Canada has been producing oil for more than a century and we stand as the sixth largest oil producing nation in the world. At its peak the industry was producing more than 3.9 million barrels of oil per day. Crude oil is one of the most highly traded commodities in the marke, which is why there is so much fluctuations in prices.
Overview of the Canadian Oil Industry
Almost half of all of Canada’s energy needs are met by oil and its refined products. Here are some of the products produced by Canadian oil:
- Gasoline which fuels most cars, generators along with some types of aircraft.
- Diesel which again fuels cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats and generators
- Oil is a component in asphalt that paves most of our roads, roofing materials are made from asphalt.
- Oil is used in lubricants, wax for candles and in the creation of synthetic material
- Heavy fuel is used in power plants and industrial production
- Light fuel is responsible for heating our homes and buildings throughout the country
- Oil is used to make aviation fuel for jets.
Canada produces bitumen, which makes the same products as conventional crude, however it does require more processing to be viable. You can get crude from the ground by means of pressure or with pumping.
Oil Drilling in Alberta
When a reservoir of oil is found the drilling company will use either simple pressure forcing the oil to the surface or a pumpjack, which is simply a mechanical pump. Most of the wells in Alberta will have to be pumped.
Oil Refining & Processing
Normally before petroleum gets sent to a refinery it needs to be separated, the usable commodities from the crude. Most of Alberta’s conventional petroleum doesn’t need very much processing before it is sent to refineries.
Crude is initially process at onsite facilities called batteries, inside there are several tanks of saltwater and sand, which sinks to the bottom and the natural gas will stay on top. The cleaned oil will be somewhere in the middle. After this process it is transported via pipelines where it is refined into products like gasoline and home heating oil.
Oil drilling and production is a crucial part of the Albertan and Canadian economies, generating billions of dollars in revenues. What you must remember is that it is not just huge oil companies making a profit, there are plenty of small local drilling companies that rely on the oil and gas industry for their livelihoods and contribute to their communities and the larger economy.