The New York Times reports that Suncor, a leading Canadian oil sands producer, will increase production in 2014.  The company anticipates using rail instead of pipeline to move oil to its refineries.

The Suncor website provides a detailed description of the oil sands process.


From their website:

Near Fort McMurray, Alta., Suncor recovers bitumen from oil sands through its mining and in situ operations. The bitumen from both operations is then upgraded to refinery-ready feedstock and diesel fuel.

The in situ process uses  horizontal wells to reach the oil sands ore. The top well injects steam to heat the reservoir, allowing the bitumen to flow to the lower well where it is collected and piped to upgrading facilities.  Graphic: