Canada's oil sands are the third largest reserves of crude oil in the world, with 166 billion barrels of recoverable oil. The oil sands are located in three main regions within the province of Alberta: the Athabasca, Cold Lake and Peace River regions, which combined cover an area more than 142,000 square kilometres. The active mining footprint is only 904 square kilometres.
The production of oil from the oil sands has been conducted commercially for almost five decades. Initially oil sands were primarily accessed through large open pit mining operations. Since the mid-1980s and especially over the last decade, in situ technologies have played a growing role in oil sands production.
Reliable, long-term environmental monitoring based on sound science is in everybody's best interest. In managing environmental impacts, oil sands operators must adhere to stringent regulations. Approvals from numerous regulatory agencies are required at every phase, from construction and operations to decommissioning and reclamation.
As oil sands development evolves with improving technology, industry understands that it needs to continuously demonstrate that the land, air and water impacts of mining and in situ oil sands production are managed in a sustainable way to meet regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations. Industry is also committed to providing a safe workplace for employees, contractors and the communities where it operates.