The process of turning oil sand into crude oil begins with mining the resource. Because the oil sand in Syncrude’s leases is not deeply buried, surface mining is the most viable method of recovery.
First, muskeg and overburden are removed and set aside for reclamation activities. The exposed oil sand is then scooped into trucks and dumped into double-roll crushers to break up the big pieces.
Next, the oil sand is fed into a cyclofeeder where warm water and steam are added to create a slurry. This is then pumped by hydrotransport pipelines to extraction facilities. In the pipeline, the bitumen begins to separate from the sand and water.
Syncrude is home to some of the world’s largest trucks and shovels. Operators are at the controls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, mining oil sand at our Mildred Lake and Aurora sites.
A cyclofeeder combines warm water with oil sand to create a slurry, which is then sent via pipeline to extraction facilities for further processing.