An oil refinery with many pipes and tanks.

At the Heart of the Region

Published On
June 20, 2019

If energy is the backbone of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, then Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is its heartbeat.  

The petrochemical cluster in the region is nothing short of impressive. A concentration of world-class energy refining and processing operations, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is the largest hydrocarbon processing centre in Canada.

It sits at the heart of petrochemical activity in Western Canada, turning traditional energy production on its head with new innovations, eco-friendly operations, and business ventures that are capturing international attention and investment.  

Ready for the world

More than 40 national and multinational companies operate in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, representing over $40 billion in current capital investment.  

It’s one of the world’s most attractive locations for advanced chemistry manufacturing and value-added energy processing. The range of feedstock from natural gas liquids and refining by-products mean more manufacturing opportunities than ever.  

Businesses looking to access this feedstock to produce refined petroleum products and petrochemicals can look no further than Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.  

Investors also benefit from the region’s proximity to the world’s 3rd largest oil reserves — a secure, nearby crude oil source for both domestic and international refineries.

New investment opportunities include:

  • Electrical co-generation
  • Phenol production for resin in composite board products
  • Ethyl hexyl nitrate as phenol formaldehyde diesel cetane enhancer
  • Hydrogen transfer, hydrogen fuel cells
  • Ethanol Amines
  • Spent hydrocracking catalyst recovery – nickel and vanadium
  • Waste heat recovery, conversion, and utilization
  • CO2 capture, aggregation, and sequestration
  • Warehousing and packaging

Access to global markets through efficient transportation infrastructure, paired with research and development opportunities, are creating a thriving export culture.

A sustainable future in mind

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is guided by a non-profit association of municipalities dedicated to sustainable eco-industrial development. Bringing business and community leaders together means a shared vision and resources. It just makes business sense.  

With over 20 major facilities in one large area, the value of this cooperation is made obvious through economic gains, improved environmental quality, and shared human resources.  

Creating more eco-friendly operations is second nature here.  

Ground-breaking technology like carbon capture and storage (CSS) stores emissions from energy operations deep underground to effectively lower the Heartland’s carbon footprint. Shell Quest 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.

An eco-industrial plan also takes a birds-eye-view on development, including considerations for land use, traffic management, wastewater policies, and social impacts on neighbouring communities to name a few.

What’s next?  

The sky is the limit. Future development is planned to increase the region’s bitumen upgrading capacity, pipeline network, and petrochemical processing capabilities. Inter Pipeline is constructing a propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene complex, and Pembina is venturing with Petrochemical Industries Co. (PIC) to create the Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation which is also currently constructing a propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene facility.

Looking for more reasons to invest? Visit for more information and an investment brochure.  

Sherri Bouslama