Identifying Bitumen in Oil Sands

Oil sands are typically mixtures of sand, clay, water, and bitumen. They represent a viable source of heavy oil that does not flow unless treated. Oil sands mining requires a way to estimate total bitumen content (TBC) both to gauge the economic viability of a discovery and to prepare for economically viable treatment typically through heated water and process additives to separate the bitumen. Deposits are not homogenous but include variability in clay, bitumen and fines that impact recovery. The major known oil sands deposits are in the Athabasca region of Western Canada,Venezuela, Kazakhstan, and Russia.