$2 billion oil upgrading plant planned for Strathcona County

Province supporting the project through a $440-million loan guarantee

Mario ToneguzziThe Alberta government is supporting a proposed $2-billion oil upgrading facility project in the Alberta Industrial Heartland just east of Edmonton.

Calgary-based Value Creation Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Value Chain Solutions Inc. said the facility would create more than 2,000 construction jobs and another 200 full-time positions once it is in operation.

The province said it would support the project through a $440-million loan guarantee, subject to reaching a final agreement.

In a news release, the government said construction of the Strathcona County-based project is already underway, with some foundational infrastructure in place and design work nearly completed. The plant is expected to be operational in 2022.

“VCI’s leading-edge facility will upgrade diluted oil sands bitumen into a higher-value crude blend that can flow easier through pipelines. This provides significant cost savings to industry because it would reduce the need for diluent, while increasing pipeline capacity by up to 30 per cent, and providing access to more refineries around the world that cannot currently accept Alberta’s oil sands bitumen,” said the Alberta government.

“The partial upgrading technology is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 16 per cent per barrel compared to current processes used to extract bitumen.

“Once completed, this would be the first commercial-scale partial upgrader in the world using this new technology, which VCI has been developing over several years.”

The government said the first phase of the facility will use 77,500 barrels-per-day (bpd) of diluted bitumen to produce a medium synthetic crude oil and an ultra low sulphur diesel, which is a cleaner-burning transportation fuel used here and around the world. The project is expected to generate about $2.5 billion in revenue to the province over the 30-year life of the project. Strathcona County is expected to receive about $280 million in municipal tax revenue over the life of the project.

“We’re taking the bull by the horns and fighting to get full value for our oil. Albertans have been talking about this for decades, and we’re not content to sit on the sidelines and let good jobs and investment pass Alberta by for places like Louisiana. That has happened for too long and it has got to stop. We’re making sure the next generation of Albertans have the opportunities they deserve in a stronger, more resilient, more diversified province,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

oil upgrading plant

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