Report on partial bitumen upgrading delivers key market insights

May 11, 2018

Calgary, Alberta, Canada – A report commissioned by Alberta Innovates on behalf of the National Partial Upgrading Program (NPUP) is providing market access intelligence linked to the province’s push for the development of partial upgrading facilities.

Alberta Innovates has a goal of 20 per cent of all in situ production to be partially upgraded by 2030. The Partial Upgrading Whitepaper delivers market access intelligence for technology to process and transport bitumen and heavy oil in the cleanest and most efficient manner possible. – Dr. John Zhou, Vice President Clean Energy, Alberta Innovates.

Authored by Jacobs Consultancy, the Partial Upgrading Whitepaper provides stakeholders with a variety of information, from the scope of the market and the state of technology readiness, to the chemistry of bitumen and bitumen upgrading that govern technology choices and promising partial upgrading technologies. This information is especially relevant, given an announcement by the province to invest $1 billion in partial upgrading that will stimulate the development of new facilities and create thousands of jobs in Alberta.

The report demonstrates that partially upgraded products have greater value and are more competitive in global markets. They also have lower greenhouse gas (GHG) intensities during refinery processing. Partially upgrading these products in Alberta allows for greater volumes to be produced and transported to market in a fixed pipeline capacity.

Alberta has been leading technological advancements related to the partial upgrading of bitumen since 2008. Our vision is for Canadian bitumen and heavy oil to be purchased and valued globally as cost-competitive and environmentally attractive. – Bryan Helfenbaum, Executive Director Advanced Hydrocarbons, Alberta Innovates.

Backgrounder: Alberta Innovates and the National Partial Upgrading Program

Alberta Innovates is a provincially funded corporation with a mandate to deliver 21st-century solutions for the most compelling challenges facing Albertans. We do this by building on our province’s research and technology development strengths in the core sectors of health, environment, energy, and food and fibre, and platforms such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and omics. We are working with our partners to diversify the provincial economy, improve environmental performance and enhance Albertans’ well-being through research and innovation.

NPUP’s current membership includes Alberta Innovates, Alberta Energy, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, CanmetENERGY Devon Lab of Natural Resources Canada, Cenovus Energy, Husky Energy, MEG Energy, Nexen Energy, Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy, and Suncor Energy.

NPUP’s vision is for Canadian bitumen and heavy oil to be purchased and valued globally as cost-competitive and environmentally attractive. NPUP’s mission is to accelerate innovation for partial upgrading of bitumen and heavy oil to: reduce or eliminate the use of diluent for pipeline transport, improve oil product quality and mitigate byproducts, increase overall resource value and market access, and reduce environmental impacts.

Media inquiries may be directed to:
Julia Necheff
Communications Specialist
Alberta Innovates
780-918-1625
julia.necheff@albertainnovates.ca