Advanced Hydrocarbons

Partial Upgrading

The Partial Upgrading program advances technologies, for commercial use, that enhance the quality, value and market access of bitumen.

The program will support a sustainable energy economy in Alberta, improving the value of bitumen resources and reducing environmental footprint and GHG emissions of bitumen upgrading. This program will improve the market access and quality of bitumen to capture billions of potential revenue for Alberta.


Knowledge Gaps for Bitumen Partial Upgrading Technology by Murray Gray, PhD

The development of technology for partial upgrading of bitumen (PUB) is a high priority for the Province of Alberta. The report of the Energy Diversification Advisory Committee to the Alberta Minister of Energy recommended investment in partial upgrading of bitumen as one of the best opportunities for diversifying the energy sector in Alberta1. The Alberta Partial Upgrading Program was then announced with the objective of commercializing PUB technology in the province, with full scale plants coming into operation by 2026.

Read the complete report.

Program Objectives

The goal of the program is to have 20 per cent of new in situ production partially upgraded to improve quality by 2030, reducing the diluent requirement for transportation, improving access to new markets.

Short/Medium Term: 2014-18

  • Initiate up to four research projects and progress two promising technologies to proof of concept level in partnership with industry by 2016.
  • Advance up to 4 technologies to the bench scale (TRL 4) testing level with industry partners by 2017.

Longer Term: 2019-2022

  • Demonstration scale field piloting collaboration with industry at TRL 6+ by 2020.
  • Completed FEED study for commercial scale partial upgrading facilities by 2022.

Program Contact Information

Name: Shunlan Liu
Title: Director, Upgrading
Phone: 587-779-2915