Newfound Threat to Oilsand Projects
By Andrew Nikiforuk
From thetyee.ca |Published 28 Jul 2014
A new study suggests that naturally occurring upward flow of groundwater in the oilsands region is creating fractures and weaknesses that may explain a series of catastrophic events for the controversial mining industry.
The findings, first published in a PhD thesis last year and soon to appear in a paper for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, have significant implications for worker safety, groundwater protection, the security of massive industrial wastewater disposal in the region as well as the economics and placement of more than 100 steam plants and mines.
Half of all bitumen now produced from the oilsands relies on a form of oil production that injects highly pressurized steam into deep deposits of cold bitumen.