Oil & Gas News





According to Wikipedia (21-Feb-2013), oil reserves in Canada were estimated at 179 billion barrels in 2007. This figure includes the oil sands reserves that are estimated by government regulators to be economically producible at current prices using current technology.  According to this figure, Canada's reserves are third only to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.  Over 95% of these reserves are in the oil sands deposits in the province of Alberta.  Alberta contains nearly all of Canada's oil sands and much of its conventional oil reserves.  The balance is concentrated in several other provinces and territories. Saskatchewan and offshore areas of Newfoundland in particular have substantial oil production and reserves.  Alberta has 39% of Canada's remaining conventional oil reserves, offshore Newfoundland 28% and Saskatchewan 27%, but if oil sands are included, Alberta's share is over 98%.


The terms “oil sands” and “tar sands” are used interchangeably with a more negative connotation on the latter simply for the imagery it conveys.  Fort McMurray is the principle oil/tar sands mining and upgrading town in Alberta.


Oil sand is a mixture of bitumen (a thick tar-like substance), sand, clay, silt and water.  Bitumen is extracted using traditional mining techniques if the source is close to surface (20% of extraction), or through in-situ extraction (fracking with steam) for sources deeper than 200 feet (80% of extraction).


Upgrading converts thick bitumen to synthetic crude oil and diesel fuel.  By-products are petroleum coke, sulphur and tailings. 


Tailings consist of water, clay, sand, residual bitumen.  Released to a pond, the heaviest material (usually sand) settles, while the water rises to the top.  The suspended particles in the middle, called mature fine tailings (MFT) are a significant environmental hazard.


Major problems resulting from oil sand production are quantity of fresh water use, fresh water loss, fresh water toxicity, watershed risk, impacts from toxic tailings ponds, greenhouse gas emissions, flaring of “unwanted” gas, and the controversial fracking methodology.


Canadians also have no idea of the overall ‘big picture’ of the impacts of oilsands production and transport because each project is assessed in isolation. (article)




According to, a website administered by the Alberta Government, the entire oil sands resource is about the size of Florida – about 140,000 square kilometres.  According to only about 2% of that 140,000 square kilometres (2,800 sq kms) will ever be mined in a way that physically interferes with the natural landscape.  Of Canada’s 1.4 billion acres of Boreal forest, just one percent of one percent, or 160,000 acres, will be temporarily used for surface mining. 


The bulk of the oilsands resource isn’t so shallow that it can just be dug up from the surface. Since it’s buried deep under the earth in huge deposits, much like conventional oil but fused with the soil, oilsands operators have developed technologies that allow them to draw the oil out from where it sits—which is why it’s called in situ, meaning, in it’s original place. The most common method to do this is called Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage, or SAG-D: it essentially drills a hole in the ground and runs pipes down, and then horizontally, through the large oilsands deposits. The pipes steam the oil till it’s soft enough that it separates from the soil, and gets sucked back up through the pipes.





List of companies operating in Alberta’s oil sands according to the Rainforest Action Network (as shown on their website 19-Jan-2017):


Athabasca Oil Sands Corp
Baytex Energy Trust
Bonavista Energy Trust
BP plc
Bronco Energy Ltd
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd
Canadian Oil Sands Trust
CanWest Petroleum Corp
Cenovus Energy Inc
Chevron Corp
China National Petroleum Corp
Connacher Oil & Gas Ltd
Devon Energy Corp
Enbridge Inc

EnCana Corp
Enerplus Resources Fund
Exxon Mobil Corp

Harvest Energy Trust
Husky Energy Inc
Imperial Oil Ltd
Inter Pipeline Fund
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP
Koch Resources LLC
Korea National Oil Corp
Marathon Oil Corp
MEG Energy Corp
Mocal Energy Ltd
Murphy Oil Corp
Nexen Inc
Nippon Oil Corp
Occidental Petroleum Corp
Oilsands Quest Inc
OPTI Canada Inc
Paramount Resources Ltd
Pembina Pipeline Income Fund
Pengrowth Energy Trust
Penn West Energy Trust
Petrobank Energy & Resources Ltd
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Sinopec Group
StatoilHydro ASA
Suncor Energy Inc
Syncrude Canada Ltd
Total SA
TransCanada Corp
UTS Energy Corp

Oil Sands/Tar Sands Links


Oil Sands Aerial Footage/photos (DeSmog Canada 2014)


Oil Sands 105:  What is Diluent and Why is it Important?


Alberta Energy Regulator – Youtube Channel


Industry viewpoint (Suncor Energy): (10:49mins)


Non-industry viewpoint:  (Reality Check:  Canada’s Oil Sands): (2:27mins)


Non-industry viewpoint:  (Tar Sands Oil Extraction – The Dirty Truth): (11:39mins)


Business Insider:  The Canadian Oil Sand Mines Refused Us Access, So We Rented This Plane To See What They Were Up To (2012)


Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) report - Going in Reverse:  The Tar Sands Threat To Central Canada and New England (June 2012)(24 pg .pdf)


Oil sands production in northern Alberta is planned to triple in size over the next 25 years (2013 article).


Opposition viewpoint: Tar Sands Reality Check (


Hydrofracking risks outweigh rewards – Opinion:  Donald C. Helm, Scientist


Link to North American Refinery Production Interactive Tool


Building the world’s largest truck (Cat. 797B) (43mins) (David Suzuki Foundation)




Link to list of oil sands companies and properties




News – Alberta




Posted By

Article Link



CBC News

Supreme Court rules energy companies must clean up old wells — even in bankruptcy

Tracy Johnson

- Redwater bankruptcy


Central Alberta citizens band together to fight huge new water licence for fracking

Sharon J. Riley


National Post

Now there’s a way to get Alberta oil to market without pipelines — and recycle plastic at the same time

Geoffrey Morgan



National Observer

Pipeline shortfall not the only thing punishing Canadian oilpatch

Carl Meyer

AO News - Pipelines


CBC News

Syncrude fined $2.75M in deaths of 31 great blue herons

- Mildred Lake site


National Observer

Sohi announces $1.6 billion to help Alberta oilpatch

Carl Meyer

AO News – Oil & Gas Subsidies


National Observer

The silence on Alberta's $260 billion environmental liability is deafening

Amin Asadollahi


Alberta oilsands producers 'incredibly profitable' during recent economic downturn

- The Parkland Institute, U of Alberta


Vancouver Sun

Chinese buyers ramp up purchases of cheap Alberta bitumen-laden crude

Derrick Penner


The story of Alberta’s $100-billion well liability problem. How did we get here?

Sharon J. Riley


Are Albertans collecting a fair share of oilsands wealth

James Wilt


Guest Post: Canadians should be on red alert over Redwater Energy case

Regan Boychuk

- Redwater bankruptcy


Pembina Institute

Blog: A liability iceberg in Alberta exposed by the Redwater legal case

Jodi McNeill

- Redwater bankruptcy


Calgary Herald

As oil glut grows, Canada's crude-by-rail terminals sit idle

Robert Tuttle, Bloomberg News

AO News - Rail


Desmog Canada

The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil

James Wilt


National Observer

The fatal flaw of Alberta's oil expansion

Paul McKay


Globe and Mail

Federal climate plan to yield to Alberta on oil sands, pipelines

Shawn McCarthy


Calgary Herald

Oil firm shutting down, walking away from thousands of untended Alberta wells

Dan Healing


CBC News

Fight over bankrupt oil company lands at Supreme Court

Tony Seskus


National Observer

Suncor Energy says driverless trucks will eliminate a net 400 jobs in the oilsands

Dan Healing


340 Billion Gallons of Sludge Spur Environmental Fears in Canada

Kevin Orland


National Observer

Legacy of Liabilities – series of reports



Opinion: Canada’s most shameful environmental secret must not remain hidden

Tzeporah Berman


Globe and Mail

Opinion: No one should fee sorry for Alberta

Gary Mason

- no sales tax, low corporate tax, “Alberta Advantage”


National Observer

Bankruptcy for profit in Alberta's oilpatch

Regan Boychuk


National Observer

NAFTA's environmental arm demands Canada explain oilsands tailings leaks

The Canadian Press


Anti-fracking group looking for public awareness

Lindsay Seewalt


Oil sands production using nearly one-third of Canada's natural gas

The Canadian Press



Alberta shuts down Lexin Resources, leaving big mess to clean up




No one hurt after train derails near Grande Cache

- 25 rail cars left track

- frack sand

- AO News – Frack Sand

- AO News - Rail



National Observer

Oilsands research group says it is a 'logical' recipient of carbon tax grants

Dan Healing

- Keith Stewart, Greenpeace


Cause and Volume of Pipeline Spill in Alberta Wetland Still Unknown Six Days In

Carol Linnitt

AO News - Spills


National Observer

Teachers investigate whether University of Calgary is in bed with Big Oil

Christopher Adams


CBC News

Pipeline leak fouls creek near grizzly bear protection area in northwestern Alberta

- Grande Cache

- 380,000 litres of light petroleum


Globe and Mail

Oil sands found to be a leading source of air pollution in North America

Ivan Semeniuk


Financial Post

Alberta court rules insolvent oil company’s assets won’t be used to clean up idle wells

Geoffrey Morgan



Fort McMurray fires shut down even more oilsands facilities, knock one million barrels offline

Zig Zag

 - Claudia Cattaneo and Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, May 5, 2016


Global News

All of Fort McMurray evacuated as wildfire intensifies

Emily Mertz, Phil Heidenreich and Caley Ramsay


National Post

Oil companies create lakes ‘from scratch’ to try to replace destroyed fish habitat in north Alberta

Janet French


Globe and Mail

Study confirms link between fracking, earthquakes in Western Canada

Mark Hume

AO News – Earthquakes


HIS Markit (Blog)

Production cost and the Canadian oil sands in a lower price environment

Kevin Birn


Calgary Herald

Landowners fight for enforcement of rules at inactive Alberta well sites

Colette Derworiz


Ottawa Citizen

Oilsands' share of GHG emissions to double by 2030

Jason Fekete


In Supreme Court, a Battle Over Fracking and Citizens' Rights

Andrew Nikiforuk

- Jessica Ernst


CBC News Edmonton

Fox Creek fracking operation closed indefinitely after earthquake

- 4.3 magnitude earthquake 12‑Jan-2016 at 11:27am

- Repsol Oil & Gas


Charter Rights at Issue in Fracking Supreme Court Case

Andrew Nikiforuk

- Jessica Ernst


CBC News

As Suncor offer nears deadline, Canadian Oil Sands repeats call to remain independent



Edmonton Journal

‘A cocktail of chemicals’: Alberta farmers face off with energy firms over odour from heavy oilfields

Geoffrey Morgan


CBC News

Pet surrenders on rise as Fort McMurray's economy falls

Wallis Snowdon


Shell halts Carmon Creek oil sands project in Alberta, Canada



Globe and Mail

Companies charged over 2013 coal tailings pond spill: Alberta Energy Regulator

Bob Weber and John Cotter

- Coal companies


CBC News

Alberta on track to have worst air quality in Canada

Trisha Estabrooks


Globe and Mail

Alberta regulator shuts 95 Nexen pipelines over ‘noncompliance’

Mike De Souza



New Water Use Restrictions Highlight Influence of Climate on Oilsands, Need for Stronger Rules

Carol Linnitt

2015-08-11 (UK)

Revealed: Canadian government spent millions on secret tar sands advocacy

Martin Lukacs


Global News

Cleanup continues at Nexen oil spill site in northern Alberta

Caley Ramsay


Toronto Star

It's time to talk about the oilsands

Tzeporah Berman


Globe and Mail

Alberta oil spill cleanup begins, but cause still uncertain

Dean Bennett


CBC News

Alberta pipelines: 6 major oil spills in recent history



Globe and Mail

Earthquakes shake Alberta town’s faith in fracking

- Fox Creek, Alberta


Alberta Oil Magazine

What Does the Anti-fracking Movement Mean for Canada?

Markham Hislop


Huffington Post

100 Canadian, U.S. Scientists Call For Halt To Oilsands Projects

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press



New Democratic Win in Alberta Sends Energy Shares Sliding

Rebecca Penty and Robert Tuttle



Wolves Shot From Choppers Shows Oil Harm Beyond Pollution

Rebecca Penty


Global News NB

Oil sands air monitoring cancelled due to funding problems



Financial Post

Talisman Energy Inc, Nexen Energy ULC fire hundreds of employees in ‘bloody Tuesday’

Caludia Cattaneo, Geoffrey Morgan

- Calgary


Globe and Mail

Shell pulls plug on long-delayed Alberta oil sands mine

Jeff Lewis


CBC News

Fracking likely linked to 4.4 magnitude quake in Fox Creek



University of Calgary /

School of Public Policy

How Many People Really Do Work in the Oil Sands?

Jennifer Winter


Ann Craft's Fracking Nightmare: A Top Lawyer's Startling Counsel

Andrew Nikiforuk

Council of Cdns


Globe and Mail

Green energy sector jobs surpass total oil sands employment

Richard Blackwell


EcoWatch / FracTracker Alliance

New Study Finds Tar Sands Oil Calculations Out of Whack

Ted Auch


660 News

Reports of birds on tailings ponds in Alberta’s oilsands



Globe and Mail

Fort McMurray cracks under oil boom’s strain

Jeff Lewis


Globe and Mail

No charges laid against Suncor over Athabasca River spill, document says

Josh Wingrove


Metro News

Alberta woman loses fracking case appeal

- Jessica Ernst lawsuit


CBC Digital Archives

Oilsands blamed for lead poisoning



Calgary Herald

Alberta sheds more than 13,000 jobs in August

Mario Toneguzzi


CBC Go Public

Canadians expose foreign worker “mess” in oilsands

Kathy Tomlinson


EcoWatch / Natural Resources Defense Council

Higher Cancer Rates and Tainted Local Foods Linked to Tar Sands Operations

Danielle Droitsch


Canada’s shocking oilsands operation (Aerial footage)

DeSmog Canada


Experts Call for Moratorium on New Oilsands Development Until Climate, Environmental Impacts Assessed

Stephen Leahy



Canadian awaits verdict on fracking nightmare

David Kattenburg,

- Diana Daunheimer sues Bellatrix Corp.


Globe and Mail

Total shelves $11-billion Alberta oil sands mine

Carrie Tait



Video: Alberta ranchers voice health concerns about fracking (1 min)

Cam Tucker

- Howard & Nielle Hawkwood


Environmental Defense

Reality Check: Climate Change and the Tar Sands



CBC News

Greenpeace calls for Elections Canada probe of Ethical Oil

- Keith Stewart


EcoWatch / Anthony Hall

Oil Consultant Turned Whistleblower Exposes Fracking Crimes in Alberta

Anthony Hall

- Jessica Ernst


Global News

Alberta inquiry finds oil odours may be making people sick

Leslie Young


Alberta Regulator Quietly Halts Steam Bitumen Mining Near Fort Mac

Andrew Nikiforuk

- in situ steaming operations


Vancouver Observer

Alberta doctor tells U.S.: Canada is ‘lying’ about tar sands’ health effects

- Dr. John O’Connor


National Post

Rex Murphy: Speaking my mind, no matter the issue

Rex Murphy


CBC News

Oilsands study confirms tailings found in groundwater, river



Meet The Family The Tar Sands Industry Wants To Keep Quiet

Emily Atkin


Huffington Post / CBC

Pipeline Rupture Report Raises Questions About TransCanada Inspections

2009-07-20 Peace River mainline explosion


Edmonton Journal

Some doctors refused to treat emission-area residents:  report

Sheila Pratt



Blog: 10 reasons why Neil Young is right about the Tarsands:

Mike Hudema


Huffington Post

Norway's Oil Fund Heads For $1 Trillion; So Where Is Alberta's Pot Of Gold?

Daniel Tencer


Aljazeera America

Researchers find 7,300-mile ring of mercury around tar sands in Canada

Peter Moskowitz


CBC News

Ottawa questioned about leaking oilsands tailings pond




Jackpine Mine will destroy wetlands and wildlife, First Nations say

Angela Sterritt


Youtube / albertavoices

Fracking in Alberta: Don & Elaine Thomas (17 mins)

- both worked in oil & gas industry

- whole new breed of oil & gas wells

- air quality & health related issues

- “This can be done differently. This can be done safely.”


Huffington Post

Edmonton Air Carcinogens: Study Finds Alarming Levels Of Chemicals Downwind Of Petrochemical Plants

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press


Youtube / albertavoices

Fracking in Alberta: Chelan H (8 mins)

- Daughter diagnosed with leukemia, suspects a connection with oil & gas activities


Youtube / albertavoices

Fracking in Alberta:  Dr. Gary Tresidder (12 mins)

- Dr. Gary Tresidder

- flare shields

- health impacts

- “I’m not a protester.  I’m just an average guy trying to live a normal life.”


CBC News

Alberta orders lake drained to contain bitumen leak

Cold Lake, Alberta


Youtube / albertavoices

Fracking in Alberta:  The Hawkwoods (15 mins)

- Howard & Nielle Hawkwood

- health impacts (hairloss)

- personal economic impacts / food chain

- earthquakes

- 400 similar complaints in  southern Alberta overwhelming gov’t resources


Youtube / albertavoices

Fracking in Alberta: The Hemeyers (13 mins)

- Vern & Carol Hemeyer

- visual impact


Youtube / albertavoices

Fracking in Alberta: The Campbells (15 mins)

- Shawn & Ronalie Campbell

- land-owners have no rights

- high tech “glove” testing

- thermogenic gas in water well


Toronto Star

‘Nobody understands’ spills at Alberta oil sands operation

Emma Pullman and Martin Lukacs

- Cold Lake


Alberta government lays charges against pipeline company following Greenpeace report

- Plains Midstream


Youtube / UAlberta Fracking

Responsibility for the Land Conference: Conversations on Fracking in Alberta (21 mins)

Alison Bortolon and Carmelle Mohr,

University of Alberta


Youtube / gazzornenplat

Rex Murphy energy speech in Alberta, November 2013 (18 mins)

Rex Murphy gives kudos to Alberta’s oil industry


Youtube / Newculture

Fracked! Jessica Ernst vs. Encana (43 mins)

Jessica Ernst


Youtube / Douglas Clark

Jessica Ernst, The Consequences of Fracking (43 mins)

Jessica Ernst


Business Insider

The Canadian Oil Sand Mines Refused Us Access, So We Rented This Plane To See What They Were Up To

Robert Johnson


Financial Post

Majority of oil sands ownership and profits are foreign, says analysis

Mike De Souza


Financial Post

Alberta sues oil sands firms for $100M in royalty dispute

Trish Audette


CBC News

Nobel laureates ask Harper to stop oilsands

The Canadian Press


Youtube / ADW993

Fracking water in Alberta (Canada) (2 mins)

News story, Jessica Ernst



ERCB Unconventional Gas Regulatory Framework (ERCB Report 2011-A):

-          deep and shallow shales will be fracked

-          hydraulic fracturing can contaminate “useable water aquifers” with toxic chemicals and “is a recognized risk”




PetroChina takes C$1.9 billion stake in Canada oil sands

AO News - China



Rosebud, Alberta – water tower explodes due to accumulation of gases

(video source @19mins)



More Information:


Canada’s Oil Sands ( by Canada’s Oil and Natural Gas Producers


Brief Review of Threats to Canada’s Groundwater from the Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Migration and Hydraulic Fracturing by Ernst Environmental Services (June 2013)


Link to AWARE-Ontario Oil & Gas News


Return to Home Page


List of Ontario’s Issues


What Can I Do?



Disclaimer: This information has been compiled through private amateur research for the purpose of allowing the reader to make an informed and educated decision.  However, while the information is believed to be reliable, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.











The mega-quarry was proposed at 2,400 acres or 937 hectares. It was shocking to read that Shell's Jackpine oil sand mine has the federal gov't green light to expand from 7,500 hectares to 13,000 hectares (32,124 acres) or 130 km2.  Shell Canada is only one of 60 or so companies doing business in Alberta’s oil sands.



Metronews Comment by aiyana jane (april 2014)

In Alberta the licencing for Hydraulic Fracturing has increased by 647% between 2012 & 2013 ( ) Not so coincidentally, this increase in approvals comes after the Energy Resource Conservation Board is disbanded by the Responsible Energy Development Act - which establishes the Alberta Energy Regulator in its place.


The AER is a private corporation, entirely funded by industry, in charge of the regulation and environmental investigations in ALL aspects of oil and gas development in Alberta. ( ) BC politicians are considering a similar regulatory model. Interestingly enough, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the AER, Gerry Protti, is the former Vice President of Encana Corporation - which is the company focused on in Burning Water, and accused in the Court of QB in Ernst's multi-million dollar lawsuit of contaminating her well water.