Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Infographic: How Tar Sands Oil Gets Out of the Ground and Into a Pipeline

A new infographic shows how tar sands oil is produced.

Construction is currently underway on the Keystone XL pipeline, which will take heavy oil harvested from sand and tar pits in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The pipeline and the oil that will flow through it have drawn controversy for several reasons: it’s a carbon-intensive process to drill for the oil; if oil were to leak, it would be very difficult to clean up; and the company behind the pipeline has used eminent domain to route it through private land, against the wishes of some landowners. This week a Texas farmer lost her court case fighting the pipeline company’s claims of eminent domain.

But just how does this heavy oil get out of those sand pits and into the pipeline? NPR has put together a helpful infographic on how the tar sands oil gets produced.

You can see it in full after the jump:

Infographic by Alyson Hurt, Ayodha Ouditt and Andrew Prince / NPR

Source: Energy Information Administration, Government of Alberta/Alberta Energy

You can learn more about the Keystone XL pipeline at our topic page.


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