Oil Sand

Definition - What does Oil Sand mean?

Oil Sand is the formation or the reservoir that contains crude oil. It is at times referred to as a reservoir rock that contains oil. Oil sand is also known as tar sand or more technically bituminous sands. The oil produced from oil sand is known as unconventional crude oil or crude bitumen. Unconventional crude oil or crude bitumen is generally used to distinguish the crude oil produced from conventional reservoirs (traditional oil wells) and unconventional oil reservoirs such as oil sand, tight sands, shale oil, coal bed methane, etc.

Petropedia explains Oil Sand

The crude oil produced from Oil Sand is considered as unconventional crude oil which is also called crude bitumen. The reason for calling it crude bitumen is because the oil sand consists of naturally occurring sand, clay, water which is saturated with extremely dense and viscous form of hydrocarbon (mainly oil) just similar to the bitumen which is the by-product or the residual oil obtained from refineries after processing conventional crude oil. Bitumen is a dark black, very heavy, viscous substance containing lots of impurities (large amount of sulfur) and is used in road construction. The crude oil produced from oil sand is similar to bitumen and thus is an extra heavy and sour category of crude oil that has API gravity of less than 10 degrees.

The natural bitumen deposits are present in many countries, however, the majority of the large oil sand deposits are found in Canada, Russia and Kazakhstan. Other countries include USA and Venezuela.

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