Oil Sands Jobs In Canada

Published: 22/12/2009

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There are three deposits of oil sands in Alberta. The largest is near Fort McMurray but there are two more near Peace River and Cold Lake. Currently there are more than 20 active mining and oil sands projects in place in these three areas.

The Athabasca Oil Sands (also known colloquially as the Athabasca Tar Sands, although there is no actual tar) are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centered around the boomtown of Fort McMurray. Fort Mc Murray is the largest city in 'Athabasca oil sands country' which is in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. With the petroleum industry as prominent as it is locally, it should come as no surprise that the city's slogan is "We have the Energy!"

There's between 1.7 and 2.0 trillion barrels of "bitumen located in the Athabasca oil sands deposit. The Alberta government has estimated that 10% of this, or roughly 174 billion barrels, is recoverable. Many analysts believe the oil sands of Alberta holds over 300 billion barrels of oil reserves, much more than Saudi Arabia's 258 billion barrels.

Current oil sands production is about one million barrels of oil per day. By 2020, production is expected to grow to almost four million barrels per day. There is the potential for over 100 years of production.

CBS News recently ran a story called, "The Oil Sands Of Alberta: Where Black Gold And Riches Can Be Found In The Sand." The news story tells of how the oil industry is going 24/7, 365 days of the year digging up dirt and extracting a heavy, sticky oil substance for refinement.

In this area companies are paying people a premium to work in this remote area for heavy equipment operators, welders, pipefitters, many types of engineers, geologists, safety specialists, steel fabricators etc.

Many of the laborer positions are going to Canadians first but there are plenty of non-Canadians living and working in Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo. There is a need for those with engineering skills and education in the geosciences.

The forecast was, and continues to be, that 5,400 new oil sands-related positions will be required from 2003 to 2012 in the Wood Buffalo region of Alberta, and another 3,200 workers will be needed to replace employees lost due to retirement.