Heavy Oil is a form of unconventional oil that is thick and highly viscous, and therefore does not flow to production wells under normal reservoir conditions.

HEAVY OIL

Definition  

Heavy oil is a type of crude oil that is very viscous, meaning that it is thick and does not flow easily. This is caused by both a low hydrogen to carbon ratio in the molecular make-up and the presence of other minerals such as asphaltenes, resins, sulfur and metals such as vanadium and nickel, which all increase its density.blah blah blag blah blah blag blah blah blag blah blah blag 

Nearly all the deposits of heavy oil are degraded remnants of conventional oils. Degradation begins when oil migrates toward the earth’s surface and encounters water containing oxygen and bacteria. A tar-like material is formed at oil-water contact that eventually invades the entire oil accumulation. A process known as “water washing” removes the more water-soluble, light hydrocarbons, leaving a heavy oil accumulation.  Heavy oil accumulations may represent as little as 10 percent of the original conventional oil[1]Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".

Due to their high density and viscosity, special extraction methods are needed to recover heavy oil efficiently. These methods include: surface mining, cold production and thermal recovery. Heavy oil may also require additional processing, usually referred to as upgrading, after being produced in order to be transported and refined. Large amounts of energy are put into the extraction and production of heavy oil - about 20% to 30% of the energy that is actually produced[2]Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.

 
 

Context

Heavy oil makes up a significant portion of the world’s discovered petroleum resources, while only a very small fraction of these resources have been produced so far. High density and viscosity have traditionally made their recovery energy demanding in comparison to lighter oils.

Heavy crudes are expected to be a large contributor to the world’s energy needs in the future, as conventional supplies decrease. However, the technological costs to produce a barrel are currently much higher than with conventional resources.  Additionally, the increased energy requirements and unconventional practices in production raise various environmental concerns such as land disturbance, tailing ponds, and higher greenhouse gas emissions.

References

  1. ^ Rigzone. 2015. "How it Works: Heavy Oil".
  2. ^ Fabian Bjørnseth. "Heavy Oil Production Technology Challenges and the Effect of Nano Sized Metals on the Viscosity of Heavy Oil". June 2013.

Sorry, we do not yet have a video specifically for Heavy Oil.  We are adding new  videos to StudentEnergy.org weekly, but in the meantime check out this video on Oil Sands.

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INTERNATIONAL OR PROMINENT INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

National Petroleum Council (US)

Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA)

International Council on Mining and Metals

Society of Petroleum Engineers

International Minerals & Mining Association

U.S. National Mining Association

RESEARCH INSTITUTION

Canadian Energy Research Institute 

Total-EP Canada

Alberta's Petroleum Heritage Edukits

Canadian Centre for Energy Information

ACADEMIC JOURNAL

Oil & Gas Journal

Oil Sands Review

Energy

Energy & Fuels

Journal of Geology and Mining Research

HISTORY

Oil Sands Discovery Centre

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)

SunCor

University of Alberta

Fuel Chemistry Division 

CRS Report for Congress - North American Oil Sands: History of Development, Prospects for the Future

POLITICS

Alberta Oil Magazine

Alberta Government - Rules, Reports and Regulations

The Economist - Oil sands

Alberta Energy Regulator

Parlee - Avoiding the Resource Curse: Indigenous Communities and Canada’s Oil Sands

ECONOMICS

Alberta Energy: Oil Sands Sustainable Development Secretariat

The Oil Sands Developers Group

Alberta Government - Alberta's Oil Sands 

Canadian Energy Research Institute - Refining Bitumen: Costs, Benefits and Analysis

Canadian Energy Research Institute - Economic Impacts of New Oil Sands Projects in Alberta (2010-2035)

TECHNOLOGY

Total Energy

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How SAGD Works | Cenovus Energy

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

In Situ Report Card | Pembina Institute

Alberta Centre for Reclamation and Restoration Ecology

Water Matters 

Total-EP Canada

Canadian Energy Research Institute - Oil Sands Environmental Impacts

The Royal Society of Canada - Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada's Oil Sands Industry

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BUSINESS ANALYSIS

Alberta Energy: Oil Sands Sustainable Development Secretariat

Canada's National Energy Board

IHS - The Role of the Canadian Oil Sands in the US Market

HEALTH IMPACT

The Globe and Mail - Oil-sands link to health concerns

The Royal Society of Canada - Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada's Oil Sands Industry

SUSTAINABILITY

BP

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Oil Sands Review

OTHER INTERESTING ESSAYS/ARTICLES

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Oil Sands Review

The Wall Street Journal

Huffington Post - Alberta Oil Sands Articles

Financial Post - Majority of oil sands ownership and profits are foreign, says analysis

Take a Step Back

Unconventional Oil

Unconventional Oil refers to crude oil that is not produced by traditional extraction methods. This includes but is not limited to offshore, oil sands, and tight oil.

Oil

Oil is a fossil fuel and liquid hydrocarbon used mainly for the production of transportation fuels and petroleum-based products.

Keep Learning! Progress To

Oil Sands

Oil Sands is a form of heavy oil found in sand and rock primarily in the Athabasca region of Northern Alberta, Canada.