Top Of Oil Tank At Tar Sands Refinery

Fort McMurray, Canada

The first step in the oil sands bitumen refining process after extraction from the ground is “upgrading,” in which particulate matter is separated from the bitumen and its viscosity thinned so that refineries can process it. This is a photograph of the top of a rusting petroleum tank, with a walkway out to the covered inspection hatch in the center. The rust on this oil tank does not diminish its function: storing 400,000 to 500,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil, obtained by excavating large areas of Alberta tar sands.