08/17/2012 12:28 pm ET

When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster'

This is not conventional crude. It is so thick, sticky and full of sand that companies have to shoot steam deep underground to liquefy it or scrape it out of sprawling surface mines. These complex extraction techniques are expensive, and they also produce a lot more greenhouse gases than conventional oil wells. But high oil prices are finally making tar sands oil profitable.

Read more on NPR