The world’s main oil sands deposits are located in the province of Alberta, in western Canada. Spanning 140,000 km2, oil sands span three areas: Peace River, Cold Lake, and Athabasca, the largest area.
Deposits sufficiently close to the surface can be recovered using mining techniques, equal to 4,800 km2, or 3.3% of the three areas combined, and 0.05% of Canada’s surface area (9,984,670 km2).
The rest of the recoverable oil sands area can be extracted using production techniques called in situ, a more advanced recovery method derived from injecting steam and drilling wells underground.
Proved oil sands reserves are estimated at 170 billion barrels – the world’s second-largest oil reserves after those of Saudi Arabia.