About the industry
Alberta has one of the largest refining and petrochemical industries in Canada, characterized by modern, world-scale plants, efficient transportation systems, and access to the third largest crude oil reserve in the world and significant natural gas reserves. There is enormous potential for investors who are interested in tapping into Alberta's vast energy resources to produce refined petroleum products and petrochemicals.
The petrochemical industry has invested over $10 billion in Alberta since the 1990s substantially increasing production capacity for ethylene, polyethylene, ethylene glycol and linear alpha olefins. Additional investments are underway that provide alternate feedstock supply to the industry through the capture of upgrading and refinery off-gases to extract the rich NGLs for petrochemical development.
Alberta's Petrochemical Play: Catalyst for Growth
Watch this video highlighting the business advantages for petrochemical invest in Alberta, or download the Alberta Petrochemical Play video from Vimeo.
- Revenues for this sector totaled $36 billion in 2014.
- Alberta produces 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil of which about 75% is raw bitumen from oil sands.
- Five operating upgraders in Alberta have the capacity to handle 1.2 million bpd of bitumen.
- Four operating refineries in Alberta have a combined crude processing capacity of over 450,000 bpd.
- Alberta is Canada’s leading producer of petrochemicals. Most petrochemical production occurs in Joffre and Fort Saskatchewan , which has four ethane-cracking plants, including two of the world’s largest, a combined annual capacity to produce 8.6 billion pounds of ethylene.
- Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, a 582 km region northeast of Edmonton, is home to Canada’s largest concentration of petroleum refining, petrochemical, and chemical processors.
- Western Canadian (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon/Northwest Territory) refined products’ supply and demand is disconnected from the rest of North America. Alberta supplies gasoline and diesel to meet its own provincial demand and provides shipments westward via the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline to British Columbia, and eastward to Saskatchewan and Manitoba through the Enbridge pipeline system. As a result, Alberta refiners are insulated from exposure to the level of competition that exists in major refined products supply hubs, such as the U.S. Gulf Coast.
For more on Alberta's biochemicals, see:
Fuels, chemicals and materials derived from biological materials are called biochemicals. Alberta companies are exploring opportunities to make the biochemicals sector more competitive.
Bio-Based Chemical Import Replacement Initiative
This report looks at the potential for upgrading bioresources to useful chemicals by providing background market information on the industry, examining chemicals of interest for bio-production, and presenting the potential opportunities for biochemicals development in Alberta.
Industry sector profile
Read a comprehensive profile on Alberta's refining, petrochemicals and biochemicals industry.
Oil Sands Quarterly Report
Get the latest information on activities in Alberta's oil sands.
Date Updated: Thu, 04 Jun 2015 09:28:45