Unconventional Oil

Definition of 'Unconventional Oil'


A type of petroleum that is produced or obtained through techniques other than traditional oil well extraction. Unconventional oil production is commonly seen as more costly than conventional oil and, in most cases, is much less efficient. However, the ever-increasing global demand for petroleum, combined with its shrinking supply, has more firms turning to unconventional oil.

Investopedia explains 'Unconventional Oil'


The primary sources of unconventional oils are heavy oils, oil sands, oil shale and tight sands. Companies aiming to extract oil from these unconventional sources are faced with the high costs and inefficiencies of current extraction technology. As well, extracting and refining oil from these sources has a negative environmental impact, which lessens the merit of unconventional oil.



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