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The first refinery in 30 years

October 06, 2013

There have been no major refineries built in Canada in 30 years. After 8 years of planning the Alberta Government is spearheading the Sturgeon refinery to be built near Edmonton. It will process 50,000 barrels of bitumen per day starting in 2016, eventually processing 150,000 barrels of bitumen into diesel fuel.

The Sturgeon Refinery, to be built in three stages of 50,000 barrels each, will include the use of newer and cleaner refining processes, as well as an integrated carbon capture and storage capability created by Enhance Energy. Once the first two phases are complete up to 75,000 barrels per day of bitumen would be supplied by the province for refining. The refined products, primarily diesel fuel, will then be sold to meet domestic and export market demand. The Sturgeon refinery will add significant value to Alberta’s bitumen resources in a responsible and sustained manner, generating high margins on raw bitumen by incorporating a one-step upgrading and refining process to ultralow-sulphur diesel, while managing carbon dioxide emissions through a fully integrated carbon-capture and storage infrastructure that will capture, transport and use CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at previously depleted oil fields.

The Sturgeon refinery project is estimated to cost $5.7 B and will employ up to 8,000 people during construction.The Partnership currently has a team of over 1,000 people working on the project. The first phase is expected to take approximately three years to build, with above ground construction starting in spring 2013. Phases 2 and 3 will then be considered after assessing the success of Phase 1.

The bitumen will be supplied to the refinery by Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) from operations near Ft.McMurray.


The demand for diesel fuel may be tempered with low natural gas prices. The project is yet another market for Alberta’s burgeoning bitumen production.