I need to update this site more frequently! I have a new paper out with my collaborators Andrea Orellana Abreu, Joule Bergerson and Heather MacLean in Environmental Science and Technology entitled “Statistically Enhanced Model of In Situ Oil Sands Extraction Operations: An Evaluation of Variability in Greenhouse Gas Emissions”. Joule and I worked on the Bakken LCA back in 2016. Both she and Heather are wonderful collaborators and I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with them both.
The paper itself addresses the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with oil sands production (although not the refining of the crude oil or the combustion of fuels or chemicals manufactured from the oil). Specifically, it addresses in situ oil sands extraction, i.e. the extraction technologies that are used to extract the crude oil via oil wells. Extraction of oil sands technologies via mining is not addressed in this paper.
If you’d like to learn more about oil sands, I recommend the following site. The Wiki (as of March 1st, 2018 when I wrote this) is pretty good too. The sands constitute one of the world’s largest petroleum reserves, but the oil (or bitumen, as it’s called) is very thick, which makes its extraction different than many other crude oils. Technologies used to extract oil sands are also used to extract “heavy” oil in California and Venezuela.
Although unrelated to my paper, this Lego build is the type of excavator used to mine the oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Absolutely amazing work!