Rhenium-osmium (Re-Os) data from migrated hydrocarbons establish the timing of petroleum emplacement for the giant oil sand deposits of Alberta, Canada, at 112 +/- 5.3 million years ago. This date does not support models that invoke oil generation and migration for these deposits in the Late Cretaceous. Most Re-Os data from a variety of deposits within the giant hydrocarbon system show similar characteristics, supporting the notion of a single source for these hydrocarbons. The Re-Os data disqualify Cretaceous rocks as the primary hydrocarbon source but suggest an origin from older source rocks. This approach should be applicable to dating oil deposits worldwide.