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Blueprint Alberta: H20



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Oil & Water
Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage

Most of the heavy, tar-like oil called bitumen found in Alberta's oilsands is too deep in the earth to be mined.

The newest technique for tapping that deep resource is called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage.

Two parallel wells are drilled into the bottom of the reservoir. Steam is injected into the top well and the heat melts the bitumen, which drains by gravity into the lower well.

Because the water is mostly recycled, the process takes less than a barrel of water for every barrel of oil produced. That compares to between two and 4½ barrels of water needed to produce one barrel of oil when bitumen is mined.

Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage

Oil Sand Formation

Your View

I agree with former premier Peter Lougheed that water is more important than oil. With agriculture using 70% of the surface water, we need to develop a policy that will decrease this usage over a reasonable period of time.

Ron Esch, Calgary

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The Best of Blueprint Alberta: H20 - Episode 1

The Best of Blueprint Alberta: H20 - Episode 2

The Best of Blueprint Alberta: H20 - Episode 3


68.9% of all the freshwater on earth is tied up in glaciers and permanent snow cover.

Only 0.3% of total global fresh water is stored in lakes and rivers.

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