Fact Checking Euractiv - False Information on the Oil Sands

For the last few weeks we have been attempting to get a publication to check their facts. We will now post our correspondence that has been ignored multiple times.

Hello Samuel,
I wanted to bring to your attention many inaccurate and misleading claims.

I am not sure if you are aware, as eruactiv simply re-posted that article, but there are some serious factual errors.
Here is a list of what I encountered:


FALSE claim #1 (unsourced): “Oil extracted from tar sands is far more polluting than conventional hydrocarbons,” 

FACT: According to IHS CERA reports, oil sands crude is only around six per cent more GHG intensive than the U.S. crude supply average on a wells-to-wheels basis and improving continually as extraction methods become more efficient and technology advances. It has also been shown that at least six other countries plus oil fields in California produce oil with higher upstream emissions.


FALSE claim # 2 (unsourced): “Tar sands oil is the most polluting of all the fossil fuels.” 

FACT: The oil sands industry currently accounts for approximately 9.3 per cent of Canada's total GHG emissions and about 0.13 per cent of global GHG emissions amounting to approximately 68 megatons in 2016 according to Environment Canada's most recent numbers. Compare that to the GHG emissions from U.S. coal alone, for example at 124 megatons (EIA numbers) to illuminate the falsity of this unsourced claim.


FALSE claims # 3 and 4 (unsourced): “The mixture, deposited at the earth’s surface.” 

FACTS: The vast majority of oilsands deposits are deep underground and have to be extracted with steam injection well technology, they are not at the “earth’s surface.” The surface mineable area, according to the Government of Alberta, equals to about 4,800 km2 (an area about twice the size of Luxembourg) and accounts for about 3.4 per cent of the total oil sands area. Any area that is surface mined, must have an approved remediation plan, some of which have already been successfully implemented. To date, in 50 years of development less than 1% of the surface area of the oilsands land area has been mined. 


FALSE claim #4 (unsourced) the “The mixture… is 100 times more viscous”. 

FACT: This claim is utterly out of context, as it could only refer to the raw bitumen that is a mix of sand, clay, water and soil that comes from the mined oilsands. All of this material is processed on site into crude oil products such as diluted bitumen or synthetic crude (syncrude), which is very similar in viscosity to other processed crude oils and is what is sent to refineries as feedstock. No European refinery would be processing raw bitumen, that is simply not how refineries work.

I would really appreciate it if you could either amend, or remove the article. As it is quite deceptive, and may give people the wrong impression of what the facts are. If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask.