Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Alberta delays upgrader plans

Alberta delays oil sands upgrader plans

Nathan VanderKlippe

Globe and Mail
Oct. 20, 2009

First, the biggest players in Alberta's oil patch decided they would rather refine their oil sands bitumen in the United States than Canada. Now even the Alberta government is allowing more time for Canadian oil to be processed in the U.S. The province collects much of its oil sands royalties as "in-kind" - in other words, it gets physical bitumen - and has long planned to upgrade, or refine, that bitumen in Alberta. Yesterday, however, the province delayed plans for an upgrader by two years, in a new request for proposals that gives would-be upgrader builders until Dec. 31, 2018, to begin refining bitumen. The demand for Canadian bitumen in the U.S. has driven up prices for the product, leaving it tough to make money on upgrading in Canada. Officially, however, the province says the two-year delay is "so that a new project just starting the approval process can better meet the time requirement." The province will also now allow the winning proposal to use multiple phases to achieve up to 75,000 barrels per day in upgrading capacity upgrader, provided they're all running by 2018.


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