Find definitions and explanations for common industry terms.

Heavy, viscous oil that must be processed extensively to convert it into a crude oil before it can be used by refineries to produce gasoline and other petroleum products.

Carbon capture
The removal of CO₂ from fossil fuels either before or after combustion. Carbon capture and storage can be referred to as CCS.
Carbon dioxide (CO₂)
A colourless, odourless gas that’s produced when animals (including humans) breathe or when carbon-containing materials (including fossil fuels) are burned. Carbon dioxide is essential to the photosynthesis process that sustains plant and animal life. But it can accumulate in the air and trap heat near the Earth’s surface (the “greenhouse effect”).

An ecosystem consists of a biological community of organisms together with their physical environment. They can be marine, aquatic or terrestrial.
A process unique to the oil sands industry, in which bitumen is separated from its source (oil sands).

Greenhouse gases (GHGs)
Greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
Greenhouse gas intensity (GHG intensity)
The average emission rate of a given greenhouse gas from a specific source. For example: greenhouse gases released per barrel of production.

In situ
There are two different methods of producing oil from oil sands: open-pit mining and in situ (latin, meaning “in place”) technology. Bitumen close to the surface is mined. Bitumen deep within the ground is produced in situ using specialized extraction techniques.

Oil sands
A deposit of sand saturated with bitumen.

Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD)
A recovery technique for extraction of heavy oil or bitumen that involves drilling a pair of horizontal wells one above the other; one well is used for steam injection and the other for production.
Storing something so that it’s no longer available. Carbon sequestration involves the removal or storage of carbon dioxide so that it can’t be released into the atmosphere.
A process for retaining captured CO₂ so that it does not reach the atmosphere.

CO₂ transport is the process of moving captured CO₂ through a pipeline or other vessel to a suitable storage site.

The process of converting heavy oil or bitumen into synthetic crude oil.


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