How It Works: Heavy Oil

Heavy Oil is an up and coming energy resource that is aggressively being sought out as the world's energy demand increases. As technology continues to improve, this once costly energy source is quickly becoming a more viable alternative. This section focuses solely on Heavy Oil, what it is, where it's found, and the technologies that make it acquisition possible.

China
China has one of the world's most voracious appetites for oil. Its rapidly growing demand is so strong, in fact, that it has pushed the country to develop all the limited oil resources it has available--even heavy oil reserves in hard-to-reach locations.
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Heavy Oil Articles

China:  Far East Measures In As Heavy Oil Hotspot
After spending considerable time investing in Canadian and Venezuelan heavy oil ventures, China is looking to its own oil fields as a next source of production. To date, heavy oil has been discovered in 70 oil fields throughout 12 basins. All of these sources have remained largely unexploited.
Heavy Oil:  Catching the Wild Beast
Getty's formula has worked for American oil enthusiasts, yet oil is becoming increasingly difficult to find -- let alone recover. Among other concerns, peak oil theories and geopolitical agitations in OPEC nations have left operators scrambling to find inexpensive, more efficient methods of recovering nonconventional hydrocarbons, like heavy oil, that will satisfy the world’s demand for petroleum into the next century.
Madagascar: Heavy Oil Promises a Bright Future for this Island Country
Soon, the world’s fourth-largest island may be known more for heavy oil than it is known for the ring-tailed lemur. Experts estimate that half of the island is covered by the heavy oil-rich sedimentary basins of Morondava, Majunga and Ambilobe.
Heavier Crude Feedstocks:  Gaining Respect
Long regarded as virtual pariahs among crude oil feedstocks, heavier slates of crude are increasingly proving their worth at oil processing facilities worldwide. Cheaper to buy but costlier to refine, heavy oils have often taken the proverbial back seat to more expensive but easier-to-process light- and medium-gravity crudes. Now, heavier crudes are getting their due.
Heating up the Job Market
Whether or not conventional oil has a "peak," the world’s heavy oil reserves have only just been tapped. In fact, some experts estimate that heavy oil represents more than half of the globe’s known reserves - and those are just the known resources. Many heavy oil deposits remain unexplored.
Heavy Oil Production
Because heavy oil is so viscous, conventional methods, such as vertical wells, pumps, and pressure maintenance, are inefficient at extracting the oil. So, new technologies are being used to recover heavy oil including: cold heavy oil production with sand (CHOPS), vapor extraction (VAPEX), and thermal in situ methods.
Husky Steams Ahead with Tucker Project
Husky Energy, a fixture in Canada’s oil and gas industry for 60 yrs with extensive experience in heavy oil production, recently completed construction of its first-ever oil sands project.
Heavy Oil
Heavy oil is thick crude oil that is viscous and has a low API gravity, making it difficult to produce using conventional methods.
Why Heavy Oil
Because the challenging, yet almost entirely untapped, deposits of heavy oil hold some of the largest reserves of hydrocarbons in the world. According to Bill Bush of the API, "Heavy oils, oil sands, and potentially shale, could contribute substantially to future U.S. and world oil supplies."
Russia
For decades, Russia has been a major player on the global energy scene. At times, the vast country has even bested Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer. Throughout history, the country has relied on its largely mature supply of conventional oil.
Alberta
Used in previous centuries for various tasks, the bitumen found in Alberta's Athabasca Oil Sands may serve another purpose: securing Canada's role as an important oil producer with nearly 500 billion barrels of potential oil.
Venezuela
Home to the world's largest single accumulation of heavy and extra-heavy oil, Venezuela boasts an estimated 1.2 trillion barrels of oil in place. Approximately 270 billion of those barrels could be recovered and produced from the Orinoco Heavy Oil Belt.
Brazil
Brazil is set to achieve energy self-sufficiency this year, thanks in large part to its production of heavy oil. Most of its crude oil production is offshore in the Campos, Espírito Santo, and Santos basins in deep and ultra-deep waters.
Where is Heavy Oil
Heavy oils are found around the world, with an estimated 69 percent of the world's technically recoverable heavy oil and 82 percent of the technically recoverable natural bitumen located in the Western Hemisphere.
 
Heavy Oil Stats
Heavy Oil Reserves by Region
  Heavy Oil Bitumen
North America 35.3 530.9
South America 265.7 0.1
Africa 7.2 43
Middle East 78.2 0.0
Asia 29.6 42.8
Russia 13.4 33.7
Western Hemi 301 531
Eastern Hemi 128.4 119.5
Worldwide 429.4 650.5
source: U.S. Geological Survey
Heavy Oil Releated Job Opportunities
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Recent Headlines on Heavy Oil