of tailings. Agricultural byproducts have been added to tailings in order to demonstrate methane production. However, flow through systems are required to accelerate the biodensification of tailings ponds, and further studies are needed to ensure that the quality of recovered water is maintained for re-use. Various microbe degradation processes and models were presented. tabs., figs.

  3. Risk Assessment for Children Exposed to Beach Sands Impacted by Oil Spill Chemicals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer C. Black

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Due to changes in the drilling industry, oil spills are impacting large expanses of coastlines, thereby increasing the potential for people to come in contact with oil spill chemicals. The objective of this manuscript was to evaluate the health risk to children who potentially contact beach sands impacted by oil spill chemicals from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To identify chemicals of concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s monitoring data collected during and immediately after the spill were evaluated. This dataset was supplemented with measurements from beach sands and tar balls collected five years after the spill. Of interest is that metals in the sediments were observed at similar levels between the two sampling periods; some differences were observed for metals levels in tar balls. Although PAHs were not observed five years later, there is evidence of weathered-oil oxidative by-products. Comparing chemical concentration data to baseline soil risk levels, three metals (As, Ba, and V and four PAHs (benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene were found to exceed guideline levels prompting a risk assessment. For acute or sub-chronic exposures, hazard quotients, computed by estimating average expected contact behavior, showed no adverse potential health effects. For cancer, computations using 95% upper confidence limits for contaminant concentrations showed extremely low increased risk in the 10−6 range for oral and dermal exposure from arsenic in sediments and from dermal exposure from benzo[a]pyrene and benz[a]anthracene in weathered oil. Overall, results suggest that health risks are extremely low, given the limitations of available data. Limitations of this study are associated with the lack of toxicological data for dispersants and oil-spill degradation products. We also recommend studies to collect quantitative information about children’s beach play habits, which are

  4. Risk Assessment for Children Exposed to Beach Sands Impacted by Oil Spill Chemicals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Black, Jennifer C; Welday, Jennifer N; Buckley, Brian; Ferguson, Alesia; Gurian, Patrick L; Mena, Kristina D; Yang, Ill; McCandlish, Elizabeth; Solo-Gabriele, Helena M

    2016-08-27

    Due to changes in the drilling industry, oil spills are impacting large expanses of coastlines, thereby increasing the potential for people to come in contact with oil spill chemicals. The objective of this manuscript was to evaluate the health risk to children who potentially contact beach sands impacted by oil spill chemicals from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To identify chemicals of concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) monitoring data collected during and immediately after the spill were evaluated. This dataset was supplemented with measurements from beach sands and tar balls collected five years after the spill. Of interest is that metals in the sediments were observed at similar levels between the two sampling periods; some differences were observed for metals levels in tar balls. Although PAHs were not observed five years later, there is evidence of weathered-oil oxidative by-products. Comparing chemical concentration data to baseline soil risk levels, three metals (As, Ba, and V) and four PAHs (benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene) were found to exceed guideline levels prompting a risk assessment. For acute or sub-chronic exposures, hazard quotients, computed by estimating average expected contact behavior, showed no adverse potential health effects. For cancer, computations using 95% upper confidence limits for contaminant concentrations showed extremely low increased risk in the 10(-6) range for oral and dermal exposure from arsenic in sediments and from dermal exposure from benzo[a]pyrene and benz[a]anthracene in weathered oil. Overall, results suggest that health risks are extremely low, given the limitations of available data. Limitations of this study are associated with the lack of toxicological data for dispersants and oil-spill degradation products. We also recommend studies to collect quantitative information about children's beach play habits, which are necessary to more

  5. SOVENT BASED ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY FOR IN-SITU UPGRADING OF HEAVY OIL SANDS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Munroe, Norman

    2009-01-30

    With the depletion of conventional crude oil reserves in the world, heavy oil and bitumen resources have great potential to meet the future demand for petroleum products. However, oil recovery from heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs is much more difficult than that from conventional oil reservoirs. This is mainly because heavy oil or bitumen is partially or completely immobile under reservoir conditions due to its extremely high viscosity, which creates special production challenges. In order to overcome these challenges significant efforts were devoted by Applied Research Center (ARC) at Florida International University and The Center for Energy Economics (CEE) at the University of Texas. A simplified model was developed to assess the density of the upgraded crude depending on the ratio of solvent mass to crude oil mass, temperature, pressure and the properties of the crude oil. The simplified model incorporated the interaction dynamics into a homogeneous, porous heavy oil reservoir to simulate the dispersion and concentration of injected CO2. The model also incorporated the characteristic of a highly varying CO2 density near the critical point. Since the major challenge in heavy oil recovery is its high viscosity, most researchers have focused their investigations on this parameter in the laboratory as well as in the field resulting in disparaging results. This was attributed to oil being a complex poly-disperse blend of light and heavy paraffins, aromatics, resins and asphaltenes, which have diverse behaviors at reservoir temperature and pressures. The situation is exacerbated by a dearth of experimental data on gas diffusion coefficients in heavy oils due to the tedious nature of diffusivity measurements. Ultimately, the viscosity and thus oil recovery is regulated by pressure and its effect on the diffusion coefficient and oil swelling factors. The generation of a new phase within the crude and the differences in mobility between the new crude matrix and the

  6. Silica sand for oil and gas production : a technical market overview

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dawson, J.C. [BJ Services Company, Calgary, AB (Canada)

    2006-07-01

    In order to meet the growing demand for oil, petroleum production companies have initiated aggressive globally oriented drilling programs. In Canada and the United States, the average monthly rig count has doubled from 1103 rigs in 1990 to 2213 in 2006, with 53 per cent of the growth taking place in the last 3 years. Extensive damage occurs in the hydrocarbon rich formations during the drilling process of new wells. In order to stimulate and reconnect the well to the reservoir, completion processes such as hydraulic fracturing, are needed. In hydraulic fracturing, a viscous fluid is injected into the well at a rate and pressure sufficient to initiate a crack behind the casing perforations. When the fracture attains adequate width and length, silica sand or other proppants are added to the fluid to fill the created fracture. These may include Ottawa Sand, Brady Sand, bauxite, intermediate strength ceramics or resin coated sands. The use of proppants prevents the fracture from healing and provides a super conductive drainage channel for hydrocarbons. The proppant should provide the highest porosity to maximize permeability of the proppant pack. Hydrocarbon production can therefore be increased at relatively low costs. This paper reviewed the stringent industry specifications that various grades of proppant must meet, as defined by the American Petroleum Institute. The technical aspects of proppant testing were outlined with reference to proppant size, sphericity, acid solubility, turbidity, crush resistance, and testing for ceramic proppants. Despite improved logging and advances in well stimulation treatments, market trends indicate that hydraulic fracturing and proppants will continue to be an important aspect of oil and gas production. 22 refs., 3 tabs., 5 figs.

  7. Dynamic cyclone for solids removal: innovative sand management solutions for oil and gas production

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Furnes, Olav [Inter Scandic a.s (Norway); Arefjord, Anders [CleanUp AS (Norway)

    2004-07-01

    Sand and other solids inevitably occurring in connection with drilling and production operations for exploitation of offshore and onshore petroleum resources represent an increasing challenge for operators and main contractors worldwide. The adherent sand problems can cause severe erosion of conductors, pipelines and critical processing equipment, such as valves, pumps and separator internals, etc. Proliferation of sand could clog up and severely diminish processing capacity in separators, calling for unscheduled shutdowns for separator jetting and equipment cleaning. These and other consequential problems incur considerable costs to the industry, affecting availability and reliability of production as well as undue cost outlays for equipment monitoring, renewal and refurbishment. Such cost impacts could have decisive effects on commercial viability of marginal fields or deep water prospects. Problematic aspects of produced solids could arise at early stages of reservoir drainage, pending geological profile. As sand volumes tend to increase when oil and gas fields mature, viable tail production to recover remaining reserves becomes decisive for operating costs and investment trade-off. The dynamic de-sanding cyclone system described herein is designed to operate without any pressure drop, thus avoiding loss of flow pressure. It consists of an inner and outer cylindrical chamber, allowing for a second separation run for removal of the smaller particles down to 50 micron or less. In additional to tangential flow inlet, an impeller driven by a hydraulic motor adds significantly to centrifugal separation effects, assisting cleaning of solids as part of the process. As the cyclone is designed to perform online de-gassing as well, it can sustain severe slugging during the solids removal operations. Removed solids can be either accumulated in closed, swapping containers or piped as slurry for final disposal. (author)

  8. China joins Alberta oilsands research

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1992-01-01

    This paper reports that China's state oil company has bought a stake in an in situ oilsands research project in northern Alberta. China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) will invest $6.5 million in the Underground Test Facility (UTF) operated by Alberta Oilsands Technology and Research Authority (Aostra) near Fort McMurray. It is the first foreign research investment for CNPC. The UTF is a joint venture by provincial agency Aostria, the Canadian federal government, and commercial partners in underground mining techniques to extract crude oil from bitumen. Alberta opened a trade office in Beijing in 1991 and now sells several hundred million dollars a year in petroleum equipment and services to China. A horizontal well in situ steam injection process is approaching the production stage at the UTF. It is to begin producing at a rate of 2,000 b/d this fall. The current project is a followup to a pilot project

  9. Transport of Colloid-Size Oil Droplets in Saturated and Unsaturated Sand Columns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weisbrod, N.; Travis, M.; Gross, A.

    2011-12-01

    Oil in wastewater poses significant treatment and subsequent environmental challenges. Accumulation of oils in soil leads to hydrophobicity, and the transport of colloidal-sized oil droplets may facilitate the co-transport of oil soluble contaminants such as pesticides or pharmaceutical materials. In order to determine transport characteristics of colloidal-sized, edible oil droplets, short-pulse column breakthrough experiments were conducted. Oil droplets (mean diameter 0.7 μm, ζ-potential -34±1, density 0.92 g cm-3) were injected simultaneously with latex microspheres (0.02, 0.2 and 1.0 μm, ζ-potentials -16±1, -30±2, and -49±1, respectively, density 1.055 g cm-3) and bromide in saturated and unsaturated quartz sand (ζ-potential -63±2 mV). Breakthrough of oil droplets was consistently detected first and recovery of oil droplets from the column was 20% greater than similarly sized microspheres in the saturated column, and 16% greater in high (0.18±0.01) volumetric water content (VWC) unsaturated columns. Higher variability was observed in the lower VWC (0.14±0.01) column experiments, and oil droplet recovery was just slightly greater than similarly sized microspheres and statistically higher only compared to the 0.02 μm microspheres. The research demonstrated that oil droplets are able to be transported as colloids in both saturated and unsaturated porous media. An important finding was that transport of oil droplets exceeded that of microspheres within the same size range and similar electrostatic properties. Classical filtration theory indicates that oil droplets in the diameter range of about 0.5 to 2 μm will exhibit reduced deposition due to buoyancy. However, current improvements to the theory do not accommodate prediction of buoyant particle transport and the theory needs review. High recovery of oil droplets in unsaturated porous media is a novel finding. As expected, straining appeared to be an important removal mechanism in unsaturated

  10. Stuck in the tar sands : how the federal government's proposed climate change strategy lets oil companies off the hook

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2008-10-01

    The credibility of any federal climate change strategy must be measured against its ability to reduce emissions from the tar sands. However, the federal government has proposed a climate change strategy that would allow tar sands producers to double their total emissions over the next decade. This report discussed how the federal government's proposed climate change strategy lets oil companies off the hook. The report discussed the problems and harmful effects associated with tar sands development, including greenhouse gas emissions; water depletion and pollution; toxic air emissions; destruction of the boreal forest; violation of native rights; threat to energy security; and negative socio-economic spin-off from an overheated economy. The federal government's proposed strategy was also assessed in terms of its weak greenhouse gas targets; ignoring the recent growth in tar sands emissions; adopting intensity-based targets instead of hard caps on greenhouse gas pollution, allowing total emissions from the tar sands to keep climbing; putting off critical measures until 2018; awarding oil companies hundreds of millions of dollars in credits for meeting targets they have already adopted voluntarily; lowballing the price of oil and downplaying future growth in tar sands emissions; ignoring huge portions of the oil industry's greenhouse gas pollution; letting oil companies buy their way out at rockbottom prices instead of forcing them to reduce their own emissions; and subsidizing increased tar sands production. It was concluded that the federal government's proposed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was inadequate, because it failed to crack down on rising greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands, one of Canada's most carbon intensive and fastest growing industries. 29 refs., 1 appendix

  11. Petroleum coke adsorption as a water management option for oil sands process-affected water

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zubot, Warren; MacKinnon, Michael D.; Chelme-Ayala, Pamela; Smith, Daniel W.; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2012-01-01

    Water is integral to both operational and environmental aspects of the oil sands industry. A water treatment option based on the use of petroleum coke (PC), a by-product of bitumen upgrading, was examined as an opportunity to reduce site oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) inventories and net raw water demand. Changes in OSPW quality when treated with PC included increments in pH levels and concentrations of vanadium, molybdenum, and sulphate. Constituents that decreased in concentration after PC adsorption included total acid-extractable organics (TAO), bicarbonate, calcium, barium, magnesium, and strontium. Changes in naphthenic acids (NAs) speciation were observed after PC adsorption. A battery of bioassays was used to measure the OSPW toxicity. The results indicated that untreated OSPW was toxic towards Vibrio fischeri and rainbow trout. However, OSPW treated with PC at appropriate dosages was not acutely toxic towards these test organisms. Removal of TAO was found to be an adsorption process, fitting the Langmuir and Langmuir–Freundlich isotherm models. For TAO concentrations of 60 mg/L, adsorption capacities ranged between 0.1 and 0.46 mg/g. This study demonstrates that freshly produced PC from fluid cokers provides an effective treatment of OSPW in terms of key constituents' removal and toxicity reduction. - Highlights: ► Treatment of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) using petroleum coke (PC) adsorption was investigated. ► PC was effective at adsorbing naphthenic acids with higher cyclicity. ► OSPW treated with PC at appropriate dosages was not toxic towards Vibrio fisheri and rainbow trout. ► The adsorption of organic acids fitted the Langmuir and Langmuir–Freundlich isotherm models. ► PC has the potential to be an effective adsorbent to treat OSPW either directly or as a pretreatment step.

  12. Petroleum coke adsorption as a water management option for oil sands process-affected water

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zubot, Warren [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Research and Development, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6N 1H4 (Canada); MacKinnon, Michael D. [OSPM Solutions Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8H 6X2 (Canada); Chelme-Ayala, Pamela; Smith, Daniel W. [University of Alberta, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2W2 (Canada); Gamal El-Din, Mohamed, E-mail: mgamalel-din@ualberta.ca [University of Alberta, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2W2 (Canada)

    2012-06-15

    Water is integral to both operational and environmental aspects of the oil sands industry. A water treatment option based on the use of petroleum coke (PC), a by-product of bitumen upgrading, was examined as an opportunity to reduce site oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) inventories and net raw water demand. Changes in OSPW quality when treated with PC included increments in pH levels and concentrations of vanadium, molybdenum, and sulphate. Constituents that decreased in concentration after PC adsorption included total acid-extractable organics (TAO), bicarbonate, calcium, barium, magnesium, and strontium. Changes in naphthenic acids (NAs) speciation were observed after PC adsorption. A battery of bioassays was used to measure the OSPW toxicity. The results indicated that untreated OSPW was toxic towards Vibrio fischeri and rainbow trout. However, OSPW treated with PC at appropriate dosages was not acutely toxic towards these test organisms. Removal of TAO was found to be an adsorption process, fitting the Langmuir and Langmuir-Freundlich isotherm models. For TAO concentrations of 60 mg/L, adsorption capacities ranged between 0.1 and 0.46 mg/g. This study demonstrates that freshly produced PC from fluid cokers provides an effective treatment of OSPW in terms of key constituents' removal and toxicity reduction. - Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Treatment of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) using petroleum coke (PC) adsorption was investigated. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer PC was effective at adsorbing naphthenic acids with higher cyclicity. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer OSPW treated with PC at appropriate dosages was not toxic towards Vibrio fisheri and rainbow trout. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer The adsorption of organic acids fitted the Langmuir and Langmuir-Freundlich isotherm models. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer PC has the potential to be an effective adsorbent to treat OSPW either directly or as a pretreatment step.

  13. The future of the Canadian oil sands: Engineering and project management advances

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Madden, Peter; Morawski, Jacek

    2010-09-15

    Production technology and project management developments in Canada's oil sands industry, in the context of AMEC's experience as EPCM service provider, are discussed. Effective project management systems and workfront planning are critical to achieve cost and schedule targets and optimum construction execution. Construction Work Packages divide work into discrete pieces and Construction Work Execution Plans influence scheduling of engineering and procurement deliverables. AMEC's Engineering Data Warehouse works with intelligent engineering design tools to ensure information related to a piece of equipment is consistent across all systems. HSSE systems are proactively developed and AMEC's progressive improvement in safety performance is demonstrated.

  14. Guidelines for reclamation to forest vegetation in the Athabasca oil sands region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1999-01-01

    A brief introduction to the process for establishing pre-disturbance conditions at reclaimed ecosystems, such as those found in the Athabasca oil sands region, is provided. The process involves the integration of vegetation community types and their physiological needs, with the region's social needs. Reclamation to forest vegetation provides a way to establish a variety of upland ecosite phases through identification of soil requirements that meet the physiological needs for native tree species in an upland setting. The species include white and black spruce, jack pine, aspen and black poplar, paper birch and tamarack. Appropriate key starter species that identify ecosite phases are identified. 7 refs

  15. Water, Energy and Carbon Balance Research: Recovery Trajectories For Oil Sands Reclamation and Disturbed Watersheds in the Western Boreal Forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petrone, R. M.; Carey, S. K.

    2014-12-01

    The Oil Sand Region (OSR) of North-Central Alberta exists within the sub-humid Boreal Plains (BP) ecozone, with a slight long-term moisture deficit regime. Despite this deficit, the BP is comprised of productive wetland and mixed wood (aspen and conifer dominated) forests. Reclamation activities are now underway at a large number of surface mining operations in the OSR, where target ecosystems are identified, soil prescriptions placed and commercial forest species planted. Some watersheds have been created that now contain wetlands. However, recent work in the BP suggests that over time wetlands supply moisture for the productivity of upland forests. Thus, water use of reclaimed forests is going to be critical in determining the sustainability of these systems and adjacent wetlands, and whether in time, either will achieve some form of equivalent capability that will allow for certification by regulators. A critical component in the success of any reclamation is that sufficient water is available to support target ecosystems through the course of natural climate cycles in the region. Water Use Efficiency (WUE), which links photosynthesis (GEP) with water use (Evapotranspiration (ET)), provides a useful metric to compare ecosystems and evaluate their utilization of resources. In this study, 41 site years of total growing season water and carbon flux data over 8 sites (4 reclamation, 4 regeneration) were evaluated using eddy covariance micrometeorological towers. WUE shows clear discrimination among ecosystem types as aspen stands assimilate more carbon per unit weight of water than conifers. WUEs also change with time as ecosystems become more effective at transpiring water through plant pathways compared with bare-soil evaporation, which allows an assessment of ability to limit water loss without carbon uptake. In addition, clonal rooting systems allow aspen forests to recover quicker after disturbance than reclamation sites in terms of their WUE. For reclamation

  16. Biogeochemical processes controlling the mobility of major ions and trace metals in aquitard sediments beneath an oil sand tailing pond: laboratory studies and reactive transport modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holden, A A; Haque, S E; Mayer, K U; Ulrich, A C

    2013-08-01

    Increased production and expansion of the oil sand industry in Alberta are of great benefit to the economy, but they carry major environmental challenges. The volume of fluid fine tailings requiring storage is 840×10(6) m(3) and growing, making it imperative that we better understand the fate and transport of oil sand process-affected water (OSPW) seepage from these facilities. Accordingly, the current study seeks to characterize both a) the potential for major ion and trace element release, and b) the principal biogeochemical processes involved, as tailing pond OSPW infiltrates into, and interacts with, underlying glacial till sediments prior to reaching down gradient aquifers or surface waters. Objectives were addressed through a series of aqueous and solid phase experiments, including radial diffusion cells, an isotope analysis, X-ray diffraction, and sequential extractions. The diffusion cells were also simulated in a reactive transport framework to elucidate key reaction processes. The experiments indicate that the ingress and interaction of OSPW with the glacial till sediment-pore water system will result in: a mitigation of ingressing Na (retardation), displacement and then limited precipitation of exchangeable Ca and Mg (as carbonates), sulfate reduction and subsequent precipitation of the produced sulfides, as well as biodegradation of organic carbon. High concentrations of ingressing Cl (~375 mg L(-1)) and Na (~575 mg L(-1)) (even though the latter is delayed, or retarded) are expected to migrate through the till and into the underlying sand channel. Trace element mobility was influenced by ion exchange, oxidation-reduction, and mineral phase reactions including reductive dissolution of metal oxyhydroxides - in accordance with previous observations within sandy aquifer settings. Furthermore, although several trace elements showed the potential for release (Al, B, Ba, Cd, Mn, Pb, Si, Sr), large-scale mobilization is not supported. Thus, the present

  17. Proceedings of Alberta's environment conference 2006

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    2006-07-01

    This conference addressed issues regarding the sustainable management of Alberta's earth resources and the importance of balancing resource exploitation with environmental protection and satisfying societal needs. The conference featured 36 sessions dealing with a range of subjects such as regulatory tools; social science; flood events and water infrastructure; perspectives on oil sands region; forest ecology; climate change; innovative technologies; emerging issues on wildlife; working together for the preservation of Alberta parks; First Nations; integrated land management; innovations in waste management; innovative technologies associated with natural gas; human health and wastewater contaminants; focus on partnerships; building environmental stewards; focus on agriculture; coalbed methane challenges and opportunities; sustainable municipalities; focus on water; Lake Wabamun situation and response; focus on lakes science and stewardship; biodiversity and geology; focus on water supply; focus on energy development; Alberta's environment industry; shared governance of the environment; irrigation; and, focus on water management. Five of the 135 presentations have been catalogued separately for inclusion in this database. refs., tabs., figs.

  18. Solar photocatalytic degradation of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leshuk, Tim; Wong, Timothy; Linley, Stuart; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V; Gu, Frank

    2016-02-01

    Bitumen mining in the Canadian oil sands creates large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), the toxicity of which is due in part to naphthenic acids (NAs) and other acid extractable organics (AEO). The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of solar photocatalysis over TiO2 to remove AEO from OSPW. One day of photocatalytic treatment under natural sunlight (25 MJ/m(2) over ∼14 h daylight) eradicated AEO from raw OSPW, and acute toxicity of the OSPW toward Vibrio fischeri was eliminated. Nearly complete mineralization of organic carbon was achieved within 1-7 day equivalents of sunlight exposure, and degradation was shown to proceed through a superoxide-mediated oxidation pathway. High resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of oxidized intermediate compounds indicated preferential degradation of the heavier and more cyclic NAs (higher number of double bond equivalents), which are the most environmentally persistent fractions. The photocatalyst was shown to be recyclable for multiple uses, and thus solar photocatalysis may be a promising "green" advanced oxidation process (AOP) for OSPW treatment. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of naphthenic acids in natural waters surrounding the Canadian oil sands industry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ross, Matthew S; Pereira, Alberto dos Santos; Fennell, Jon; Davies, Martin; Johnson, James; Sliva, Lucie; Martin, Jonathan W

    2012-12-04

    The Canadian oil sands industry stores toxic oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) in large tailings ponds adjacent to the Athabasca River or its tributaries, raising concerns over potential seepage. Naphthenic acids (NAs; C(n)H(2n-Z)O(2)) are toxic components of OSPW, but are also natural components of bitumen and regional groundwaters, and may enter surface waters through anthropogenic or natural sources. This study used a selective high-resolution mass spectrometry method to examine total NA concentrations and NA profiles in OSPW (n = 2), Athabasca River pore water (n = 6, representing groundwater contributions) and surface waters (n = 58) from the Lower Athabasca Region. NA concentrations in surface water (< 2-80.8 μg/L) were 100-fold lower than previously estimated. Principal components analysis (PCA) distinguished sample types based on NA profile, and correlations to water quality variables identified two sources of NAs: natural fatty acids, and bitumen-derived NAs. Analysis of NA data with water quality variables highlighted two tributaries to the Athabasca River-Beaver River and McLean Creek-as possibly receiving OSPW seepage. This study is the first comprehensive analysis of NA profiles in surface waters of the region, and demonstrates the need for highly selective analytical methods for source identification and in monitoring for potential effects of development on ambient water quality.

  20. Growth of Chironomus dilutus larvae exposed to ozone-treated and untreated oil sands process water

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anderson, J.; Wiseman, S.; Franz, E.; Jones, P.; Liber, K.; Giesy, J.; Gamal El-Din, M.; Marin, J.

    2010-01-01

    Oil sand processing operations require large quantities of freshwater and produce large volumes of oil sands process water (OSPW) which must be stored on-site. This presentation reviewed various treatment methods for remediating OSPW in order to eliminate downstream toxicity. Naphthenic acids are the most important target fractions for treatment because they are primarily responsible for the acute toxicity of OSPW. Although ozonation has shown promise for reducing OSPW toxicity, the effects of ozonation on aquatic invertebrates remain unknown. This study investigated the effects of exposure to untreated and ozonated OSPW in Chironomus dilutus larvae. OSPW was treated with either a 50 or 80 mg O 3 /L dose of ozonation. The effects of ozonation levels on C. dilutus survival and growth were examined. The study showed that after a 10-day exposure, there were pronounced effects on survival of larvae exposed to ozone-treated or untreated OSPW. Larvae exposed to OSPW were 64-77 percent smaller than their respective controls, but the mean wet mass of organisms exposed to 50 mg O 3 /L ozonated OSPW was not much different from that of the controls. Larvae exposed to 80 mg O 3 /L ozone-treated OSPW were 40 percent smaller than the freshwater controls, and the mean wet mass was also much larger than the untreated OSPW. It was concluded that the toxicity of OSPW to benthic invertebrates may be reduced by ozone treatment.

  1. Growth of Chironomus dilutus larvae exposed to ozone-treated and untreated oil sands process water

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Anderson, J.; Wiseman, S.; Franz, E.; Jones, P.; Liber, K.; Giesy, J. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada); Gamal El-Din, M.; Marin, J. [Alberta Univ., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    Oil sand processing operations require large quantities of freshwater and produce large volumes of oil sands process water (OSPW) which must be stored on-site. This presentation reviewed various treatment methods for remediating OSPW in order to eliminate downstream toxicity. Naphthenic acids are the most important target fractions for treatment because they are primarily responsible for the acute toxicity of OSPW. Although ozonation has shown promise for reducing OSPW toxicity, the effects of ozonation on aquatic invertebrates remain unknown. This study investigated the effects of exposure to untreated and ozonated OSPW in Chironomus dilutus larvae. OSPW was treated with either a 50 or 80 mg O{sub 3}/L dose of ozonation. The effects of ozonation levels on C. dilutus survival and growth were examined. The study showed that after a 10-day exposure, there were pronounced effects on survival of larvae exposed to ozone-treated or untreated OSPW. Larvae exposed to OSPW were 64-77 percent smaller than their respective controls, but the mean wet mass of organisms exposed to 50 mg O{sub 3}/L ozonated OSPW was not much different from that of the controls. Larvae exposed to 80 mg O{sub 3}/L ozone-treated OSPW were 40 percent smaller than the freshwater controls, and the mean wet mass was also much larger than the untreated OSPW. It was concluded that the toxicity of OSPW to benthic invertebrates may be reduced by ozone treatment.

  2. The chemical and biological evolution of mature fine tailings in oil sands end-pit lakes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Chen, M.; Weisener, C.; Ciborowski, J.

    2010-01-01

    This presentation described an innovative bench-scale technique to characterize oil sand tailings and their impact on sediment oxygen demand (SOD) for future end-pit lake model behaviour. SOD is a dominant contributor to oxygen depletion in wetlands. The function and sustainability of a wetland ecosystem depends on the biochemical processes occurring at the sediment-water interface. The biochemical reactions associated with natural sediment can change with the addition of oil sands processed material (OSPM), which can affect SOD and ecosystem viability. It is important to establishing the biotic and abiotic controls of SOD. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of current wetland reclamation designs, it is important to establish the biotic and abiotic controls of SOD. The REDOX chemistry of fresh tailings sediment (MFT) was measured in this laboratory microcosm to determine the chemical and biological influences, and to study the role of developing microbial communities as new mature fine tailings (MFT) age. The study evaluated the changes in the main chemical, physical and biological populations of the MFT in both aerobic and anaerobic microcosms. A combination of microelectrode arrays and DNA profiling at the tailings water interface was used in the study.

  3. Oil sands mining: new projects to revitalise, but at what cost?

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Singh Rihel, Aje [IHS Petrodata (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Market demands always drive the creation of new and innovative projects. This paper presents the need for revitalization of oil sands mining and the issues and challenges related to it. Various projects sanctioned for the period 2011 to 2015 are listed, along with their respective demand drivers. A graph shows the already vigorous investment in the Canadian oil sands mining reaching an all time high by 2015. It is estimated that there will be a 19% increase in costs and 5-6 % annual rise in salaries between 2011-2015, with engineering and labor being the major cost drivers. At present there is high demand for human resources and the limited availability of engineers and labor further increases costs; Australian LNG projects face similar challenges. The solution is to import human resources. But module transportation will still remain a challenge. The conclusion to be drawn is that, over time, cost reduction and efficiency can be achieved through co-operation and co-ordination.

  4. Perch population assessment in lakes reclaimed using oil-sands derived material

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Heuvel, M.R. van den; Dixon, D.G.; Power, M.; Boerger, H.; MacKinnon, M.D.; Meer, T. van

    1995-01-01

    The mining and extraction of petroleum products from oil-sands involves large areas of land and produces enormous volumes of tailings. One possible land reclamation option is to incorporate fine-tailings material into the bottoms of constructed lakes capped with natural surface water. The wet landscape method represents potential risk to aquatic biota-naphthenic acids and PAHs elute from pore water contained in the fine-tailings substrate. In spring 1995 yellow perch were stocked into a large-scale (5ha) experimental pond that consisted of fine-tailings capped with natural water as well as into two other reclaimed ponds that were constructed with oil-sands overburden material. Prior to stocking of perch, ponds had colonized with cyprinids, macrophytes and benthic invertebrates over a two year period. Perch were sampled in fall 1995 for age, condition factor, liver size, gonad size, fecundity, stomach contents, liver mixed-function oxygenase activity (MFO), bile PAH metabolites and plasma steroid hormones. When compared to the source lake, perch in the DP did not show reduced reproductive potential. Perch in all of the reclaimed ponds demonstrated exposure to organic compounds as indicated by marginally induced MFO activity and increased liver size. Exposure to naphthenates and PAHs in water as well as ecological environmental factors will be discussed

  5. Investigating salt and naphthenic acids interactions in the toxicity of oil sands process water to freshwater invertebrates

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Turcotte, D.; Kautzman, M.; Wojnarowicz, P.; Cutter, J.; Bird, E.; Liber, K. [Saskatchewan Univ., Regina, SK (Canada)

    2010-07-01

    The hot water extraction process used to produce bitumens from oil sands produces a large volume of oil sands process water (OSPW) that contain elevated concentrations of naphthenic acids (NA) and salts. Many oil sands reclamation projects are proposing the use of OSPW as part of reconstructed wetlands projects. This study investigated the toxicity of OSPW to freshwater invertebrates. The toxic interactions between NA and salinity on freshwater invertebrates were assessed. Bioassays with laboratory-cultured Ceriodaphnia dubia were conducted to determine the toxicity of OSPW from selected water bodies. The study showed that while the concentrations of NAs and salinity were elevated in OSPW waters that caused toxic responses, the concentrations of salinity ions varied greatly among the OSPW samples. Results of the study suggested that ion composition may be a factor in toxicity. Interactions between NAs and salinity were then assessed by performing bioassays with mixtures representing major ion combinations in OSPW.

  6. Investigating salt and naphthenic acids interactions in the toxicity of oil sands process water to freshwater invertebrates

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Turcotte, D.; Kautzman, M.; Wojnarowicz, P.; Cutter, J.; Bird, E.; Liber, K.

    2010-01-01

    The hot water extraction process used to produce bitumens from oil sands produces a large volume of oil sands process water (OSPW) that contain elevated concentrations of naphthenic acids (NA) and salts. Many oil sands reclamation projects are proposing the use of OSPW as part of reconstructed wetlands projects. This study investigated the toxicity of OSPW to freshwater invertebrates. The toxic interactions between NA and salinity on freshwater invertebrates were assessed. Bioassays with laboratory-cultured Ceriodaphnia dubia were conducted to determine the toxicity of OSPW from selected water bodies. The study showed that while the concentrations of NAs and salinity were elevated in OSPW waters that caused toxic responses, the concentrations of salinity ions varied greatly among the OSPW samples. Results of the study suggested that ion composition may be a factor in toxicity. Interactions between NAs and salinity were then assessed by performing bioassays with mixtures representing major ion combinations in OSPW.

  7. Development of high temperature resistant geomembranes for oil sands secondary containments

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mills, A. [Layfield Environmental Systems Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada); Martin, D. [Layfield Geosynthetics and Industrial Fabrics Ltd., Edmonton, AB (Canada)

    2008-07-01

    Plastic liner materials are often adversely impacted by chemicals at elevated temperatures. Heat accelerates the oxidation of the polymeric chains, which in turn accelerates the degradation of the plastic. This paper discussed geomembrane containment systems placed under heated petroleum storage tanks at an oil sands processing plant. Various high temperature-resistant geomembrane materials were tested. Compatibility testing procedures for the various fluids contained by the systems were outlined. Installation procedures for the membranes were also discussed. The membrane systems were designed for use with heavy gas oil; light gas oil; and naphtha. Temperatures in the ground below the tanks were approximately 79 degrees C. Testing was done using sealed containers held in an oil bath at temperatures of 105 degrees C. Heat applied to the chemicals during the tests pressurized the test vessels. Liner materials used in the initial tests included an ester-based thermoplastic polyurethane liner; high density polyethylene (HDPE); linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP) olefins; polyvinyl chloride (PVC); and polyvinylidene (PVDF) materials. A second set of tests was then conducted using alloy materials and PVC. Heat stability tests demonstrated that the blue 0.75 mm alloy showed a tensile strength ratio within the industry's 15 per cent pass criteria. The samples were then tested with diluted bitumen and diluents at 65, 85 and 100 degrees C. The developed liners were installed underneath petroleum tanks with leak detection chambers. It was concluded that the geomembrane liners prevented the hot liquids from leaking. 4 refs., 8 tabs.

  8. Evaluation of air quality indicators in Alberta, Canada - An international perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bari, Md Aynul; Kindzierski, Warren B

    2016-01-01

    There has been an increase in oil sands development in northern Alberta, Canada and an overall increase in economic activity in the province in recent years. An evaluation of the state of air quality was conducted in four Alberta locations - urban centers of Calgary and Edmonton, and smaller communities of Fort McKay and Fort McMurray in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR). Concentration trends, diurnal hourly and monthly average concentration profiles, and exceedances of provincial, national and international air quality guidelines were assessed for several criteria air pollutants over the period 1998 to 2014. Two methods were used to evaluate trends. Parametric analysis of annual median 1h concentrations and non-parametric analysis of annual geometric mean 1h concentrations showed consistent decreasing trends for NO2 and SO2 (international urban areas to judge the current state of air quality. Median and annual average concentrations for Alberta locations tended to be the smallest in Fort McKay and Fort McMurray. Other than for PM2.5, Calgary and Edmonton tended to have median and annual average concentrations comparable to and/or below that of larger populated Canadian and U.S. cities, depending upon the air pollutant. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Using Epiphytic Lichens to Elucidate the Sources and Spatial Distribution of Inorganic Air Pollution in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, M.; Graney, J. R.; Pancras, P.; Krupa, S.; Edgerton, E.; Puckett, K.; Percy, K.

    2013-12-01

    The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) conducted studies to document the geographic patterns of atmospheric deposition of sulfur (S) and nitrogen (N) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) using epiphytic lichens as bioindicators of atmospheric pollution. Epiphytic lichen samples (Hypogymnia physodes) were collected from 44 locations in 2002, 359 locations in 2008, and 21 locations in 2011 within the AOSR. A subset of samples from 2002 (15) and 2008 (121); and all the samples from 2011 were microwave extracted and analyzed for a comprehensive suite of trace elements using DRC-ICPMS. In addition, source profiles were developed for samples from a variety of available process stacks, heavy duty diesel fleet vehicles, bulk materials representing the various stages of oil sands processing operations, and forest fires. The lichen monitoring and source profile information were integrated into a receptor modeling framework to elucidate the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic sources to the observed atmospheric deposition of S and N in the AOSR. U.S. EPA implemented statistical receptor models utilized included Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF), Unmix, and Chemical Mass Balance (CMB). The sources uniquely identified that significantly contributed to concentrations of elements in the lichen tissue include: fugitive dust from haul roads, tailing sand, and oil sand mining; oil sand processing; combustion processes; and a general urban regional source. The spatial patterns of CMB, PMF, and Unmix receptor model estimated source impacts on the Hypogymnia physodes tissue concentrations from the oil sand processing and fugitive dust sources had a significant association with the distance from the primary oil sands surface mining operations and related production facilities. The spatial extent of the fugitive dust impact was limited to an approximately 20 km radius around the major mining and oil production facilities, indicative of ground level coarse

  10. Diamondoid diacids ('O4' species) in oil sands process-affected water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lengger, Sabine K; Scarlett, Alan G; West, Charles E; Rowland, Steven J

    2013-12-15

    As a by-product of oil sands extraction, large volumes of oil sands process water (OSPW) are generated, which are contaminated with a large range of water-soluble organic compounds. The acids are thought to be derived from hydrocarbons via natural biodegradation pathways such as α- and β-oxidation of alkyl substituents, which could produce mono- and diacids, for example. However, while several monoacids ('O2' species) have been identified, the presence of diacids (i.e. 'O4' species) has only been deduced from results obtained via Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance high-resolution mass spectrometry (FTICR-HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H-NMR) spectroscopy and the structures have never been confirmed. An extract of an OSPW from a Canadian tailings pond was analysed and the retention times and the electron ionization mass spectra of some analytes were compared with those of bis-methyl esters of authentic diacids by gas chromatography × gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) in nominal and accurate mass configurations. Two diamondoid diacids (3-carboxymethyladamantane-1-carboxylic acid and adamantane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid) were firmly identified as their bis-methyl esters by retention time and mass spectral matching and several other structural isomers were more tentatively assigned. Diacids have substantially increased polarity over the hydrocarbon and monoacid species from which they probably derive: as late members of biodegradation processes they may be useful indicators of weathering and ageing, not only of OSPW, but potentially of crude oil residues more generally. Structures of O4 species in OSPW have been identified. This confirms pathways of microbial biodegradation, which were only postulated previously, and may be a further indication that remediation of OSPW toxicity can occur by natural microbial action. The presence and abundance of these diacids might

  11. Isolation and characterization of acutely toxic fractions in oil sands wastewater

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Verbeek, A. [Chemex Labs Alberta Inc., Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); Mackay, W. [Univ. of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta (Canada); MacKinnon, M. [Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta (Canada)

    1995-12-31

    Extraction of oil from oil sand using the hot water flotation method results in the production of large volumes of wastewater that are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms. At Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Suncor Oil Sands Group Inc., this wastewater is stored in large tailings ponds that must eventually be reclaimed. The acute toxicity of these wastewaters was assessed and the acutely toxic fractions were identified. Samples were collected from the surface and fine tails zones of the Syncrude and Suncor tailings ponds during the summers of 1991 and 1992. The Microtox bioassay was used to assess the acute toxicity before and after various treatments. Where significant reductions in acute toxicity were found, further acute toxicity tests were carried out using Daphnia magna and rainbow trout. The Microtox IC{sub 50} of all centrifuged tailings pond water samples varied between 26.5 and 46%. Daphnia LC{sub 50}s varied between 76 and 98% and a rainbow trout LC{sub 50} was 12.5 %. Organic compounds that have a non-polar component, as removed by solid phase extraction with C{sub 18} sorbent, accounted for all the acute toxicity (100%) of all samples. Organic ``acids``, as removed by precipitation at pH 2.5, also accounted for all the acute toxicity (100%) of all samples except those from pond 1A of Suncor. In pond 1A, organic ``acids`` accounted for approximately 55--60% of the acute toxicity, nonpolar organic volatile compounds accounted for approximately 20--35% and the balance of the acute toxicity was due to non-polar organic compounds that were neither volatile nor organic ``acids``, as removed by precipitation at pH 2.5.

  12. Sulfate reducing bacteria and their activities in oil sands process-affected water biofilm

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Liu, Hong; Yu, Tong, E-mail: tong.yu@ualberta.ca; Liu, Yang, E-mail: yang.liu@ualberta.ca

    2015-12-01

    Biofilm reactors were constructed to grow stratified multispecies biofilm in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) supplemented with growth medium. The development of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) within the biofilm and the biofilm treatment of OSPW were evaluated. The community structure and potential activity of SRB in the biofilm were investigated with H{sub 2}S microsensor measurements, dsrB gene-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), and the real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Multispecies biofilm with a thickness of 1000 μm was successfully developed on engineered biocarriers. H{sub 2}S production was observed in the deeper anoxic zone of the biofilm from around 750 μm to 1000 μm below the bulk water-biofilm interface, revealing sulfate reduction in the deeper zone of the stratified biofilm. The biofilm removed chemical oxygen demand (COD), sulfate, and nitrogen. The study expands current knowledge of biofilm treatment of OSPW and the function of anaerobic SRB in OSPW biofilm, and thus provides information for future bioreactor development in the reclamation of OSPW. - Graphical abstract: The development of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) within Oil Sands Process-affected Water (OSPW) biofilm and the biofilm treatment of OSPW were evaluated by Liu and coworkers. Combined microsensor and molecular biology techniques were utilized in this study. Their results demonstrated that multispecies biofilm with a thickness of 1000 μm was successfully developed on engineered biocarriers. H{sub 2}S production was observed in the deeper anoxic zone of the biofilm from around 750 μm to 1000 μm below the bulk water-biofilm interface, revealing sulfate reduction in the deeper zone of the biofilm. The biofilm removed chemical oxygen demand (COD), sulfate, and nitrogen. - Highlights: • Biofilm in oil sands wastewater was developed on engineered biocarriers. • Bacterial community and in situ activity of SRB were studied in the

  13. A Critical Review of the Oil and Tar Sands of the Dahomey Basin

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Osundina, A.; Mustapha, A.; Nzewi, T.

    2002-01-01

    The Benin Basin previously referred to as the Dahomey embayment has been designated as a frontier basin within Nigeria due to its potentially high prospects, but comparatively low exploitation campaign to date. The basin offers a promising opportunity for heavy oil exploration in a narrow belt extending westward from Edo State to the republic of Benin; while offshore, there are high prospects for finding more conventional hydrocarbon.The eastern Dahomey embayment is known to have an extensive reserve of hydrocarbons (bitumen and tar sands). The sediments occur in a 5 8 km belt stretching 120km from the fringes of Lagos State through Ogun, Ondo and Edo States. The estimated reserve potentials exceed 30 billion barrels of oil equivalent.Recently acquired seismic data in OPL 309 and 310, and subsequent drilling of 2 wells on the narrow continental shelf, have shown the presence of closed structures over Basement Highs and other related structural styles in the basin and confirm that conventional light oils and condensates hydrocarbons occur in commercial quantity. These hydrocarbons are reservoired in stratigraphic sequences of Albian Cenomanian age.This paper hopes to expose the hidden riches of this Basin and hopefully get the attention of the big players in refocusing their interests in the basin that attracted attention of the early petroleum explorers to Nigeria approximately 100 years ago

  14. Tapping into new markets for heavy crude : sustaining oil sands development in the long term

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schrage, W.

    2003-01-01

    In 2002, 65 per cent of supply from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) was shipped by Enbridge to North American markets. A survey of refineries is used by Enbridge to establish expected market demand for oil from the WCSB. An Oil Sands Markets Study was undertaken to provide answers to the following: (1) what volumes to which markets will maximize the value of WCSB production? (2) what mix of raw bitumen, synthetic and fully saturated synthetic best fits the available markets? and (3) what infrastructure expansions, extensions, conversions and new development will be required? Enbridge elected to use the North American petroleum model using Alto's MarketPoint system. It was adapted to evaluate crude oil and refined products. It is expected that by the end of the first quarter of 2003, the preliminary results will be available for review with industry. There are currently 20 crude types identified as available to refineries. All imported crude types will be included. Eight distinct classes of refined products were used: liquid propane gas (LPG), low and high sulphur gasoline, jet fuel, low and high sulphur distillate, asphalt and coke. All major conversion units were modeled for all 150 refineries in Canada and the United States. figs

  15. Economic and environmental effects of the FQD on crude oil production from tar sands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kampman, B.; De Buck, A.; Afman, M. [CE Delft, Delft (Netherlands); Van den Berg, J.; Otten, G.J. [Carbon Matters, Den Haag (Netherlands)

    2013-05-15

    The production of unconventional crudes in Canada and Venezuela and exports of these crudes to the EU are investigated. In addition the potential economic and environmental impact of the proposed EU FQD measures (Fuel Quality Directive) on the production of crudes from tar sands and on new tar sand exploration projects are examined. CE Delft has analysed the impact by using a dedicated cost model. For existing projects, the model determines the effect on the basis of marginal production costs. For planned projects the model used the net present value (NPV) of proposed investments. The impacts were determined for a range of crude oil prices and FQD price effects. Combined, for existing and new projects together, the maximum effect would be at a price level at 60 USD/bbl, with savings of up to 19 Mt CO2/y at an FQD price differential of 3 euro/bbl. This overall effect would be substantial and come on top of the total emission reduction effect of the FQD of 60 Mt CO2/y, which will be achieved mostly by the blending of low-carbon fuels and reduced flaring and venting. As part of the reduction of transport greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the revised FQD obliges fuel suppliers to reduce these emissions by 6% by 2020 on a well-to-wheel basis. The EU is currently developing a methodology to differentiate fossil fuels on the basis of feedstock and GHG emissions. In the proposal, diesel produced from tar sands, has been given a default emission value of 108.5 gCO2 eq/MJ, while diesel from conventional crude was set at 89.1 gCO2 eq/MJ. The Commission's proposal is currently undergoing an impact assessment and is expected to be resubmitted to the Council later this year (2013)

  16. Application of toxicity testing in the evaluation of reclamation options for oil sands fine tails

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nelson, L.R.; MacKinnon, M.; Gulley, J.R.

    1993-01-01

    The hot water process for the extraction of bitumen from oil sands leads to the production of large volumes of wastewater and the formation of a large inventory of fine clay tailings. This fine tailings material and its associated water are acutely toxic to various aquatic test organisms during bioassays. An overview is presented of toxicity testing at Syncrude and Suncor, the application of toxicity testing to fine tailings management, and the role in reclamation planning. The main acutely toxic component of the tailings is the polar organic acid fraction, specifically naphthanates. These naphthanates are readily degraded biologically by indigenous microbial populations. Toxicity testing is aimed at assessing the degree of both acute and chronic toxicity and the long term potential for the input of toxins into the environment from various proposed reclamation measures. 28 refs., 6 figs., 2 tabs

  17. A new approach to oil sands field development planning and optimization

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kirk, Graham [3esi (Canada)

    2011-07-01

    Planning out the development and optimization of the oil sands is a difficult task. There are several factors to consider, such as dense well spacing, development schedules, cash flows and various economic conditions. There are also technical factors to consider, such as types of wells, facility capacity, energy demand, and many more. Analyzing all this data in order to come up with an optimized solution is a very tedious and time consuming job. Moreover, it is mostly done on spreadsheets, which are prone to error and very difficult to make changes to. This presentation presents a solution in the form of a customized package of software that will simplify the process. Using this software, the user would select the objectives and program the constraints to come up with an optimized solution. This program lets users change parameters to see the optimized results immediately so they can be easily compared to other scenarios.

  18. The effects of oil sands wastewater on fish resulting from exposure to sub-lethal concentrations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Birkholz, D.A.; Goudey, J.S.; Balch, G.C.; Nelson, L.R.; MacKinnon, M.

    1995-01-01

    Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, were exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of oil sands wastewater in flow through laboratory experiments as well as to artificial ponds containing sub-lethal concentrations of tailings pond water and fine tails in order to study the viability of the wet landscape remediation option. Large (200--300 g) fish were used for all the exposures in this preliminary study and the following data were collected: blood cell counts, sex hormone concentrations, sexual maturation, stress protein concentrations, PAH-metabolites in bile, condition factors, liver somatic indices, mixed function oxygenase induction, PAHs in muscle, external condition and the condition of internal organs. The data obtained from this study revealed no adverse effects upon fish during extended field exposures. Given similar exposure conditions in the release waters of a wet landscape reclamation, the data suggest that there may be no adverse effects upon fish, however, longer term studies, other indicator organisms and additional chronic tests should be conducted

  19. Compromised metamorphosis and thyroid hormone changes in wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) raised on reclaimed wetlands on the Athabasca oil sands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hersikorn, Blair D.; Smits, Judit E.G.

    2011-01-01

    The wet landscape approach to oil sands tailings reclamation in the Athabasca Oil Sands region involves creating wetlands from fluid tailings in mined-out pits. We measured time to metamorphosis, thyroid hormone status, and detoxification enzyme (EROD) induction in Wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles raised on reclaimed oil sands wetlands of different ages [young (≤7 yr) vs. old (>7 yr)] and compared data with tadpoles raised on reference (control) wetlands. Metamorphosis was delayed or never occurred in tadpoles raised in young tailings; those exposed to older tailings developed similarly to those in reference wetlands. Thyroid hormone disruption likely played an important role in the metamorphosis delay as the T3:T4 ratio was lowest in tadpoles raised in young, tailings-affected wetlands. Our findings suggest tailings wetlands become less toxic with age, and that these amphibians will be able to complete their life cycle in tailing wetlands that have sufficiently detoxified with age. - This work provides guidance for reclamation of oil sands tailings and shows the usefulness of frogs and caging studies in environmental toxicology.

  20. Thermochemical methods for the treatment of oil contaminated sand; Metodo termoquimico para tratamento de areia contaminada por oleo

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pimenta, Rosana C.G.M. [Fundacao Jose Bonifacio, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil); Khalil, Carlos N. [PETROBRAS S.A., Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil)

    2003-07-01

    The Nitrogen Generating System (SGN in Portuguese) is a thermochemical method first developed for cleaning and removal of paraffin deposits in production and export pipelines. SGN is based on a redox chemical reaction between two salts which is catalyzed in acidic pH. The reaction is strongly exothermic and its products are nitrogen, sodium chloride, water and heat. All reaction products are harmless to the environment. In January 2000 there was a major oil spill in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, which contaminated 2400 tons of sand. This work, developed at PETROBRAS Research Center (CENPES), was based on SGN technology which has been adapted for cleaning contaminated sand and recovering of spilled oil. By combining simultaneous effects of the SGN treatment such as heating, turbulence and floatation, one can remove, within 98% of efficiency, spilling oil from contaminated sand and removed oil can be securely returned to refining process. SGN technology has proved to be efficient, fast, low cost and ecologically correct method for cleaning contaminated sand and can be applied in loco right after a contamination event. (author)

  1. Population impacts in white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) exposed to oil sands-derived contaminants in the Athabasca River.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arens, Collin J; Arens, Jennifer C; Hogan, Natacha S; Kavanagh, Richard J; Berrue, Fabrice; Van Der Kraak, Glen J; van den Heuvel, Michael R

    2017-08-01

    Biological and chemical endpoints were measured in white sucker collected downstream of Athabasca oil sands developments (AB, Canada) and compared with those at Calling Lake (AB, Canada), a reference location upstream of the Athabasca oil sands deposit. Naphthenic acid concentrations were also measured at 14 sites in the Athabasca River watershed. Concentrations of naphthenic acids were elevated in tributaries adjacent to oil sands mining developments. Tributary naphthenic acid profiles were more similar to aged oil sands process water than samples from the Athabasca River, suggesting an influence of tailings in the tributaries. White sucker showed higher energy storage in the Athabasca River as indicated by significantly higher condition and liver size. White sucker were not investing that energy into reproductive effort as measured by gonad size and fecundity, which were significantly reduced relative to the reference location. White sucker showed increased exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as indicated by hepatic cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) activity and fluorescent bile metabolites, as well as higher concentrations of naphthenic acids in bile. Cadmium, copper, nickel, and selenium were also elevated in white sucker liver tissue compared with the reference location. Based on the exposure profile and response pattern observed, effects on energy storage and utilization in white sucker from the Athabasca River most likely resulted from exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons derived from petrogenic and pyrolytic sources. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:2058-2067. © 2017 SETAC. © 2017 SETAC.

  2. Relating zoobenthic and emergent terrestrial insect production to tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestling diet in oil sands wetlands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Thoms, J.L.; Martin, J.P.; Ciborowski, J.J. [Windsor Univ., Windsor, ON (Canada); Harms, N.J.; Smits, J.E. [Saskatchewan Univ., Saskatoon, SK (Canada)

    2009-07-01

    This study examined the influence of oil sands process materials (OSPM) on wetland macroinvertebrate community composition and production. Tree swallows are known to inhabit constructed nest boxes and forage near their nest on flying insects of terrestrial and aquatic origin. Therefore, this study evaluated the structure of wetland food webs and how it relates to the transfer of production from aquatic sediments to nestling tree swallows. The study involved 2 reference and 2 oil sands affected wetlands. Exuviae of emerging aquatic and flying insects from floating and sticky traps were collected every 3 days during the tree swallow nestling period in order to estimate benthic invertebrate composition and production. The tree swallow nest boxes, placed around the perimeter of the wetlands in spring were monitored during egg laying and incubation. Diets of the 10-14 day-old nestlings were determined by placing a ligature around the neck of each nestling, preventing the passage of food into the esophagus for 45 min. Food boluses were collected from nestlings fed by the parents during that time. The study showed that although oil sands-affected wetlands had lower aerial insect abundance, they represented over half of the total boluses collected. It was concluded that this study will help determine the ecological viability of oil sands-affected wetlands and their capability of supporting terrestrial predators that rely on zoobenthos.

  3. Assessing Risks of Shallow Riparian Groundwater Quality Near an Oil Sands Tailings Pond.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roy, J W; Bickerton, G; Frank, R A; Grapentine, L; Hewitt, L M

    2016-07-01

    The potential discharge of groundwater contaminated by oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is a concern for aquatic ecosystems near tailings ponds. Groundwater in the area, but unaffected by OSPW, may contain similar compounds, complicating the assessment of potential ecological impacts. In this study, 177 shallow groundwater samples were collected from riparian areas along the Athabasca River and tributaries proximate to oil sands developments. For "pond-site" samples (71; adjacent to study tailings pond), Canadian aquatic life guidelines were exceeded for 11 of 20 assessed compounds. However, "non-pond" samples (54; not near any tailings pond) provided similar exceedances. Statistical analyses indicate that pond-site and non-pond samples were indistinguishable for all but seven parameters assessed, including salts, many trace metals, and fluorescence profiles of aromatic naphthenic acids (ANA). This suggests that, regarding the tested parameters, groundwater adjacent to the study tailings pond generally poses no greater ecological risk than other nearby groundwaters at this time. Multivariate analyses applied to the groundwater data set separated into 11 smaller zones support this conclusion, but show some variation between zones. Geological and potential OSPW influences could not be distinguished based on major ions and metals concentrations. However, similarities in indicator parameters, namely ANA, F, Mo, Se, and Na-Cl ratio, were noted between a small subset of samples from two pond-site zones and two OSPW samples and two shallow groundwater samples documented as likely OSPW affected. This indicator-based screening suggests that OSPW-affected groundwater may be reaching Athabasca River sediments at a few locations. © 2016 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. Groundwater © 2016, National Ground Water Association.

  4. LIDAR first results from the Oil Sands Region: A complex vertical atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Strawbridge, K. B.

    2012-12-01

    Environment Canada is using LIDAR technology to probe the complex vertical structure of the atmosphere over the oil sands region. This provided the critical vertical context for the interpretation of ground-based chemistry measurements and model verification and validation. In recent years, Environment Canada has designed an autonomous aerosol LIDAR system that can be deployed to remote areas such as the oil sands. The trailer that contains the LIDAR system includes a roof hatch assembly, basic meteorological tower, radar interlock system, climate control system and leveling stabilizers. A precipitation sensor is used to operate the roof hatch and three pan/tilt webcams capture sky conditions and monitor the Lidar system's health. A remote control interface is used to monitor all vital components of the system, including the ability to provide hard resets to the various electronic devices onboard. Every 10 seconds the system provides vertical aerosol profiles from near ground to 20 km. The LIDAR transmitter emits two wavelengths (1064nm and 532nm) and the detector assembly collects three channels (1064nm backscatter, 532nm backscatter and 532nm depolarization). The depolarization channel provided key information in identifying and discriminating the various aerosol layers aloft such as dust, forest fire plumes, industrial plume sources or ice crystals. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week except during precipitation events and when aircraft fly over the site. The system is operated remotely and the data are updated every hour to a website to allow near real-time capability. First results from an intensive field campaign will be presented. LIDAR false color plot showing the bottom 7 km of the atmosphere during a forest fire event. Note the forest fire plume is between 1.5 and 5 km.

  5. Factors influencing stable isotopes and growth of algae in oil sands aquatic reclamation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boutsivongsakd, Monique; Farwell, Andrea J; Chen, Hao; Dixon, D George

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies reported (15)N enrichment of biota in reclamation wetlands that contain oil sands processed material (e.g., processed water and tailings); however, there is little information on the factors controlling (15)N enrichment in these systems. In this microcosm study, the aim was to examine stable C and N isotopes and growth (chlorophyll a [chl a] and dry weight) of algae as a function of exposure to different sources and concentrations of water-soluble fractions (WSF) derived from tailings. Two sources of tailings including mature fine tailings (MFT) and consolidated tailings (CT) and peat-mineral overburden were utilized to generate separate WSF that differed in water quality. In general, there was (15)N enrichment of filamentous algae along the increasing gradient of WSF/nutrient concentrations in both CT and peat microcosms, and among the different sources, algae were more (15)N enriched in CT WSF than in peat WSF. Growth of filamentous algae was inhibited at higher WSF concentrations, possibly due to reduced light availability at elevated levels of fine clay particles in MFT microcosms and colored dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in peat microcosms. Filamentous algae displayed lower biomass and (15)N depletion in 100% peat WSF. This study indicated that both the quality (source) and quantity of WSF affected algal growth and directly and/or indirectly influenced δ(15)N of algae. The distinct (15)N enrichment of primary producers derived from tailings suggest that stable N isotopes might be useful to trace exposure to oil sands processed material in biota that utilize these resources in reclaimed systems constructed with tailings or natural systems that receive tailings dyke seepage.

  6. Immunotoxic effects of oil sands-derived naphthenic acids to rainbow trout

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    MacDonald, Gillian Z.; Hogan, Natacha S.; Köllner, Bernd; Thorpe, Karen L.; Phalen, Laura J.; Wagner, Brian D.; Heuvel, Michael R. van den

    2013-01-01

    Naphthenic acids are the major organic constituents in waters impacted by oil sands. To investigate their immunotoxicity, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were injected with naphthenic acids extracted from aged oil sands tailings water. In two experiments, rainbow trout were injected intraperitoneally with 0, 10, or 100 mg/kg of naphthenic acids, and sampled after 5 or 21 d. Half of the fish from the 21 d exposure were co-exposed to inactivated Aeromonas salmonicida (A.s.) to induce an immune response. A positive control experiment was conducted using an intraperitoneal injection of 100 mg/kg of benzo[a]pyrene, a known immune suppressing compound. T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, thrombocytes, and myeloid cells were counted in blood and lymphatic tissue using flow cytometry. In the 5 d exposure, there was a reduction in blood leucocytes and spleen thrombocytes at the 100 mg/kg dose. However, at 21 d, leucocyte populations showed no effects of exposure with the exception that spleen thrombocyte populations increase at the 100 mg/kg dose. In the 21 d exposure, B- and T-lymphocytes in blood showed a significant Dose × A.s. interaction, indicating stimulated blood cell proliferation due to naphthenic acids alone as well as due to A.s. Naphthenic acid injections did not result in elevated bile fluorescent metabolites or elevated hepatic EROD activity. In contrast to naphthenic acids exposures, as similar dose of benzo[a]pyrene caused a significant decrease in B- and T-lymphocyte absolute counts in blood and relative B-lymphocyte counts in spleen. Results suggest that the naphthenic acids may act via a generally toxic mechanism rather than by specific toxic effects on immune cells.

  7. Immunotoxic effects of oil sands-derived naphthenic acids to rainbow trout

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    MacDonald, Gillian Z.; Hogan, Natacha S. [Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI (Canada); Koellner, Bernd [Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Federal Research Institute of Animal Health, Institute of Immunology, Greifswald (Germany); Thorpe, Karen L.; Phalen, Laura J. [Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI (Canada); Wagner, Brian D. [Department of Chemistry, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown (Canada); Heuvel, Michael R. van den, E-mail: mheuvel@upei.ca [Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI (Canada)

    2013-01-15

    Naphthenic acids are the major organic constituents in waters impacted by oil sands. To investigate their immunotoxicity, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were injected with naphthenic acids extracted from aged oil sands tailings water. In two experiments, rainbow trout were injected intraperitoneally with 0, 10, or 100 mg/kg of naphthenic acids, and sampled after 5 or 21 d. Half of the fish from the 21 d exposure were co-exposed to inactivated Aeromonas salmonicida (A.s.) to induce an immune response. A positive control experiment was conducted using an intraperitoneal injection of 100 mg/kg of benzo[a]pyrene, a known immune suppressing compound. T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, thrombocytes, and myeloid cells were counted in blood and lymphatic tissue using flow cytometry. In the 5 d exposure, there was a reduction in blood leucocytes and spleen thrombocytes at the 100 mg/kg dose. However, at 21 d, leucocyte populations showed no effects of exposure with the exception that spleen thrombocyte populations increase at the 100 mg/kg dose. In the 21 d exposure, B- and T-lymphocytes in blood showed a significant Dose Multiplication-Sign A.s. interaction, indicating stimulated blood cell proliferation due to naphthenic acids alone as well as due to A.s. Naphthenic acid injections did not result in elevated bile fluorescent metabolites or elevated hepatic EROD activity. In contrast to naphthenic acids exposures, as similar dose of benzo[a]pyrene caused a significant decrease in B- and T-lymphocyte absolute counts in blood and relative B-lymphocyte counts in spleen. Results suggest that the naphthenic acids may act via a generally toxic mechanism rather than by specific toxic effects on immune cells.

  8. Evaporation of Arabian light crude oil spilled on sea and on beach sands : influence of solar radiation and wind velocity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bergueiro, J.R.; Marti, A.; Fuertes, A.; Moreno, S.; Guijarro, S.

    1998-01-01

    The evaporation of crude oil resulting from a spill on sea water was studied to develop a simulation model. Evaporation takes place within a complex process of mass and energy transfer. The effects of physical and chemical variables (such as wind velocity and direct and diffused solar radiation) and the environmental conditions of the spillage were also considered. Arabian crude oil was used in the simulation model for crude oil spillage on sea water. An equation for the evaporation process was used to correlate the evaporated fraction of oil as a function of time. The area of spreading was determined as a function of the dominant stage at each moment of spreading. The evaporation of spilled crude oil on beach sand consisting of three different particle sizes was also studied and used for a simulation model for crude oil spillage on a polluted beach. 7 refs., 6 tabs., 10 figs

  9. Alberta Surface Reclamation Fund annual report, April 1, 1992 to March 31, 1993

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1993-01-01

    The Alberta Surface Reclamation Fund holds security deposits as an incentive to assure satisfactory reclamation of coal and oil sands exploration and coal, pipelines, sand and gravel and oil sands development operations. Upon satisfactory compliance, the funds are returned to the depositor. Where there is not satisfactory compliance, the Land Conservation and Reclamation Council is obligated to carry out the subsequent reclamation and the funds are used to complete the reclamation. This document also reports on the disposition of all non-cash security deposits which have been accepted instead of cash. During the year, $382,610 was refunded from coal exploration deposits, $82,226 was refunded from oil sands exploration deposits, $259,427 was refunded from pipeline development and reclamation deposits, and $94,421 was refunded from sand and gravel deposits where satisfactory reclamation had been completed. The fund, which is an integral part of the Consolidated Cash Investment Trust Fund administered by the Provincial Treasurer, earned between 6.15 and 7.85% interest on cash deposits calculated monthly. The interest accrues to the depositor's account on a quarterly basis. The total cash deposits plus interest, bonds and guaratees as of March 31, 1993 held in the fund was $116,199,168. The balance sheet and operating account summary summarize the fund and also provide details of each individual account

  10. QUANTITATIVE METHODS FOR RESERVOIR CHARACTERIZATION AND IMPROVED RECOVERY: APPLICATION TO HEAVY OIL SANDS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    James W. Castle; Fred J. Molz; Ronald W. Falta; Cynthia L. Dinwiddie; Scott E. Brame; Robert A. Bridges

    2002-10-30

    Improved prediction of interwell reservoir heterogeneity has the potential to increase productivity and to reduce recovery cost for California's heavy oil sands, which contain approximately 2.3 billion barrels of remaining reserves in the Temblor Formation and in other formations of the San Joaquin Valley. This investigation involves application of advanced analytical property-distribution methods conditioned to continuous outcrop control for improved reservoir characterization and simulation, particularly in heavy oil sands. The investigation was performed in collaboration with Chevron Production Company U.S.A. as an industrial partner, and incorporates data from the Temblor Formation in Chevron's West Coalinga Field. Observations of lateral variability and vertical sequences observed in Temblor Formation outcrops has led to a better understanding of reservoir geology in West Coalinga Field. Based on the characteristics of stratigraphic bounding surfaces in the outcrops, these surfaces were identified in the subsurface using cores and logs. The bounding surfaces were mapped and then used as reference horizons in the reservoir modeling. Facies groups and facies tracts were recognized from outcrops and cores of the Temblor Formation and were applied to defining the stratigraphic framework and facies architecture for building 3D geological models. The following facies tracts were recognized: incised valley, estuarine, tide- to wave-dominated shoreline, diatomite, and subtidal. A new minipermeameter probe, which has important advantages over previous methods of measuring outcrop permeability, was developed during this project. The device, which measures permeability at the distal end of a small drillhole, avoids surface weathering effects and provides a superior seal compared with previous methods for measuring outcrop permeability. The new probe was used successfully for obtaining a high-quality permeability data set from an outcrop in southern Utah

  11. Supplying synthetic crude oil from Canadian oil sands: A comparative study of the costs and CO2 emissions of mining and in-situ recovery

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Méjean, Aurélie; Hope, Chris

    2013-01-01

    High crude oil prices and the eventual decline of conventional oil production raise the issue of alternative fuels such as non-conventional oil. The paper describes a simple probabilistic model of the costs of synthetic crude oil produced from Canadian oil sands. Synthetic crude oil is obtained by upgrading bitumen that is first produced through mining or in-situ recovery techniques. This forward-looking analysis quantifies the effects of learning and production constraints on the costs of supplying synthetic crude oil. The sensitivity analysis shows that before 2035, the most influential parameters are the learning parameter in the case of in-situ bitumen and the depletion parameter in the case of mined bitumen. After 2035, depletion dominates in both cases. The results show that the social cost of CO 2 has a large impact on the total costs of synthetic crude oil, in particular in the case of synthetic crude oil from in-situ bitumen, due to the carbon intensity of the recovery techniques: taking into account the social cost of CO 2 adds more than half to the cost of producing synthetic crude oil from mined bitumen in 2050 (mean value), while the cost of producing synthetic crude oil from in-situ bitumen more than doubles. - Highlights: • We model the cost of Canadian synthetic crude oil (SCO) using Monte-Carlo techniques. • We reveal the uncertainty associated with each input parameter. • We quantify the effect of learning, depletion and CO 2 using sensitivity analyses. • Accounting for the social cost of CO 2 doubles the cost of SCO from in-situ bitumen. • CO 2 pricing could have a large effect on the economics of the oil sands

  12. Mobile membrane introduction tandem mass spectrometry for on-the-fly measurements and adaptive sampling of VOCs around oil and gas projects in Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krogh, E.; Gill, C.; Bell, R.; Davey, N.; Martinsen, M.; Thompson, A.; Simpson, I. J.; Blake, D. R.

    2012-12-01

    The release of hydrocarbons into the environment can have significant environmental and economic consequences. The evolution of smaller, more portable mass spectrometers to the field can provide spatially and temporally resolved information for rapid detection, adaptive sampling and decision support. We have deployed a mobile platform membrane introduction mass spectrometer (MIMS) for the in-field simultaneous measurement of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. In this work, we report instrument and data handling advances that produce geographically referenced data in real-time and preliminary data where these improvements have been combined with high precision ultra-trace VOCs analysis to adaptively sample air plumes near oil and gas operations in Alberta, Canada. We have modified a commercially available ion-trap mass spectrometer (Griffin ICX 400) with an in-house temperature controlled capillary hollow fibre polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymer membrane interface and in-line permeation tube flow cell for a continuously infused internal standard. The system is powered by 24 VDC for remote operations in a moving vehicle. Software modifications include the ability to run continuous, interlaced tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) experiments for multiple contaminants/internal standards. All data are time and location stamped with on-board GPS and meteorological data to facilitate spatial and temporal data mapping. Tandem MS/MS scans were employed to simultaneously monitor ten volatile and semi-volatile analytes, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX), reduced sulfur compounds, halogenated organics and naphthalene. Quantification was achieved by calibrating against a continuously infused deuterated internal standard (toluene-d8). Time referenced MS/MS data were correlated with positional data and processed using Labview and Matlab to produce calibrated, geographical Google Earth data-visualizations that enable adaptive sampling protocols

  13. Isotope-based hydrograph separation in large rivers: assessing flow sources and water quality controls in the oil sands region, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, John; Yi, Yi; Birks, Jean

    2016-04-01

    Hydrograph separation using stable isotopes of water is used to partition streamflow sources in the Athabasca River and its tributaries in the oil sands region of northern Alberta, Canada. Snow, rain, groundwater and surface water contributions to total streamflow are estimated for multi-year records and provide considerable insight into runoff generation mechanisms operating in six tributaries and at four stations along the Athabasca River. Groundwater, found to be an important flow source at all stations, is the dominant component of the hydrograph in three tributaries (Steepbank R., Muskeg R., Firebag R.), accounting for 39 to 50% of annual streamflow. Surface water, mainly drainage from peatlands, is also found to be widely important, and dominant in three tributaries (Clearwater R., Mackay R., Ells R.), accounting for 45 to 81% of annual streamflow. Direct runoff of precipitation sources including rain (7-19%) and snowmelt (3-7%) account for the remainder of sources. Fairly limited contributions from direct precipitation illustrate that most snow and rain events result in indirect displacement of pre-event water (surface water and groundwater), due in part to the prevalence of fill and spill mechanisms and limited overland flow. Systematic shifts in the groundwater:surface-water ratios, noted for the main stem of the Athabasca River and in its tributaries, is an important control on the spatial and temporal distribution of major and minor ions, trace elements, dissolved organics and contaminants, as well as for evaluating the susceptibility of the rivers to climate and development-related impacts. Runoff partitioning is likely to be a useful monitoring tool for better understanding of flow drivers and water quality controls, and for determining the underlying causes of climate or industrial impacts.

  14. Development of differential absorption lidar (DIAL) for detection of CO2, CH4 and PM in Alberta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wojcik, Michael; Crowther, Blake; Lemon, Robert; Valupadas, Prasad; Fu, Long; Leung, Bonnie; Yang, Zheng; Huda, Quamrul; Chambers, Allan

    2005-05-01

    Rapid expansion of the oil and gas industry in Alberta, including the oil sands, has challenged the Alberta Government to keep pace in its efforts to monitor and mitigate the environmental impacts of development. The limitations of current monitoring systems has pushed the provincial government to seek out advanced sensing technologies such as satellite imagery and laser based sensors. The Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) of Utah State University, in cooperation with Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA), has developed North America's first mobile differential absorption lidar (DIAL) system designed specifically for emissions measurement. This instrument is housed inside a 36' trailer which allows for mobility to travel across Alberta to characterize source emissions and to locate fugitive leaks. DIAL is capable of measuring concentrations for carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) at ranges of up to 3 km with a spatial resolution of 10 meters. DIAL can map both CO2 and CH4, as well as particulate matter (PM) in a linear fashion; by scanning the laser beam in both azimuth and elevation DIAL can create images of emissions in two dimensions. DIAL imagery may be used to understand and control production practices, characterize source emissions, determine emission factors, locate fugitive leaks, assess plume dispersion, and confirm air dispersion modeling. A system overview of the DIAL instrument and some representative results will be discussed.

  15. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Final report, July 1989--September 1993

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1994-03-01

    Research and development of surface extraction and upgrading processes of western tar sands are described. Research areas included modified hot water, fluidized bed, and rotary kiln pyrolysis of tar sands for extraction of bitumen. Bitumen upgrading included solvent extraction of bitumen, and catalytic hydrotreating of bitumen. Characterization of Utah tar sand deposits is also included.

  16. Advances in mass spectrometric characterization of naphthenic acids fraction compounds in oil sands environmental samples and crude oil--A review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Barrow, Mark P

    2016-01-01

    There has been a recent surge in the development of mass spectrometric methods for detailed characterization of naphthenic acid fraction compounds (all C(c)H(h)N(n)O(o)S(s), species, including heteroatomic and aromatic components in the acid-extractable fraction) in environmental samples. This surge is driven by the increased activity in oil sands environmental monitoring programs in Canada, the exponential increase in research studies on the isolation and toxicity identification of components in oil sands process water (OSPW), and the analytical requirements for development of technologies for treatment of OSPW. There has been additional impetus due to the parallel studies to control corrosion from naphthenic acids during the mining and refining of heavy bitumen and crude oils. As a result, a range of new mass spectrometry tools have been introduced since our last major review of this topic in 2009. Of particular significance are the developments of combined mass spectrometric methods that incorporate technologies such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, and ion mobility. There has been additional progress with respect to improved visualization methods for petroleomics and oil sands environmental forensics. For comprehensive coverage and more reliable characterization of samples, an approach based on multiple-methods that employ two or more ionization modes is recommended. On-line or off-line fractionation of isolated extracts, with or without derivatization, might also be used prior to mass spectrometric analyses. Individual ionization methods have their associated strengths and weaknesses, including biases, and thus dependence upon a single ionization method is potentially misleading. There is also a growing trend to not rely solely on low-resolution mass spectrometric methods (methods and ionization methods for more-reliable oil sands environmental forensics. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  17. Salinity and solvent effects on the characterization of naphthenic acids from Athabasca oil sands using electrospray ionization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Headley, J.; Peru, K.; Barrow, M.; Derrick, P.

    2010-01-01

    This study investigated the salinity and solvent effects on the characterization of naphthenic acids (NA) in oil sands. The mass spectra of NA were obtained using an electrospray ionization method combined with a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer. The study showed that while monocarboxylic compounds (C n H 2n+z O 2 ) in the z=-4, -6, and -12 of the 2,3 and 6-ring NA in the carbon number range of 13 to 19 were prevalent in the dichloromethane and acetonitrile co-solvent systems, the addition of salt resulted in a reduction of the observed species, the complete elimination of dicarboxylic acids, and an 80 per cent reduction in O 3 species with similar carbon number range and z values. The dicarboxylic acids were also less toxic than monocarboxylic acids. Results of the study will be used to refine methods of remediating oil sands and process water contaminated soils.

  18. Numerical simulation of fine oil sand tailings drying in test cells

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vardon, P.J.; Nijssen, T.; Yao, Y.; Van Tol, A.F.

    2014-01-01

    As a promising technology in disposal of mature fine tailings (MFT), atmospheric fines drying (AFD) is currently being implemented on a commercial scale at Shell Canada’s Muskeg River Mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta. AFD involves the use of a polymer flocculent to bind fine particles in MFT

  19. Air Quality Over the Canadian Oil Sands: A First Assessment Using Satellite Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLinden, C. A.; Fioletov, V.; Boersma, K. F.; Krotkov, N.; Sioris, C. E.; Veefkind, J. P.; Yang, K.

    2012-01-01

    Results from the first assessment of air quality over the Canadian oil sands -- one ofthe largest industrial undertakings in human history -- using satellite remote sensing observations of two pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (N0O) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), are presented. High-resolution maps were created that revealed distinct enhancements in both species over an area (roughly 30 km x 50 km) of intensive surface mining at scales of a few kilometers. The magnitude of these enhancements, quantified in terms of total mass, are comparable to the largest seen in Canada from individual sources. The rate of increase in NO2 between 2005 and 2010 was assessed at 10.4 +/- 3.5%/year and resulted from increases both in local values as well as the spatial extent of the enhancement. This is broadly consistent with both surface-measurement trends and increases in annual bitumen production. An increase in SO2 was also found, but given larger uncertainties, it is not statistically significant.

  20. How confident is Fort McKay that industry can reclaim oil sand development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fitzpatrick, C.

    2004-01-01

    This presentation described how traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) can provide valuable information for both the reclamation design and assessment of oil sand development in Fort McKay. Conservation is valued by the Fort McKay First Nations communities who claim that current reclamation methods are too slow, and that the land is not being brought back to its original use with the uniqueness of the boreal landscape. Elders have noted that each year the water level in the Athabasca River is lower. The blowing tailings and coke dust are causing trees to dye and driving animals away. There is concern that the animals that remain may not be safe to eat. The Fort McKay First Nation community has stated that it will view reclamation as a success only when it functions with proof over many generations. The major concerns include: salt in the water draining from reclaimed areas; salt in the soils of reclaimed area; muskeg cannot be recreated; and, the issue of whether cranberry, blueberry and streambank forest areas can be recreated, along with traditional medicinal plants. Other concerns include the loss of rivers such as the Beaver Creek and Tar River, and that the water in reclaimed areas may not be suitable for animals to live in or to drink. tabs., figs

  1. How confident is Fort McKay that industry can reclaim oil sand development

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fitzpatrick, C. [Fort McKay First Nations, AB (Canada)

    2004-02-05

    This presentation described how traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) can provide valuable information for both the reclamation design and assessment of oil sand development in Fort McKay. Conservation is valued by the Fort McKay First Nations communities who claim that current reclamation methods are too slow, and that the land is not being brought back to its original use with the uniqueness of the boreal landscape. Elders have noted that each year the water level in the Athabasca River is lower. The blowing tailings and coke dust are causing trees to dye and driving animals away. There is concern that the animals that remain may not be safe to eat. The Fort McKay First Nation community has stated that it will view reclamation as a success only when it functions with proof over many generations. The major concerns include: salt in the water draining from reclaimed areas; salt in the soils of reclaimed area; muskeg cannot be recreated; and, the issue of whether cranberry, blueberry and streambank forest areas can be recreated, along with traditional medicinal plants. Other concerns include the loss of rivers such as the Beaver Creek and Tar River, and that the water in reclaimed areas may not be suitable for animals to live in or to drink. tabs., figs.

  2. Genotoxic potential of several naphthenic acids and a synthetic oil sands process-affected water in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacaze, E; Devaux, A; Bruneau, A; Bony, S; Sherry, J; Gagné, F

    2014-07-01

    The exploitation of oil sands has raised major environmental concerns, particularly regarding the presence of high concentration in contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and naphthenic acids (NAs) in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). The purpose of this study was, first to evaluate the genotoxic impact of OSPW-related compounds such as NAs and PAHs in a salmonid species and secondly to assess if OSPW exposure leads to genotoxicity. For this purpose, rainbow trout hepatocytes were exposed in vitro to environmentally relevant concentrations of synthetic NAs, naphtalene, benzo(a)pyrene, and extracts of synthetic OSPW (generated by a laboratory bitumen extraction) and of oil sands leaching water (OSLW, mimicking leaching of oil sands in river water). Primary DNA damage was assessed by the formamidopyrimidine-DNA glycolyase (Fpg)-modified comet assay. Genotoxicity was observed in hepatocytes exposed to several NAs, mixture of them, OSPW and OSLW extracts. The chemical structure of NAs influences the genotoxicity potential: among the NAs tested, the most cyclic NA was the most genotoxic. It also appears that genotoxicity was more marked for OSPW than for OSLW. Because exposure to OSPW led to oxidative DNA damage, while after exposure to several NAs, these types of DNA damage were limited, the NAs tested in this study could not be qualified as the only major contaminants responsible for OSPW genotoxicity. Notwithstanding, it should be noteworthy that exposure to NAs resulted in genotoxic impact at concentrations lower than those documented by literature for fresh OSPW. Further research is needed to explore the relationships between the chemical structure of NAs and their genotoxicity in the light of the distribution of NAs in fresh OSPW samples as well as in surface waters. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Expectations and drivers of future greenhouse gas emissions from Canada's oil sands: An expert elicitation

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McKellar, Jennifer M.; Sleep, Sylvia; Bergerson, Joule A.; MacLean, Heather L.

    2017-01-01

    The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of oil sands operations has declined over time but has not offset absolute emissions growth due to rapidly increasing production. Policy making, decisions about research and development, and stakeholder discourse should be informed by an assessment of future emissions intensity trends, however informed projections are not easily generated. This study investigates expected trends in oil sands GHG emissions using expert elicitation. Thirteen experts participated in a survey, providing quantitative estimates of expected GHG emissions intensity changes and qualitative identifications of drivers. Experts generally agree that emissions intensity reductions are expected at commercially operating projects by 2033, with the greatest reductions expected through the use of technology in the in situ area of oil sands activity (40% mean reduction at multiple projects, averaged across experts). Incremental process changes are expected to contribute less to reducing GHG emissions intensity, however their potentially lower risk and cost may result in larger cumulative reductions. Both technology availability and more stringent GHG mitigation policies are required to realize these emissions intensity reductions. This paper demonstrates a method to increase rigour in emissions forecasting activities and the results can inform policy making, research and development and modelling and forecasting studies. - Highlights: • Expert elicitation used to investigate expected trends in oil sands GHG emissions. • Overall, emissions intensity reductions are expected at commercial projects by 2033. • Reductions are expected due to both technology changes and process improvements. • Technology availability and more stringent GHG policies are needed for reductions. • Method used increases rigour in emissions forecasting, and results inform policy.

  4. Innovative well completion strategy for challenging heavy oil wells within mature fields requiring sand control in Colombia

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Huimin, Ye [Mansarovar Energy Colombia (Colombia)

    2011-07-01

    Heavy-oil wells in northern fields of South America are growing exponentially in importance. A common thread in all of these wells is the requirement for completions that accommodate challenging environments and sand-management systems that satisfy the production goals for the field and extend the life of the reservoir. This paper presents the methodology used in completion selection and design for the wells in the Moriche field in Colombia, operated by Mansarovar Energy, and explains the different scenarios that were analyzed to select the completion methodology. Simulations, carried out to give an understanding of the behavior of different sand face completion components during the production life of the well and the impact this new innovative approach had on the productivity of the reservoir, are presented. They allow selection of the most appropriate sand-control strategy as well as the most appropriate sand screen to address sand challenges at the reservoir which cannot be easily met with conventional practices or downhole tools. Different sensitivity studies were carried out, using alternative completions, in order to support the decision made.

  5. Alberta Surface Reclamation Fund annual report, April 1, 1991 to March 31, 1992

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1992-01-01

    The Alberta Surface Reclamation Fund holds security deposits as an incentive to assure satisfactory reclamation of coal and oil sands exploration and coal, pipelines, sand and gravel and oil sands development operations. Upon satisfactory compliance, the funds are returned to the depositor. Where there is not satisfactory compliance, the Land Conservation and Reclamation Council is obligated to carry out the subsequent reclamation and the funds are used to complete the reclamation. This document also reports on the disposition of all non-cash security deposits which have been accepted instead of cash. During the year, $136,703 was refunded from coal development deposits, $199,788 was refunded from coal exploration deposits, $92,200 was refunded from oil exploration deposits, $145,565 was refunded from pipeline development and reclamation deposits, and $281,209 was refunded from sand and gravel deposits where satisfactory reclamation had been completed. The fund, which is an integral part of the Consolidated Cash Investment Trust Fund administered by the Provincial Treasurer, earned between 7.88 and 10.4% interest on cash deposits calculated monthly. The interest accrues to the depositor's account on a quarterly basis. The total cash deposits plus interest, bonds and guaratees as of March 31, 1992 held in the fund was $110,811,702. The balance sheet and operating account summary summarize the fund and also provide details of each individual account

  6. Canada's toxic tar sands : the most destructive project on earth

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hatch, C.; Price, M. [Environmental Defence, Toronto, ON (Canada)

    2008-02-15

    This document addressed the environmental problems associated with tar sands development in Alberta, with particular reference to toxicity problems associated with global warming and the impending destruction of the boreal forest. The authors cautioned that the tar sand projects are highly destructive, leaving downstream toxics equivalent to that of a massive slow motion oil spill that has the potential to poison people. Negligent oversights by the government regarding the impact of tar sands development were also discussed, with reference to toxics on site; toxics downwind; and toxics down the pipe. The report also provided information on the future of tar sands development and global warming in Canada. It included a discussion of reverse alchemy; Canada's failed climate politics; a tar sands tax; and taking responsibility. Last, the report addressed toxic enforcement, including the Fisheries Act; Canadian Environmental Protection Act; Canadian Environmental Assessment Act; and Alberta law. It was concluded that while it is a stretch to believe the tar sands can truly be sustainable, there is a great deal that can be done to clean it up. The authors recommended that new tar sands approvals should wait until certain reform elements are implemented, such as passing a real carbon cap; using dry tailings; requiring wildlife offsets; cleaning up refineries and upgraders; ensuring Aboriginal control and benefit; and having regulation and independent monitoring. 104 refs., 6 figs.

  7. Preliminary Study on Treatment of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME by Sand Filtration-DBD Plasma System

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ariadi Hazmi

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available In the palm oil industry, open ponding, aerobic and anaerobic digestion, physicochemical treatment and membrane filtration are generally applied as conventional treatments of palm oil mill effluent (POME. In this study, a sand filtration-dielectric barrier discharge (DBD system was investigated as an alternative process for treating POME. This system can reduce land usage, processing time and costs compared to conventional systems. The removal efficiency of chemical oxygen demand (COD, biological oxygen demand (BOD5, and oil-grease in relation to the applied voltage were studied. Furthermore, the pH and temperature profiles were investigated. The obtained results indicate that the removal efficiency of COD, BOD5, and oil-grease increased with an increase of the applied voltage. The electrical energy consumption needed is about 10.56 kWh/L of POME.

  8. Variability and uncertainty in life cycle assessment models for greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian oil sands production.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandt, Adam R

    2012-01-17

    Because of interest in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels production, a number of recent life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have calculated GHG emissions from oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining pathways. The results from these studies vary considerably. This paper reviews factors affecting energy consumption and GHG emissions from oil sands extraction. It then uses publicly available data to analyze the assumptions made in the LCA models to better understand the causes of variability in emissions estimates. It is found that the variation in oil sands GHG estimates is due to a variety of causes. In approximate order of importance, these are scope of modeling and choice of projects analyzed (e.g., specific projects vs industry averages); differences in assumed energy intensities of extraction and upgrading; differences in the fuel mix assumptions; treatment of secondary noncombustion emissions sources, such as venting, flaring, and fugitive emissions; and treatment of ecological emissions sources, such as land-use change-associated emissions. The GHGenius model is recommended as the LCA model that is most congruent with reported industry average data. GHGenius also has the most comprehensive system boundaries. Last, remaining uncertainties and future research needs are discussed.

  9. Scanning electron microscopic investigations of root structural modifications arising from growth in crude oil-contaminated sand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balasubramaniyam, Anuluxshy; Harvey, Patricia J

    2014-11-01

    The choice of plant for phytoremediation success requires knowledge of how plants respond to contaminant exposure, especially their roots which are instrumental in supporting rhizosphere activity. In this study, we investigated the responses of plants with different architectures represented by beetroot (Beta vulgaris), a eudicot with a central taproot and many narrower lateral roots, and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), a monocot possessing a mass of threadlike fibrous roots to grow in crude oil-treated sand. In this paper, scanning electron microscopy was used to investigate modifications to plant root structure caused by growth in crude oil-contaminated sand. Root structural disorders were evident and included enhanced thickening in the endodermis, increased width of the root cortical zone and smaller diameter of xylem vessels. Inhibition in the rate of root elongation correlated with the increase in cell wall thickening and was dramatically pronounced in beetroot compared to the roots of treated fescue. The latter possessed significantly fewer (p root hairs compared to control plants. Possibly, root hairs that absorb the hydrophobic contaminants may prevent contaminant absorption into the main root and concomitant axile root thickening by being sloughed off from roots. Tall fescue exhibited greater root morphological adaptability to growth in crude oil-treated sand than beetroot and, thus, a potential for long-term phytoremediation.

  10. A Decade of Change in NO2 and SO2 over the Canadian Oil Sands As Seen from Space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mclinden, Chris A.; Fioletov, Vitali; Krotkov, Nickolay A.; Li, Can; Boersma, K. Folkert; Adams, Cristen

    2015-01-01

    A decade (20052014) of observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) were used to examine trends in nitrogen dioxide(NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) over a large region of western Canada and the northern United States, with a focus on the Canadian oil sands. In the oil sands, primarily over an area of intensive surface mining, NO2 tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) are seen to be increasing by as much as 10year, with the location of the largest trends in a newly developing NO2 lobe well removed from surface monitoring stations. SO2 VCDs in the oil sands have remained approximately constant. The only other significant increase in the region was seen in NO2 over Bakken gas fields in North Dakota which showed increases of up to5yr. By contrast, other locations in the region show substantial declines in both pollutants, providing strong evidence to the efficacy of environmental pollution control measures implemented by both nations. The OMI-derived trends were found to be consistent with those from the Canadian surface monitoring network, although in the case of SO2, it was necessary to apply a correction in order to remove the residual signal from volcanic eruptions present in the OMI data.

  11. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and the bacterial community response in gulf of Mexico beach sands impacted by the deepwater horizon oil spill.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kostka, Joel E; Prakash, Om; Overholt, Will A; Green, Stefan J; Freyer, Gina; Canion, Andy; Delgardio, Jonathan; Norton, Nikita; Hazen, Terry C; Huettel, Markus

    2011-11-01

    A significant portion of oil from the recent Deepwater Horizon (DH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was transported to the shoreline, where it may have severe ecological and economic consequences. The objectives of this study were (i) to identify and characterize predominant oil-degrading taxa that may be used as model hydrocarbon degraders or as microbial indicators of contamination and (ii) to characterize the in situ response of indigenous bacterial communities to oil contamination in beach ecosystems. This study was conducted at municipal Pensacola Beach, FL, where chemical analysis revealed weathered oil petroleum hydrocarbon (C₈ to C₄₀) concentrations ranging from 3.1 to 4,500 mg kg⁻¹ in beach sands. A total of 24 bacterial strains from 14 genera were isolated from oiled beach sands and confirmed as oil-degrading microorganisms. Isolated bacterial strains were primarily Gammaproteobacteria, including representatives of genera with known oil degraders (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter). Sequence libraries generated from oiled sands revealed phylotypes that showed high sequence identity (up to 99%) to rRNA gene sequences from the oil-degrading bacterial isolates. The abundance of bacterial SSU rRNA gene sequences was ∼10-fold higher in oiled (0.44 × 10⁷ to 10.2 × 10⁷ copies g⁻¹) versus clean (0.024 × 10⁷ to 1.4 × 10⁷ copies g⁻¹) sand. Community analysis revealed a distinct response to oil contamination, and SSU rRNA gene abundance derived from the genus Alcanivorax showed the largest increase in relative abundance in contaminated samples. We conclude that oil contamination from the DH spill had a profound impact on the abundance and community composition of indigenous bacteria in Gulf beach sands, and our evidence points to members of the Gammaproteobacteria (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter) and Alphaproteobacteria (Rhodobacteraceae) as key players in oil degradation there.

  12. Big and Little Feet Provincial Profiles: Alberta

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sarah Dobson

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available This communiqué provides a summary of the production- and consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions accounts for Alberta, as well as their associated trade flows. It is part of a series of communiqués profiling the Canadian provinces and territories.1 In simplest terms, a production-based emissions account measures the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions produced in Alberta. In contrast, a consumption-based emissions account measures the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions generated during the production process for final goods and services that are consumed in Alberta through household purchases, investment by firms and government spending. Trade flows refer to the movement of emissions that are produced in Alberta but which support consumption in a different province, territory or country (and vice versa. For example, emissions associated with the production of Alberta crude oil that is exported to British Columbia for refining and sale as motor gasoline are recorded as a trade flow from Alberta to British Columbia. Moving in the opposite direction, emissions associated with the production of Saskatchewan crops that are exported to Alberta for processing and sale in Alberta grocery stores are recorded as a trade flow from Saskatchewan to Alberta. For further details on these results in a national context, the methodology for generating them and their policy implications, please see the companion papers to this communiqué series: (1 Fellows and Dobson (2017; and (2 Dobson and Fellows (2017. Additionally, the consumption emissions and trade flow data for each of the provinces and territories are available at: http://www.policyschool.ca/embodied-emissions-inputs-outputs-datatables-2004-2011/.

  13. Aquatic toxicity of petroleum products and dispersant agents determined under the U.S. EPA Oil Spill Research Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    The U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development has developed baseline data on the ecotoxicity of selected petroleum products and several chemical dispersants as part of its oil spills research program. Two diluted bitumens (dilbits) from the Alberta Tar Sands were tested for acu...

  14. Quantifying saline groundwater seepage to surface waters in the Athabasca oil sands region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jasechko, Scott; Gibson, John J.; Jean Birks, S.; Yi, Yi

    2012-01-01

    Western Canadian oil sands contain over 170 billion barrels of proven unconventional petroleum reserves currently extracted at 1.8 million barrels per day by either surface mining, or by in situ techniques that require subsurface injection of steam and hydrocarbon solvents. Natural high-salinity springs are known to add water and entrained inorganic and organic constituents to the Athabasca River and its tributaries in the region of ongoing bitumen production. However, the magnitude and synoptic distribution of these saline inputs has remained unquantified. Here, a chloride mass balance is used to estimate saline groundwater discharge to the Athabasca River from 1987 to 2010. Results show that the highest saline water discharge rate to the Athabasca River occurs between Ft. McMurray and the Peace-Athabasca Delta, supported by subcrop exposure of lower Cretaceous- and Devonian-aged formations bearing saline waters. Further, the input of saline groundwater is found to be an important control on the chemistry of the lower Athabasca River, despite comprising 10 −1 to 3% of the Athabasca River’s discharge. The flux of natural saline groundwater entering the Athabasca does not appear to have increased or decreased from 1987 to 2010. The origin of seep salinity is interpreted as relict subglacial meltwater that has dissolved Devonian-aged evaporites, supported by saline Na-Cl type waters with low 18 O/ 16 O and 2 H/ 1 H ratios relative to modern precipitation. The magnitude of groundwater discharge and its impact on the Athabasca River’s chemistry in the area of ongoing bitumen development warrants the incorporation of natural groundwater seepages into surface water quality monitoring networks.

  15. Modelling assessment of oil sands pit lakes turn-over potential

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Mackenzie, I.; Vandenberg, J.; Lauzon, N.; Takyi, A.

    2006-01-01

    Pit lakes form when surface mining operations are discontinued and dewatering is terminated. Their use as a treatment step for oil sands surface mining reclamation waters was discussed. The goal of the End Pit Lake Subgroup of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association is to establish guidelines that will enable operators to achieve acceptable water quality for these lakes. Although both biological and physical processes affect turn-over potential, this presentation focused on the size of pit lakes, their depth, starting lake salinity concentrations, inflow rates and inflow salinity flux. These parameters where selected because of their influence on density gradients and turn-over potential. One-dimensional and two-dimensional modelling simulations were performed to examine turnover potential for a large range of pit lake configurations and conditions. The pit lake scenarios chosen for this modelling study included a wide range of changes in 3 lake sizes (1, 4 and 8 km 2 ), 3 lake depths (5, 20 and 50 m), 2 lake s