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How Big Are Canada’s Oil Sands?

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Infographic: How Big Are Canada's Oil Sands?

Infographic: How Big Are Canada’s Oil Sands?

There’s no shortage of discussion on Canada’s oil sands. Even Leonardo Dicaprio has recently toured them while subsequently providing commentary that ruffled the feathers of the province of Alberta.

All conversation aside, our team at Visual Capitalist was curious to see how big they actually were. In this infographic, we look at their overall size as well as what portions can be recovered by mining or “in situ” methods.

As a whole, the oil sands are about as big as the state of Florida. The mineable portion makes up about 3% of that total, which is for bitumen deposits less than 75 metres below ground. For perspective, this is about 6x the size of New York City. Meanwhile, the rest (about 97%) must be recovered by “in situ” methods such as SAGD where heavy oil is pumped to the surface.

Surely something with this size and scope must have a big impact in other places – and it does. The oil sands produce more than 56% of Canada’s oil and contains over 98% of Canada’s proven reserves. Over the next 25 years, $783 billion in royalties and taxes will be paid to the government.

This is not without significant costs, as greenhouse gas emission numbers are also staggering. Between 1990 and 2011, emissions from the oil sands have increased 267%. Now, Alberta produces 69 tonnes of GHG emissions per person. If it were a country, the province would have 3x the emissions as the USA or Canada per capita. Also, tailings ponds make up 176 sq. km of Northern Alberta, which is roughly the size of two Manhattans.


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Energy

Visualizing Saudi Aramco’s Massive Oil Reserves

Saudi Aramco controls almost 259 billion barrels worth of oil and gas reserves.

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Visualizing Saudi Aramco’s Massive Oil Reserves

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Saudi Aramco controls 259 billion barrels worth of oil and gas reserves, which is unmatched by any other company globally. This is a key factor in the company’s massive $1.8 trillion valuation.

To illustrate that, this chart compares the proved reserves of major oil companies as of 2022. Data was compiled by Statista from various company reports.

Crown Jewel

Saudi Aramco is the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. As of 2024, it is the sixth-largest company in the world by market capitalization.

Its oil reserves are over four times bigger than the reserves of all the other six companies on our list combined.

CompanyProved reserves (billion barrels of oil equivalent)
Saudi Aramco258.8
ExxonMobil17.7
Chevron11.2
Total Energies10.2
Shell9.6
BP7.2
Eni6.6

Behind Saudi Aramco, American company ExxonMobil comes in second with 17.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent, followed by another American company, Chevron, with 11.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Saudi Aramco produces 9 million barrels of oil a day, more than any other firm and nearly a tenth of the world’s total.

In addition, the state-run oil giant is the world’s most profitable company, generating $722 billion in profits between 2016 and 2023.

Saudi Aramco is also expected to play a big part in Saudi Arabia’s plans to diversify its economy and reduce oil dependence. Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman confirmed that the kingdom is in talks to sell a 1% stake in the state oil giant, which could help fund the country’s projects in clean energy and technology.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which ranks oil production by country.

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