The first results of the analysis of bitumen and oil sands using the recently developed n.m.r. spingrouping technique are presented. The n.m.r. relaxation experiments were carried out on bitumen, and on natural and dried oil sands samples. The results indicate that the spin-grouping can resolve and quantify several components of the samples studied. The bitumen and bitumen fraction of the oil sands are resolved according to their spin-spin relaxation times into three major groups: solid-like (rigid), solid-like (mobile) and semi-liquid. The water in the oil sands exists in two different environments. Tentatively one environment is assigned to be the bridges between the sand grains, while the other is assigned to be the clay surface. One can conclude that with spin grouping of complex mixtures the decomposition (in which components are resolved according to their dynamic state) is possible. The accuracy of such resolution is of the order of a few per cent. © 1985.