A lot of it is mined, on the surface, and taken to processing plants. Some is obtained by drilling wells into which hot water or steam or solvents is injected to liquefy the petroleum, which can then flow up the well (or a companion well in a circuit).
It is an extensive process, a detailed explanation can be found here:
Tar sands are a mixture of clay, sand, water and bitumen; a thick, nearly solid form of crude oil. Due to its texture and composition, it must be first mined rather than pumped from tar sand deposits and requires more complicated methods of extraction and refining.
Mining techniques for tar sands are generally of the open pit/strip mining variety. Some deposits are too deep in the ground to be mined in this way, so other processes are used that pump hot steam into a deposit, forcing the bitumen to sublimate to the surface.
Once the tar sands are mined, they are sent to processing plants that separate the bitumen from the other solids and materials. This is done by adding hot water and agitating the mixture. The bitumen will rise to the surface during this process, much like cooking oil floats on water. From here, the bitumen can be skimmed off the top of the mixture. It is then sent off to another refinery to be processed into usable products like motor oil, gasoline, etc.
It takes about two tons of tar sands to produce one barrel of oil, with about 75% of the total butomen extracted from the load of tar sands.
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