There are two way to recover oil. One, use open pit mining and two, Situ drilling method.
Open Pit Mining
In open pit mining about 25% lie close to the surface to be mined out. Open pit mining is similar to coal mining. The task is to put the tar sands into trucks and take the material to the crusher. Oil sands are then mixed with water and sent down the pipeline to the plant. Next, bitumen will be separated from the other components. Oil sands tailings consist of water, sand, light clay and oil are pumped out of the ponds. Learn more about Linear Engines and technology.
In Situ Drilling oil sand are deeper down around 200+ feet from the surface of the earth. By drilling wells to reach the oil so deep in the earth — Situ Drilling allows oil recovery through pumping heat into the wells to warm the bitumen so it can be pumped to the surface. Steam is used in the process to drain bitumen into another well. View the video below.