The Canadian oil sands development: Management of land, air and water resources
The Canadian oil sands -the third largest proven reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela- are located in Northern Alberta, Canada; these deposits of unconventional oil are an attractive investment for oil & gas developers and governments not only because of the size of the reserves but also the geopolitical stability of the region. Nevertheless, the development of the projects and current operations are facing opposition and struggling with a negative campaign around the world due in part to misinformation of the facts, lack of knowledge of the process throughout the projects life cycle, and years of stakeholder mismanagement. Indisputably, the development of the projects carries a series of impacts (environmental, social, economic, and health); developers and operators may dispute the intensity of the impacts but not the existence of them. The manuscript discusses the impacts on land, water and air resources based on indicators included in sustainability reports presented by oil sands developing and operating organizations. These reported statistics give a broader understanding of the current state of the Canadian oil sands and their development. The aim of the manuscript is to present these statistics four most common environmental impacts from oil sands development: greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and tailing ponds.
Keywords: sustainability, oil & gas, oil sands, energy consumption.