This is the largest of the oil sands projects under construction. It will produce 345,000 barrels of oil a day from an open-pit mining operation in northern Alberta.
The plant shown here will separate the oil from the sand, resulting in a heavy substance known as bitumen which must then be refined into crude oil. The mining, seen in the top right corner of the photo, has already begun.
Oil sands require massive amounts of water and energy to process. The industry says it's no different from what's needed to produce other heavy oils.
A spokesman for Imperial, which is 63% owned by Exxon, said the oil will be sent by pipeline to refineries in North America.
Source: Imperial, Wood Mackenzie Cost estimates for oil and gas projects are from the energy consultants Wood Mackenzie. They include possible future costs and other data which may not correspond to company esitmates.
By Steve Hargreaves @hargreavesCNN - Last updated August 27 2012 02:47 PM ET