Unconventional oil refers to hydrocarbons that are obtained through techniques other than traditional vertical well extraction. Unconventional oil may simply refer to tight oil where the sediments holding the oil must be hydraulically fractured to free the oil. The oil extracted in this case is no different than the oil from a reservoir that is tapped by a vertical well. On the other end of the spectrum, there heavy types of unconventional oil. Not only do these hydrocarbons require special extraction, but they will need additional processing and refining to extract traditional petroleum products from them. Sources of this type of unconventional oil include oil sands, oil shale, shale oil, tight oil, and heavy and extra-heavy oil.
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