Energy production is the economic backbone of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. The region’s proximity to Alberta’s oilsands — the 3rd largest oil reserve in the world — has led to global investment and world-renowned innovation in this sector.
Energy businesses thrive in the region thanks to complex transportation and pipeline systems, as well as world-class infrastructure in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. An energy pioneer, the region is home to a booming petrochemical industry creating new business opportunities, exploring cleantech innovations, and attracting billions in capital investment.
Check out our fact sheet for more information about energy and mining in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is close to abundant energy resources including oilsands deposits, conventional fields, massive natural gas reserves, and coal sites. The region’s energy services sector is second to none. Many technologies and practices have been created here that are now used around the world. Conveniences in our own backyard have given the region a competitive advantage in research, innovation, equipment, and well-priced feedstock for downstream production.
The region is known throughout the world for its expertise in the energy sector. We’re home to unique skillsets that are in demand for a variety of consulting purposes. Delegations come from all over to learn from local expertise in:
Fueling this expertise is a well-trained and knowledgeable workforce. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s post-secondary institutions provide a talent pipeline to the pipelines. With strengths in research, engineering, and apprenticeship training, the region supports the energy sector with the right skills to get the job done.
With close access to feedstocks, the region has developed an extensive petrochemical industry. Oil and natural gas are piped into Alberta’s Industrial Heartland where they are manufactured into $13.5 billion worth of annual feedstocks like propane, ethylene, cellulose acetate, and polyethylene.
These petrochemical byproducts are used to manufacture everything from home insulation to engine oil, gasoline additives to recycled steel, medical equipment to rocket fuel.
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is a concentration of world-class refining and processing operations. It is the largest hydrocarbon processing centre in Canada and the center of petrochemical activity in Western Canada. More than 40 national and multinational companies operate in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, representing over $40 billion in current capital investment. These operations are dynamic, innovative, and leading the way to a greener future. Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association is the primary link to heavy industrial opportunities in the region.
Road, air, rail, and port
Integrated logistics allow companies to easily transport commodities locally and internationally. The region is well connected with Asia with the Port of Prince Rupert cutting shipping distance in half when compared to Gulf Coast hubs. The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) also has cargo partnerships with many Asian airlines.
Solution-mined salt caverns 1,800m below the surface create efficient natural storage capacity for a number of operations.
The Edmonton Metropolitan Region serves as a hub for the province’s pipeline system. Major pipelines like Trans Mountain, Keystone, and Enbridge connect to a 373,000km regional network. Pipelines supply the petrochemical industry with feedstocks and deliver oil, natural gas, and hydrocarbon products throughout North America.
Leduc-Nisku Industrial Park
The largest petroleum manufacturing industrial park in Canada and the 2nd largest in North America.
There are 4 refineries in the region belonging to Shell, Suncor, Imperial Oil, and the Northwest Redwater Partnership. These operations represent ¼ of Canada’s total refining capacity.
Alberta has access to an abundance of fresh-water resources and low-cost electricity, reducing operating costs associated with downstream processing.
The region is pursuing energy innovation by developing eco-friendly practices to increase efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is one example, where carbon dioxide from energy operations is safely stored deep underground to effectively lower emissions. Shell Quest, located at the region’s Scotford complex, is the first facility of its kind to use CCS to store a million tonnes of CO2 per year— the equivalent of taking 250,000 cars off the road.
We’re not only pushing innovation in oil and gas — we’re expanding into new territory with renewable energy. By leveraging our local expertise, we are pioneering the future of the energy sector on a global scale.
The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is diversifying its stronghold in the energy sector by adding alternative energy to the mix. By 2030, it’s projected that 30% of Alberta’s electricity will come from renewable sources. The region is ready for industry breakthroughs by harnessing the potential of its climate, expertise, and manufacturing capabilities.
Post-secondary institutions and research facilities in the region are focused on alternative energy, providing the skills and talent to propel advancements in this field:
Building equipment like solar panels and wind turbines to harness renewable energy requires a strong manufacturing presence. Given the region’s command of this sector, businesses will benefit from on-site servicing and production.
The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is a prime location for solar power. As the 3rd sunniest location in Canada, The region enjoys over 333 days of sunshine per year.
Differing from alternative energy, cleantech focuses on reducing the overall environmental impact of traditional energy sources like oil and gas. Through emerging innovations, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has the opportunity to improve energy production by serving as a global leader in sustainable energy practices.
Reducing energy consumption at drill sites through robotic drilling that uses solar-powered motors and natural gas generators instead of less-efficient diesel generators. New technologies also allow for offsite remote control and a reduction in manpower, disturbance and emissions.
New technology driving higher well production and reservoir recovery, better surface management, more recycling and reuse of fluid and the evaporation of produced water into clean steam instead of having to truck and pump it into disposal wells.
Using liquid natural gas (LNG) and other gas products at drill and mine sites instead of diesel and propane to reduce flaring and emissions.
Using high-efficiency gas generation units instead of coal-fired units. This results in increased flexibility and extended operating life, lowering emissions and production and maintenance costs.
A multi-stakeholder, province-wide, and industry-focused group working to support Albertans developing cleantech products and services that improve economic performance and reduce environmental impact.
A consortium formed to purse federal funding for innovation research and focus on new technologies to reduce water use, reclaim developed land, monitor emissions, digitize operations, and examine low-emission end uses for hydrocarbons.
Emissions Reduction Alberta is a Government of Alberta established not-for-profit whose purpose is to Invest in GHG-reducing technologies that help Alberta grow existing industries and create new ones, convene the resources required to accelerate the commercialization and wide spread adoption of technology solutions that lead to economic growth and GHG reductions in Alberta, and maximize our impact through leveraged funding, communications, operational excellence, and by measuring and reporting on key performance metrics. Since its establishment, Emissions Reduction Alberta has contributed more than $4.1 billion in funding to Alberta projects and research.
A research institute hosted in the UAlberta faculty of engineering that supports discovery and innovation across a broad range of areas related to oilsands mining and upgrading.
A recent initiative that includes a $75 million investment from the federal government to integrate Future Energy Systems technologies into Alberta’s oil and gas energy infrastructure.
Transitioning their oil and gas expertise to the emerging renewable energy industry, Kuby is one of the region’s many professionalcontractors specializing in solar installations and residential and commercial renewable energy systems.
Kuby has managed the installation of major solar projects for schools, arenas, farms, homes and First Nation power projects. To keep up with the rising interest in electric vehicles, the company is also Tesla-certified, installing electric vehicle (EV) chargers for homes and businesses.
Based in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, they also service Western and Northern Canada.
The Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility is showing that CCS works – in its first four years of operations, Quest has captured and safely stored 4 million tonnes of CO2, and has achieved this milestone ahead of schedule.
Shell believes that society will need effective carbon pricing mechanisms and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to achieve its climate goals. The good news is that Canada is showing leadership in both. Our provinces are implementing world-leading climate policies and Canada has nearly one fifth of the 22 large-scale CCS plants operating or under construction around the world.
The Quest facility is operated by Shell on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.