A large part of mining operations involves clearing trees and brush from a site and removing the overburden - the topsoil, muskeg, sand, clay and gravel - that sits atop the oil sands deposit. The topsoil and muskeg are stockpiled so they can be replaced as sections of the mined-out area are reclaimed; the rest of the overburden is used to reconstruct the landscape when mining is complete.
Developers are required to restore oil sands mining sites to at least the equivalent of their previous biological productivity, which means the region as a whole forms an ecosystem landscape at least as healthy and productive as that which existed before development.
Oil sands operations emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas (GHG), which is considered to be a contributor to climate change. Oil sands developers have been actively working towards reducing CO2 emissions by 45% per barrel by 2010, compared to 1990 levels.
There are numerous opportunities in the oil sands industry. You should contact the individual companies with projects in the oil sands or visit their respective websites for information regarding potential positions.
Fort McMurray labour market news provides links for opportunities in the oil sands and northern Alberta.
For information on training, apprenticeship and employment in trades in Alberta, you may wish to visit Government of Alberta Tradesecrets.
They are not the same but both are part of the Ministry of Energy. The Department of Energy is responsible for ensuring Albertans receive their fair share of value and benefit from the development of the province's energy resources as well as encouraging value-added investment into the energy sector. The Department also issues and manages resource leases.
The ERCB is responsible for the conservation of energy resources, effective and efficient recovery of those resources, and the safety of recovery operations through approval and monitoring of appropriate recovery schemes for each resource.
Petroleum coke is a carbonaceous material that results from the coking process during upgrading. There are two types of oil sands petroleum coke: fluid coke, produced by Syncrude, and delayed coke, produced by Suncor and most other upgraders. Fluid coke consists of fine particles, whereas delayed coke is coarser; both are smaller than 3 cm. Both types of coke have ash an content of approximately 7% by weight. The sulphur content can vary from 4% to 7% for both types. Oil sands petroleum coke ash is also high in nickel (1.5 wt%) and vanadium (5wt%).
Coke is used as a fuel to create the high temperatures necessary in blast furnaces to make steel. Unlike petroleum coke, there are very tight specifications for this coke: it is important that it have consistent physical properties (stability, strength, size, shape) and chemical properties (ash, sulphur, volatile matter, alkalis, moisture). The most important properties of coke are heating value (determined mainly by carbon content), ash and sulphur contents. Coke with low ash and sulphur contents are worth more. Typically coking coal must be bigger than 3 cm in size and have an ash content less than 10%.
The differences between the two types of cokes make it technically difficult to use petroleum coke for the same purposes as conventional coke.
Energy development supports a strong Alberta economy. Our approach reflects an innovative and responsible direction that Alberta will take toward the long-term development of energy in our province. Royalties are part of the overall revenue share received from energy development and help fund important programs like health, education and infrastructure. One in six Albertans is employed directly or indirectly by Alberta’s energy sector and in 2007-08, government collected $11 billion in non-renewable resource revenues with over $2.9 billion coming from the oil sands. This represents almost 29% of total provincial revenues.