Low-cost and abundant feedstock
Located in the heart of Western Canada’s Sedimentary Basin, Alberta is home to vast deposits of natural gas. Basins located throughout the province provide an abundance of competitively priced natural gas to Alberta’s petrochemical manufacturers.
Alberta’s natural gas is cost competitive and trades at a discount compared to American suppliers, providing an affordable and reliable feedstock for petrochemical plants.
Due to its cost-effective and abundant natural gas reserves, Alberta produces the lions’ share of propane in Canada. Of the 85% to 90% of Canadian propane produced from natural gas processing, 88% is produced in Alberta.
Share of Natural Gas Production by Province
Natural Gas Price Forecast
Alberta is also a significant supplier of ethane as a petrochemical feedstock to manufacture plastics and other industrial and consumer materials.
Alberta’s four ethane-cracking plants have a capacity of 4.1 million tonnes per year accounting for almost 80% of Canada’s total installed ethylene-producing capacity.
Canada’s Ethane Potential
Robust, growing infrastructure
Alberta has one of the largest natural gas infrastructure networks in North America. TC Energy’s Nova Gas Transmission Line (NGTL) is the primary gas delivery system in Alberta — connecting the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin to domestic and export markets through 33,000 km of pipeline.
The company is currently implementing a $10 billion infrastructure program to add 3.5Bcf/d of incremental delivery capacity by 2024 which will expand the capacity of the network to deliver natural gas throughout Alberta.
Petrochemical projects also have access to the province’s large amount of storage and processing capacity. The province has more than half of Canada’s natural gas storage inventory which balances the supply and reduces market volatility.
Alberta is also home to the largest petrochemical manufacturing centre in Canada. Alberta’s Industrial Heartland counts 40 industrial sites, 7,000 employees, and $40 billion in investment.
ACCESS TO TALENT AND INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Alberta is already home to a well-established petrochemical industry. With 36 chemical and petrochemical manufacturers operating throughout the province, Alberta has developed the expertise and regulatory framework to support a thriving petrochemical sector.
Alberta has the most engineers per capita in Canada with a large labour pool specializing in petroleum and chemical engineering. Research and development costs in Canada are very cost effective, as salaries for highly skilled labour are lower than in other industrialized countries.
With the petrochemical industry clustering around central Alberta, it’s not hard to find talent within these communities.
Alberta’s clear regulatory framework strengthens its competitiveness. The Government of Alberta and Invest Alberta offer a regulatory roadmap and supports to help navigate investments into the sector. Alberta’s Department of Energy and Department of Environment and Parks also have in-house expertise to ensure accurate assessment of projects.
Well-established petrochemical industry
With a strategic position serving major North American markets, Alberta offers efficient transportation systems to deliver supply.
Alberta’s extensive rail network not only allows market access across North America, but also Asian markets.
The Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert, two of Canada’s largest ports, offer regular departures to major Asian markets including China, Japan, South Korea and India.
Room for growth
Alberta’s midstream natural gas infrastructure has the capacity to accommodate new petrochemical projects.
Through the province’s Natural Gas Vision and Strategy, Alberta plans to increase processing and transportation capabilities to become a global top 10 producer of petrochemical products.
According to the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, there’s an opportunity to grow Alberta’s petrochemical sector by more than $30 billion by 2030.
Business-friendly policies and government incentives
Alberta’s government supports the long-term growth of the petrochemical industry by creating the best possible policy environment through cutting red tape and facilitating approvals.
Government incentive programs, such as the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program (APIP), make Alberta an attractive place to build new petrochemical plants.
Not to mention, Alberta is one of the most cost competitive jurisdictions in North America, with the lowest corporate income tax in Canada.
New fuels and innovation
A pioneer in CCUS, Alberta is leveraging its expertise and existing facilities and infrastructure to expand into low-carbon petrochemical products, such as blue methanol and blue hydrogen.
Alberta is home to two of the world’s 18 large-scale projects. The newest, the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, can sequester 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The captured carbon is used to produce blue hydrogen and for enhanced oil recovery.
Edmonton Region Hydrogen Futures
areas of focus
CO2 capture, aggregation and sequestration
Hydrogen transfer, hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen production
Blue methanol production
Alberta is leveraging its expertise in cleantech and leadership in carbon capture and CCUS to produce new low-carbon petrochemical products.
Abundant Natural Gas and Feedstock
Natural gas and natural gas liquids fractionation
Propylene and polypropylene
Ethylene and polyethylene
Methane and methanol
Alberta’s abundant supplies of natural gas provide petrochemical plants with low-cost feedstocks to develop a range of products.
World-class value-added processing
Extensive natural gas delivery system
Propylene derivatives plants
Ethane cracking complexes
Alberta has modern, world-scale plants and the largest natural gas infrastructure networks in North America.
Access to Markets
CP and CN: transcontinental rail carriers with intermodal terminals
Rail access to Canada’s two largest ports
Alberta’s efficient transportation systems allow access across North American and Asian markets.
Alberta’s competitive advantage comes from low tax rates, lucrative incentives and business-friendly policies
Lowest Corporate Tax Rates in the Country
Alberta’s corporate tax rate is 8% — the lowest in the country and competitive across North America.
Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program
Provides grants worth up to 12% of eligible capital costs once operational.
Stable Fiscal and Regulatory Environment
Canada scores in the top 20 of the World Bank’s Political Stability Index.
Lowest Tax Rate in Canada
Alberta is a leader in environmental protection — implementing policies that enable industrial sectors to reduce emissions while making investments in innovative technologies
Carbon Capture and Storage
Home to the world’s first commercial-scale oil sands CCUS facility.
Sustainable by Design
NWR Sturgeon Refinery is the world’s only refinery designed from the ground up to minimize its environmental footprint.
A Pioneer in Blue Methanol
Nauticol is the first company to produce net-zero blue methanol at a world scale.
Major Carbon Capture Potential
Alberta Carbon Trunk Line is the world’s largest CO2 pipeline — sequestering 14.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
Leader in Low-Carbon Hydrogen
World’s largest net-zero hydrogen energy complex being built in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.
$449M in stimulus funding over four years through Tech Innovation Emissions Reduction (TIER) program to reduce emissions.
Talent and productivity
Alberta is home to a young, diverse and highly educated workforce, with expertise in the petrochemicals sector
Concentration of Engineers
Alberta is home to the most engineers per capita in Canada.
Post-Secondary Education Rates
The combined share of workers with a post-secondary certificate and university degree rose to 64.9% in 2020.
Globally Ranked Post-Secondaries
Alberta’s globally ranked post-secondary institutions produce experts in engineering, mining and petroleum production.
Central Alberta and Joffre
With a strategic position between Alberta’s two largest cities, Joffre is a growing petrochemical hub. NOVA Chemicals’ Joffre manufacturing facility lies just east of Red Deer, AB and is one of the largest ethylene and polyethylene production complexes in the world.Learn more
Located in southeast Alberta, Medicine Hat is home to an established petrochemical industry. With a population centre over 60,000, Medicine Hat offers a skilled a labour pool with industrial expertise. The region’s current petrochemical capacity includes methanol and nitrogen fertilizers.Learn more
The Greenview Industrial Gateway was established in Northwestern Alberta, by the M.D. of Greenview in conjunction and with the support of the Alberta Government through extensive consultation and collaboration to develop a world-class heavy eco-industrial development focused on value-added petrochemical development linked to the Montney’s abundant natural gas deposit.Learn more
A petrochemical hub with close rail access to the west coast and critical ports for shipping to Asian markets. The local towns of Edson and Hinton offer an experienced labour pool with skillsets in oil and gas.Learn more