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Monday, November 16, 2009

alberta's energy beach.

I have always been fascinated by the debate over the proper name for the "bituminous sand" that spans across and beneath large tracks of Northern Alberta (I like to call them Alberta's Energy Beach). In an elongated public relations war, environmental groups have labelled them as 'tarsands,' while the energy sector and the Government of Alberta have remained strident in describing them as the more friendly-sounding 'oilsands.'

With the oilsands getting a rougher reputation on the international stage and the Copenhagen Conference around the corner, the residents of one of the larger beachfront cabins have coined a new term for their expensive piece of  real estate:

First they were tar sands. Then they were oil sands. Now? Enhanced oil projects. At least according to En-Cana Corp. and its oil-sands spinoff, Cenovus Energy

The pair want to distinguish their oil-sands operations, which employ the underground and more carbon-intensive steam-assisted gravity (SAGD) drainage method, from the more aesthetically offensive open-pit mining efforts that are accompanied by deadly tailings ponds. As a result, the two firms have ditched the term "oil sands" from their lexicon and replaced it with "enhanced oil projects" or just "oil projects."

9 comments:

Jeremy said...

Omg I actually know this stuff! Thank you ENPE 571!

You could call them...

bitumen pay zones...

bitumen with sand and water and top gas....

bitumen sprinkled with sand...

very viscous oil...

a little taste of heaven...

Ken Chapman said...

Polls show people don't care if it is called tarsands or oilsands. They care if it is developed responsibly with proper stewardship.

We are not there yet but Albertans as owners of the resource have to start making political noise and demanding that from the GOA and the industry tenants.

Anonymous said...

In case you didnt know Alberta's energy beach was discussed briefly on PBS last night on the News Hour

Libarbarian said...

When did "oil sands" or "tar sands" become "oilsands" or "tarsands"? It seems like these compound words were a Canwest newspaper invention. Canadian Oxford Dictionary has definitions for both oil sands and tar sands but oilsands and tarsands are not listed.

jwnresearcher said...

I don't really care if the oilsands have a better name or not.

We need them and we all use the products produced.

Until a viable long term alternative is found we are stuck with them, so call it whatever you like.

Besides the time spent on a name could be time spent finding ways to decrease the footprint of these projects

David Sands said...

Libarbarian, Canadian Press finally settled that long-running argument with a decision in Caps and Spelling a few years ago. In newsrooms, CP (generally) trumps Oxford.
Now, I beg you turn your attention to the subtle difference in tar sands and oil sands definitions in Oxford, and tell us what that's all about?
- David Sands, Government of Alberta

Anonymous said...

Is David Sands really paid to waste Albertans tax dollars trolling about on blogs, Twitter and other such cyber nonsense.

That seems shocking to me, but it appears to be the case. He is definitely a government employee, you can find him in their public listings, and he uses the GOA's new $25 million dollar logo whilst providing sarcastic nonsense on Twitter.

What the f Ed? Fire this pompous arse already and save us all the bucks.

I could see it if a legitimate effort at informed engagement was being made in these cyber media channels, but this guy is just out there badgering people. Not at all becoming of an official government position.

David Sands said...

But Anonymous, the definition is different, and Libarbarian might be the one who can enlighted this discussion, on that point. Not slightly interesting for you? Sorry!
- David Sands

Berry Farmer said...

Yes, but are you David Sands...

... or are you Davidsands?

This is the question we need answered.