Oil sands, tar sands, crude bitumen, or bituminous sands, are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. Oil sands are either loose sands or partially consolidated sandstone containing a naturally occurring mixture of sand, clay, and water, soaked with bitumen, a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum.
Significant bitumen deposits are reported in Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Venezuela. The estimated worldwide deposits of oil are more than 2 trillion barrels (320 billion cubic metres); Proven reserves of bitumen contain approximately 100 billion barrels, and total natural bitumen reserves are estimated at 249.67 Gbbl (39.694×10^9 m3) worldwide, of which 176.8 Gbbl (28.11×10^9 m3), or 70.8%, are in Alberta, Canada.Crude bitumen is a thick, sticky form of crude oil, and is so viscous that it will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons such as light crude oil or natural-gas condensate. At room temperature, it is much like cold molasses. The Orinoco Belt in Venezuela is sometimes described as oil sands, but these deposits are non-bituminous, falling instead into the category of heavy or extra-heavy oil due to their lower viscosity. Natural bitumen and extra-heavy oil differ in the degree by which they have been degraded from the original conventional oils by bacteria.
The 1973 and 1979 oil price increases, and the development of improved extraction technology enabled profitable extraction and processing of the oil sands. Together with other so-called unconventional oil extraction practices, oil sands are implicated in the unburnable carbon debate but also contribute to energy security and counteract the international price cartel OPEC. According to the Oil Climate Index, carbon emissions from oil-sand crude are 31% higher than from conventional oil. In Canada, oil sands production in general, and in-situ extraction, in particular, are the largest contributors to the increase in the nation's greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 to 2017, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

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