Saturday, March 2, 2024

Extracted Oil from the Sand

Archival sources indicate that humanity began extracting oil as early as the 5th century. However, the volumes of extraction were far from what we are used to seeing in the 21st century. According to legends, the pioneers of the “black gold” theme were the people of Mesopotamia. It is not surprising that at a depth of several kilometers, those people could not physically reach the oil. Still, the first petroleum products at that time were bitumen and asphalt, which were considered products of oil weathering. Centuries have passed, and this industry has undergone many transformations. For more information, please visit the website edmonton-future.

Everybody knows there is a place near the city of Edmonton that is rich in deposits of oil sands. Bituminous or oil sands were first refined in three Alberta fields in the 18th century: Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake. It was only a matter of time before oil production was possible here, and now that time has come.

However, before meeting with the scientist, a brief overview of the topic that became the calling of the heart and soul of the hero of our story would not come amiss.

Oil or bituminous sands

Sand that contains conventional oil. Besides Canada, other countries such as Venezuela, Kazakhstan, and Russia are generously gifted with sand reserves. 

In the 21st century, these deposits were estimated to be 320 billion cubic meters of sand deposits. Canada confidently holds leadership in this field. At the same time, there were over 600 deposits around the world where oil or bituminous sand is extracted.

Karl Clark

In 1888, a boy named Karl was born in the capital of Guyana, Georgetown. He was destined for a special place in science. Although this man is not a native of our land, he did a lot of good for Edmonton, and there is further confirmation of this.

After completing his university studies at McMaster, he obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Illinois at the age of 27 years. At the same time, he started working for the Geological Survey of Canada and realized that he was interested in oil sands.

At the age of 32 years, he came to Edmonton to become a student at the University of Alberta. Together with the Research Council, they began experiments on separating bitumen from oil sands, which are abundant in northeastern Alberta.

Interestingly, Carl Adolph Clark assembled the prototype of the plant for processing the oil sands in the basement of the University of Alberta. But over time, a full-fledged plant was already operating on the outskirts of our city. At the age of 42 years, the process of separating bitumen from the sand was officially patented by the Alberta Research Council.

It didn’t take long for the number of such plants to increase, and soon such processes began to take place in Bitumount, Waterways, and on the outskirts of Fort McMurray.

Although Karl had to resign from the department and the University of Alberta in 1954, he continued to work in the oil and sand extraction field.

From 1953 to 1979, there was a heavy crude oil company called Great Canadian Oil Sands on the oil map of Canada, with which our compatriot signed a contract in 1958. After the disappearance of this company, the contract passed into the hands of the Suncor company, based in Calgary, Alberta. It entered the TOP-50 largest oil companies in the world.

Until 1963, he continued to work on the outskirts of Edmonton and implement new technologies as long as his health allowed. But one day, trouble knocked on Karl’s doorstep, and fate brought the scientist a verdict where “oncology” was written on the paper.

On December 7, 1966, at the age of 78, the scientist passed away, leaving behind a significant mark in the form of his children and achievements, which are still used all over the world.

Karl A. Clark spent only an intermediate stage of his life next to Edmonton. Still, at one point, Edmonton became the place where the scientist walked to and from work every day. All of this is for the global community to continue to use the contributions of a person who spent most part of his life in Edmonton.

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