Updated June 2021
Alberta has over 30 000 oil facilities and over 21 000 gas plants and gas facilities.
In 2020, this included
- 8 operating oil sands mines,
- 29 thermal in situ oil sands operations,
- 4 active bitumen upgraders,
- 5 refineries,
- 4 coal processing plants, and
- 9 producing coal mines.
Oil Sands Facilities
Table 8.9 shows the companies and project names of the eight operating oil sands mines in Alberta. Learn more in the crude bitumen section.
In Situ Schemes
Table 8.10 provides the companies and project names of in situ operations in Alberta.
Table 8.11 lists the average upgraded bitumen production in Alberta in 2020 by company.
There are 17 refineries in Canada, of which 5 are in Alberta. Together, these refineries have a refining capacity of 0.30 million cubic metres per day (106 m3/d) or 1.9 million barrels per day (106 bbl/d). The refining capacity in the United States is over 2.9 106 m3/d (18.4 106 bbl/d), as of September 1, 2020. The United States has the highest number of complex refineries in the world, meaning they are capable of processing heavy sour crudes.
Alberta’s oil reaches markets in Ontario and Quebec through Enbridge Inc.’s Mainline system. Western producers are limited to using rail to reach refineries in the Atlantic provinces, which is disadvantageous because rail is more expensive and our oil must compete with international imports shipped from overseas.
In 2020, Alberta’s refineries had a total oil processing capacity of 86.2 thousand (103) m3/d (542.4 103 bbl/d).
Together, these refineries processed
- 51.5 103 m3/d (0.32 106 bbl/d) of upgraded bitumen,
- 8.2 103 m3/d (0.05 106 bbl/d) of nonupgraded bitumen,
- 17.4 103 m3/d (0.11 106 bbl/d) of crude oil, and
- 3.6 103 m3/d (0.02 106 bbl/d) of pentanes plus.
Table 8.12 lists the throughput in 2020 for Alberta’s refineries.
Alberta’s refinery utilization was 94 per cent in 2020. The refinery utilization indicates how efficiently the refining complex is operating, so the higher the utilization rate, the higher the production of refined products.
Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids Processing Plants
- nearly 500 active gas processing plants,
- 13 fractionation plants (separating out a mix of natural gas liquids [NGLs] into its different components), and
- 8 straddle plants.
Figure 8.6 shows the development of Alberta’s NGLs, from the gas pools, to field plants then to fractionation or straddle plants, and finally to the markets.
LNG Canada’s Export Facility
LNG Canada began construction on its terminal in Kitimat, B.C. in 2019 to export liquified natural gas (LNG) overseas. The expected start date is 2025.
This will be the first terminal in western Canada to export LNG overseas and will enhance Alberta’s ability to access international markets. The first phase is expected to export up to 14 million tonnes per year (about 1.8 billion cubic feet per day), while the proposed second phase will double export capacity to a total of 28 million tonnes per year (about 3.7 billion cubic feet per day).
Fractionation and Straddle Plants
Tables 8.13 and 8.14 list the fractionation and straddle plants in Alberta, respectively, by area and operator.