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Thick and sticky, like blackstrap molasses. Alberta has enormous reserves of oil sands. In fact, the province has more than is currently economically possible to extract. Alberta's three major oil sands deposits are in the Fort McMurray, Cold Lake and Peace River areas. In 1999, oil sands and heavy oil accounted for near one-half of Canada's total oil production.

As Alberta's crude oil reserves diminish, research has begun to focus around finding an economical way to develop these resources. It is estimated that further into the 21st century, the oil sands may provide as much as 90 percent of Canada's oil production.