What Goes Into (And Comes Out of) A Barrel Of Tar Sands Oil


Image: Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy

As the Gulf disaster continues to unfold, people are looking at alternatives. Canada's Minister of the environment has been pitching the Alberta oil sands as a greener, safer alternative, but as Jeff Rubin said, "You know you are at the bottom of the ninth when you are schlepping a tonne of sand to get a barrel of oil."

But it is worse than that; in his book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent, Andrew Nikiforuk lists what really goes into and comes out of a barrel of Alberta oil:
what goes in:
3 barrels of water
2 tons of sand
1400 cubic feet of natural gas

what comes out:
1.3 barrels of fine tailings toxic waste
4 pounds of sulfur dioxide
187 pounds of carbon dioxide (before the fuel is even burned)

More in Tar Sands
More on Andrew Nikiforuk in TreeHugger:
Society of Environmental Journalists Announces 2008-2009 Award Winners
Canadian Tar Sands: a Hydrocarbon Hurricane
Book Review: Stupid to the Last Drop
Report on Business Reports on Water

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