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Canadas Oil Sands Essay

2472 words - 10 pages

Introduction
The statement ‘Canada oil sands are much more of a blessing rather than a curse’ is not true because the disadvantages of oil sands outweigh the advantages. For this reason, this paper aims at indicating points against the statement. To understand the defects of oil sand exploration in Canada, one has to delve into the explanation of what oil sands are as well as how the entire process of mining and refining and thereafter, determine the disadvantages based on socioeconomic factors, environmental factors, as well as the infrastructure and energy required for its production.
Oil sands are unconventional petroleum deposits that consist of loose sand and partially consolidated sand stone that contains natural mixtures of natural clay, sand and water which is saturated with a highly viscous form of petroleum that flows extremely slowly known as bitumen (Yunchez, 2012).
Concisely, to mine the oil sands, all the wetlands have to be drained and the rivers diverted. Then all trees and any form of vegetation and soil are required to be scraped away to expose the oil sands. Then steam shovels into dump trucks that haul the sand to an extraction plant scoop the sand. This sand is then processed at high temperatures using large amounts of water and chemicals, to extract the extremely viscous tar (Smith, 2009). In general, the processes relating to refining, extracting, and processing oil sands have social, economic, and environmental effects that are undesirable as discussed here.
Socio economic Effects
The oil sands in Canada have been proven to have adverse economic effects to the people of Canada and Alberta. It is the most unsympathetic economic activity killing birds, insects, and other creatures. This is because mining, refining, and processing oil sands produces emissions of greenhouse gases destroys land, and causes global warming. Additionally, the high rate of emission of greenhouse gases is killing many people who work in the mines by increasing cancer rates. Even those living in the surrounding communities are always affected. Simultaneously, the high number of people employed usually work under unfavorable and risky conditions.
Levi (2009) states that, the oil sand in Canada could adversely influence the growth of not only Canada but U.S.A as well. He states that since the oil sand deposits can be depleted any time, then this availability would greatly reduce the amount of oil in both Canada as well as the surrounding countries. He also states that the dependence of America on the stability on the Middle East for its oil supply could lead to economic crisis in case the reserves get depleted reducing the amount of revenue available for use in the countries. The oil sands production could also lead to the regulation of oil prices, as it is able to meet the demand of the oil levels required thus reducing or depletion of reserves could result in instability of prices.
The other adverse effect of the Canadian oil sands is that...

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