Alberta Oil Sands

Energy, Industry and the Environment

Edited by

  • Kevin Percy, Wood Buffalo Environmental Association, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

At 170 billion barrels, Canada's Oil Sands are the third largest reserves of developable oil in the world. The Oil Sands now produce about 1.6 million barrels per day, with production expected to double by 2025 to about 3.7 million barrels per day. The Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in northeastern Alberta is the largest of the three oil sands deposits. Bitumen in the oil sands is recovered through one of two primary methods - mining and drilling. About 20 per cent of the reserves are close to the surface and can be mined using large shovels and trucks. Of concern are the effects of the industrial development on the environment. Both human-made and natural sources emit oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, trace elements and persistent organic compounds. Of additional concern are ground level ozone and greenhouse gases.

Because of the requirement on operators to comply with the air quality regulatory policies, and to address public concerns, the not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) has since 1997 been closely monitoring air quality in AOSR. In 2008, WBEA assembled a distinguished group of international scientists who have been conducting measurements and practical research on various aspects of air emissions and their potential effects on terrestrial receptors. This book is a synthesis of the concepts and results of those on-going studies. It contains 19 chapters ranging from a global perspective of energy production, measurement methodologies and behavior of various air pollutants during fossil fuel production in a boreal forest ecosystem, towards designing and deploying a multi-disciplinary, proactive, and long-term environmental monitoring system that will also meet regulatory expectations.

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Environmental scientists, ecologists, forest effects investigators, academic researchers and teachers, air quality regulators, policy administrators and industry managers


Book information

  • Published: October 2012
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-097760-7


"This volume contains papers presented at an eponymous international symposium held in conjunction with the 43rd International Air Pollution Workshop (May 2011), in Alberta, Canada. These papers, along with other included material, come from projects undertaken by the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA), which has, since 2008, undertaken intense study of environmental monitoring activities."--Reference & Research Book News, October 2013

Table of Contents

1. Energy Production: A Global Perspective, Raymond L. Orbach
2. Energy Developments in the Alberta Oil Sands, Greg Stringham
3.  Energy and Environment: Toward Achieving the Balance in Alberta , Mark Lowey
4. Air Quality in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Kevin E. Percy, Martin C. Hansen and Tom Dann
5. Development and Application of Statistical Approaches for Reducing Uncertainty in Ambient Air Quality Data, Miloslav Nosal, Allan H. Legge, Eric M. Nosal, and Martin C. Hansen
6. Co-Measurement of Volatile Organic and Sulphur Compounds in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region by dual detector Pneumatic Focusing Gas Chromatography (PFGC), Robert J. O’Brien, Kevin Percy and Allan Legge
7. Overview of Real-World Emission Characterization Methods, John G. Watson, Judy C. Chow, Xiaoliang Wang, Steven D. Kohl, Antony. L.W. Chen and Vicken Etyemezian
8. Measurement of Real-World Stack Emissions with a Dilution Sampling System, Xiaoliang Wang, John G. Watson, Judith C. Chow, Steven D. Kohl, Antony L.W. Chen and David A. Sodeman
9. Applying the Forest Health Approach to Monitoring a Boreal Ecosystem in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Kevin E. Percy, Douglas G. Maynard, and Allan H. Legge
10. Ecological Analogues for Bio-monitoring Industrial Sulfur Emissions in  the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Dennis R. Jaques and Allan H. Legge
11. Tracing Industrial Nitrogen and Sulfur Emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region using Stable Isotopes, Bernadette C. Proemse and Bernhard Mayer
12. Air Quality Modeling in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Mervyn J. E. Davies
13. WBEA Receptor Modeling Study in the Athabasca Oil Sands: An  Introduction, Sagar Krupa
14. Method for Extraction and Multi-element Analysis of the Epiphytic Lichen Hypogymnia physodes from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region Eric S. Edgerton, J. Mike Fort, Karsten Baumann, Joseph R. Graney, Mathew S. Landis, Shanti Berryman and Sagar Krupa
15. Coupling Lead Isotopes and Element Concentrations in Epiphytic Lichens  to Track Sources of Air Emissions in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Joseph R. Graney, Mathew S. Landis, and Sagar Krupa
16.  Mercury Concentration and Isotopic Composition of Epiphytic Tree Lichens in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Joel D. Blum, M.W. Johnson, James D. Gleason, Jason D. Demers, Mathew S. Landis and Sagar Krupa
17. Measurement of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Epiphytic Lichens for Receptor Modeling in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR):  a pilot study, William B. Studabaker, Sagar Krupa, R.K.M. Jayanty and James H. Raymer
18. Receptor Modeling of Epiphytic Lichens to Elucidate the Sources and Spatial Distribution of Inorganic Air Pollution in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region,      Mathew S. Landis, J. Patrick Pancras, Joseph R. Graney, Robert K. Stevens, Kevin E. Percy and Sagar Krupa
19. Concluding Remarks