Growing Alberta’s petrochemical industry

Whether its low-carbon hydrogen or conventional chemical products, Alberta’s established petrochemical industry is growing and diversifying

Alberta is home to the country’s largest refining and petrochemical manufacturing cluster in Canada and produces more than 60% of the country’s natural gas.

Alberta’s well-established petrochemical industry capitalizes on low-cost feedstocks and an efficient transportation system to meet the growing global demand for petrochemical products.

Coupled with lucrative incentives and increased market access, the province’s expertise and competitive business environment have given the industry momentum.

Innovators are leveraging the province’s leadership in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) to create low-carbon products and position Alberta as a global supplier of clean, responsibly sourced petrochemical products.

Alberta Stories

Inter Pipeline

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 produces over 60% of Canadian natural gas


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.

$7.2 billion in petrochemical projects are planned, underway or have recently been completed in Alberta


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.

The global hydrogen industry could be worth US$2.5 to $11 trillion annually by 2050

Alberta Stories

Edmonton Region Hydrogen Futures

Alberta is working hard to create a sustainable, low carbon future for the world through environmental stewardship, positive social change and global governance leadership

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
  • Ethanol amines

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.

Tax advantage

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.

Emissions Reduction

$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.

Main regions

Alberta has an established petrochemical industry that centres around its various natural gas reserves. These areas benefit from a talented workforce, strong infrastructure and access to North American and international markets.

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.

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Medicine Hat

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.

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Grande Prairie

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.

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Yellowhead County

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.

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