The Oil Sands.

So, here’s why we… or rather why I haven’t been posting much, of late. As I mentioned, I went to the oil sands in northern Alberta (north of Fort McMurray, to be precise, which is officially part of the tundra and is almost on the same latitude as the southern tip of Alaska) and I gathered about twenty hours of tape. Not only was weeding through all of it a bit daunting, but the whole project of encompassing the oil sands into a collective nine minutes nearly ended my pulse. It’s one of the, if not THE, biggest construction projects in the world. Between the two processes of extracting the oil (or rather the bitumen) from the sand, the process of upgrading and refining it, the reasons anybody’s doing this in the first place, and the environmental impact… it’s a lot of ground to cover. In any case, I thought I’d post links to the results. (And even though it’s 2010 and I am now a blogger as well as a radio producer, I still don’t know how to make hyperlinks. So here’s the way we used to do it back in the day.)

And here is a link to a slide show that Marketplace generously featured on its website

Finally, here’s an extra bit of audio that didn’t make it into either story. In touring Shell Albian Sands (Shell’s mining operation which it co-owns with Chevron and Marathon), I got to talking with one of the truck operators about the gigantic dump trucks they use to ferry the oil-laden sand. These are the largest dump trucks in the world. CAT 797s.  They can carry 400 tons. And yet, Carrie, the truck operator, kept referring to them as “she” — the way that admirals refer to their ships. Anyhow, here’s part of our conversation. In the beginning, she’s talking about extractor shovels that scoop the sands into the trucks. (The biggest of their sort as well.)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Oil Sands.

  1. Katie Ball says:

    I love your work – it’s incredibly informative without being overwhelming, lyrical and descriptive, and with a reporting style that’s all your own. You’re an inspiration to other producers who aren’t completely normal so please keep fighting the good fight!

  2. Sean says:

    Thanks so much, Katie. So wonderful of you to say that.

  3. Junga says:

    That’s really shrwde! Good to see the logic set out so well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>