Best Alberta Oil Sands Land Reclamation Photos of 2020
With the third-largest reserve in the world, the province of Alberta contains an estimated 173 billion barrels of accessible crude oil, buried under the Boreal forest. Alberta is in a fortunate position to be the managers of so much of the world’s riches.
Extracting the bitumen from deep underground the Boreal forest has brought valuable resources to Canadians in the form of jobs, government royalties, taxes and transfer payments.
However, there is a cost to pay for those riches and the cost is what the extraction process does to the land. In the past several years Alberta oil producers along with the provincial and federal government have done an excellent job of ensuring the land is repaid for the resources it takes. This repayment process is called Land Reclamation.
Great advances have been made in the reclamation of the Boreal forest. Many are not aware that the mineable area is 0.2% of Canada’s boreal forest and that 100% of mined land now must be reclaimed. Oil sands development is subject to environmental standards that are among the most stringent in the world. The Government of Alberta requires that companies remediate and reclaim 100% of the land after the bitumen has been extracted.
For new Oil Sand development, and long before the landscape is touched, comprehensive assessments identify potential environmental impacts, such as those affecting land, air, water and biodiversity must be completed. Oil Sands companies must file a Conservation and Reclamation Plan as part of their initial project application, keep it current, and post financial security bonds for reclamation. Then during the life of the project steps are taken to minimize any negative effects.
It has been made very clear, reclamation means that land is returned to a self-sustaining ecosystem with local vegetation and wildlife.
Below are several current pictures of reclaimed Oil Sands lands, as well as reclamation in the process by various energy companies in Alberta.
Fun fact: The indigenous Cree people first brought bitumen to fur traders in the 1700s, when it was used to waterproof canoes, and it wasn’t until 1967 that scientific advances and the need for fuel led to the opening of the Great Canadian Oil Sands project, now known as Suncor Oil.
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