Future trends in bitumen production and hydrocarbon upgrading

It is forecast that bitumen production from Alberta's oil sands will reach over three million barrels per day by 2020.

  • Bitumen and the by-products of bitumen upgrading processes are critical feedstocks for production of refined petroleum products, petrochemicals, and fertilizers in Alberta.
  • The Government of Alberta's value-added strategy envisions the development of a world-class hydrocarbon processing hub that optimizes the value of our energy resources in the province through the adoption of new technologies and integration opportunities.

Invest in integration - Eco-industrial complex

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region is an area that covers 582 square kilometres northeast of Edmonton. It is home to Canada’s largest concentration of petroleum refining, petrochemical, and chemical processors. This area represents a huge potential for investment. It can be used as a base for further expansion and integration which will produce competitively priced petrochemical products for global markets.

Eco-industrial integration with upgraders and petrochemical plants can generate substantial cost savings, and create greater efficiencies, new business opportunities, and higher valued products for sale to downstream markets.

Synergies exist in an integrated facility, allowing for waste streams to be used as feedstock for plants within the complex. This leads to greater environmental benefits, such as lower total emission levels and less water demand.

Market Information

  • Heavy Oil and Oil Sands Guidebook: An online guidebook, Alberta's Heavy Oil and Oil Sands, highlights Alberta's experiences in heavy oil and oil sands development. The guidebook also includes the first consolidated and comprehensive directory of heavy oil and oil sands companies, including producers, service and supply companies, industry associations, academic institutions and research organizations.
  • The National Buyer Seller Forum: The annual National Buyer/Seller Forum is a joint government/industry supply chain development initiative. Energy producers, manufacturers and suppliers from across Canada and the globe meet at the forum to generate new business and share best practices.
  • The Alberta Energy Regulator produces Supply/Demand Outlook: This annual report outlines the current status of Alberta's various energy reserves, and provides supply and demand forecasts for Alberta's energy resources.


The Exporting your products section of the website has information about exporting opportunities for Alberta Businesses. To learn more about these opportunities, browse the International market profiles.