NationalGeographic– CNN had an article about the Canadian oil sands today… but it was pretty poorly written. Instead, I recommend you check out the recent National Geographic piece. Make sure to take a look through the pictures, too.
Oil sands are what we call an “unconventional resource”, meaning it’s a more expensive source of oil than the normal operations you see drilling oil wells. There’s lots of oil in there, sure, but it’s all gummed up in sand and dirt. They’re often called “tar sands” because of their thick, sticky nature. As oil prices climb higher, and conventional resources get harder to find, companies begin to explore the less profitable resources. The scene in Canada is really incredible.