History of the petroleum industry in Canada oil sands and heavy oil The exploitation of bituminous deposits and seeps dates back to Paleolithic times. Bitumen has been found adhering to stone tools used by Neanderthals at sites in Syria. After the arrival of Homo sapienshumans used bitumen for construction of buildings and waterproofing of reed boatsamong other uses.
History of the petroleum industry in Canada oil sands and heavy oil The Athabasca oil sands are named after the Athabasca River which cuts through the heart of the deposit, and traces of the heavy oil are readily observed on the river banks.
Historicallythe bitumen was used by the indigenous Cree and Dene Aboriginal peoples to waterproof their canoes. Early history[ edit ] Athabasca oil sands on the banks of the river, around The Athabasca oil sands first came to the attention of European fur traders in when Wa-pa-su, a Cree trader, brought a sample of bituminous sands to the Hudson's Bay Company post at York Factory on Hudson Bay where Henry Kelsey was the manager.
Sands corporationPeter Pondanother fur trader and a founder of the rival North West Companybecame the first European to see the Athabasca deposits after exploring the Methye Portage which allowed access to the rich fur resources of the Athabasca River system from the Hudson Bay watershed. The bitumen is in a fluid state and when mixed with gum, the resinous substance collected from the spruce fir, it serves to gum the Indians' canoes.
The first government-sponsored survey of the oil sands was initiated in by John Macounand inG. Hoffman of the Geological Survey of Canada tried separating the bitumen from oil sand with the use of water and reported that it separated readily.
InRobert Bellthe director of the Geological Survey of Canada, reported to a Senate Committee that "The evidence … points to the existence in the Athabasca and Mackenzie valleys of the most extensive petroleum field in America, if not the world.
Count Alfred von Hammerstein —who arrived in the region inpromoted the Athabaska oil sands for over forty years, taking photos with descriptive titles such as "Tar Sands and Flowing Asphaltum in the Athabasca District," that are now in Sands corporation National Library and National Archives Canada.
Following this journey and the publication of her book, she travelled extensively as lecturer, with magic lantern slides of her Kodak images, promoting immigration to western Canada at Oxford, Cambridge, St.
An earth-movement here has created a line of fault clearly visible for seventy or eighty miles along the river-bank, out of which oil oozes at frequent intervals. It oozes from every fissure, and into some bituminous tar well we can poke a twenty-foot pole and find no resistance.
Several attempts to implement it had varying degrees of success. A pioneer in the discovery and use of natural gas was Georg Naumann. He used natural gas as early as about Project Oilsand Project Oilsand, also known as Project Oilsands, was a proposal to exploit the Athabasca oil sands using the underground detonation of nuclear explosives ;  hypothetically, the heat and pressure created by an underground detonation would boil the bitumen deposits, reducing their viscosity to the point that standard oilfield techniques could be used.
The general means by which the plan was to work was discussed in the October Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issue. Natland believed that an underground blast was the most efficient way to generate the heat needed to liquefy the viscous bitumen so that it could be pumped to the surface by conventional wells.
The project was conceived of as part of Operation Plowsharea United States project to harness the nuclear explosions for peaceful applications.
However, some experts had doubts.
While social scientistBenjamin Sovacool contends that the main problem was that the produced oil and gas was radioactive, which caused consumers to reject it.
As a result of the easy accessibility, the world's first oil-sands mine was in the Athabasca oil sands. It was the first operational oil sands project in the world, owned and operated by the American parent company, Sun Oil Company. In McKenzie-Brown listed industrialist J. Howard Pew as one of the six visionaries who built the Athabasca oil sands.
In Sun Oil also divested its interest in the company, although Suncor maintained the Sunoco retail brand in Canada. Suncor took advantage of these two divestitures to become an independent, widely held public company. Suncor continued to grow and continued to produce more and more oil from its oil sands operations regardless of fluctuating market prices, and eventually became bigger than its former parent company.
InSuncor acquired the formerly Canadian government owned oil company, Petro-Canada  which turned Suncor into the largest petroleum company in Canada and one of the biggest Canadian companies. Suncor Energy is now a Canadian company completely unaffiliated with its former American parent company.
Sun Oil Company became known as Sunocobut later left the oil production and refining business, and has since become a retail gasoline distributor owned by Energy Transfer Partners of DallasTexas. In Canada, Suncor Energy converted all of its Sunoco stations which were all in Ontario to Petro-Canada sites in order to unify all of its downstream retail operations under the Petro-Canada banner and discontinue paying licensing fees for the Sunoco brand.
Nationwide, Petro-Canada's upstream product supplier and parent company is Suncor Energy. Suncor Energy continues to operate just one Sunoco retail site in Ontario.
Syncrude The true size of the Canadian oil sands deposits became known in the s. Oil sands production in the 21st century[ edit ] At the turn of the 21st century, oil sands development in Canada started to take off, with an expansion at the Suncor mine, a new mine and expansion at Syncrude, and a new mine by Royal Dutch Shell associated with their new Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton.
Three new large steam assisted gravity drainage SAGD projects were added — Foster Creek, Surmont, and MacKay River — by different companies, all of which have since been bought by larger companies. However, as a result of oil price increases sincethe existing mines have been greatly expanded and new ones are being planned.
According to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, production of crude bitumen in the Athabasca oil sands was as follows:Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is the pre-eminent developer and operator of world-class Integrated Resorts that feature luxury hotels; best-in-class gaming; retail; dining and entertainment; Meetings, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) facilities; and many other business and leisure amenities.
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