OIL SANDS 101

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COURSE DESCRIPTION

Get a high-level overview of Alberta’s oil sands industry, from the geological formation, to bitumen processing techniques, crude marketing and transportation, oil pricing dynamics, specific to the oil sands, and the environmental footprint of resource development.

This course is suitable for all levels, and provides a big-picture view of the oil sands sector.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • 10 video lessons and quizzes (1 hr 50 min)
  • PDF — Technical guide (32 pages)
  • PDF — Slide deck (65 pages)
  • PDF — Video transcript, references and further reading (42 pages)

HOW TO ENROLL

Sign-up to create a login and password. Members will have access to the course for 30-days. Cost is $150 per user (+GST for Canadian residents). Members must be logged in to access the course.

COURSE CURRICULUM

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
• Bitumen deposits and reserves
• History of oil sands development
• Bitumen production profile

CHAPTER 2: GEOLOGY & PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
• History of geological formations
• Alberta’s oil sands basins
• Oil sands geology and physical properties
• Properties of bitumen and asphaltenes
• Bitumen vs light/med/heavy conventional oil

CHAPTER 3: PROCESS OVERVIEW
• From the deposit to final products
• Crude marketability explained
• Upgrading vs refining

CHAPTER 4: BITUMEN EXTRACTION
• Mining vs in-situ by deposit depth
• Surface mining — process overview
• Surface mining — NFT vs PFT process
• Surface mining — facilities list and map
• In-situ extraction — process overview
• In-situ extraction — CSS vs SAGD
• In-situ extraction — facilities list and map
• Oil sands facilities map and bitumen production

CHAPTER 5: BITUMEN UPGRADING
• Residue upgrading defined
• Crude distillation fractions
• Cracking and coking defined
• Bitumen upgrading — process overview
• Bitumen upgrading — A&V distillation
• Bitumen upgrading — Primary Upgrading
• Bitumen upgrading — Secondary Upgrading
• Bitumen upgrading — Product Blending
• Upgrader map and history
• Synthetic crude production profile

CHAPTER 6: PRODUCTS FROM THE OIL SANDS
• How crude oils are classified
• Popular benchmarks — API vs sulphur content
• Crude streams from the oil sands
• Oil sands production by type

CHAPTER 7: REFINING AND MARKETING
• Crude distillation fractions
• Residue conversion and product refining
• Refinery complexity explained
• Refining economics
• Distillation fractions by crude grade
• Diluted bitumen vs synthetic crude
• Refining map and crude trade flows
• Synthetic crude usage and exports
• Diluted bitumen usage and exports

CHAPTER 8: STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION
• Midstream explained
• Crude oil storage — map and capacity
• Crude oil storage — blending and hedging
• Export pipelines — map and capacity
• Rail transport — map and capacity
• Marine export terminals
• Exports by method of transport
• Exports by destination
• Transportation costs comparisons

CHAPTER 9: OIL PRICING DYNAMICS
• Crude benchmarks explained
• Oil prices by location and grade
• Price differentials — unconstrained case
• Price differentials — constrained case

CHAPTER 10: ENVIRONMENT
• Regulatory oversight
• Land usage — in-situ vs mining
• Land usage — fine fluid tailings
• Land usage — fines dewatering
• Land usage — reclamation examples
• Water usage — in-situ vs mining
• Air emissions — pollutants vs GHGs
• Air emissions — GHG emission intensities
• Air emissions — GHG accounting methods
• Air emissions — Well-to-wheels comparisons
• Air emissions — path to net zero by 2050

FAQs

How long does it take to complete the course?
All 10 videos take about 2 hours to complete.

How long is the course open for?
Course is open for 30-days after registration. If you need more time, please contact us.

Do I have to complete all 10 lessons at once?
No. Feel free to go at your own pace. Each time you login, you can continue where you left off. You can also go back and review the previous lessons, as needed.

What is the course format?
Each lesson includes a short video and quiz. An in-depth technical guide is provided as background reading material. Additional charts, graphs and flowsheets are included in the slide deck. A full transcript of the video, including references, and links to further reading, is also provided.

Who is this course for?
It’s for anyone who wants to learn more about the oil sands industry, how the resource is extracted, what makes bitumen different than conventional heavy oil, challenges in bitumen processing, logistical constraints, environmental metrics as well as what drives pricing discounts between regions and grades.

What kind of background or experience do I need? Is this just for engineers?
Absolutely not. This course takes a high-level view, starting at the very beginning, and doesn’t require any knowledge of oil processing. For those already employed in the oil sands, this course provides a big picture view, from deposit geology, to the final customer, and all the challenges in between.

Do you offer corporate discounts for multiple users?
Yes. Please contact us and let us know what you need (number of users and desired timeframe for completion).

What if I still have questions?
No problem — just send us an email!