In 1967 the first commercially viable extraction from the Athabasca oil sands began. The Athabasca oil sands are said to contain 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen, a viscous substance which can be refined into conventional oil.
Canada starting exploring tar sands several decades ago, but they haven’t become a profitable source of oil until recently because of advances in technology. Canada is now considered the fifth-largest oil-producing nation, extracting 1.5 million barrels of oil per day in 2010. The US imports a large percentage of it’s crude oil from Canada’s tar sands in addition to importing from other nations like Saudi Arabia.
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