Bitumen Beyond Combustion / Asphaltenes

Alberta‘s NDP is putting forward a suite of proposals that will allow the energy industry to get more value for resources at the “bottom of the barrel” as it supports transformation on the province’s path to diversify the economy, protect and create jobs and secure the economic future.

The proposals centre around asphaltenes, which are a dark constituent of crude oil and are particularly common in heavy oils and bitumen. These asphaltenes are often referred to as being at “the bottom of the barrel,” and account for 15-20 per cent of the content in a barrel of bitumen.

A study from the University of Calgary estimates asphaltene removal and processing could add between $10-15 per barrel and free up to 30 per cent of general pipeline capacity, due to a reduced need for diluents. These processes also have the potential to reduce emissions by at least 17 per cent.

To support further investments in asphaltene extraction processes and other non-combustion bitumen technologies, Alberta’s NDP are proposing to:

  • Push Ottawa to recognize asphaltene extraction and other partial upgrading technologies under the Canadian Clean Fuel Standard to create credits.
  • Push Ottawa to consider making extraction technologies eligible under the Carbon Capture Utilization & Storage tax credit that is being developed.
  • Integrate asphaltene extraction, processing and other partial upgrading technologies as a separate stream under the Alberta Petrochemical Incentive Program, or consider a redeveloped partial upgrading program.
  • Promote products derived from asphaltenes to become a key component in provincial or federal manufacturing strategies.
  • Provide stable funding for Alberta Innovates so it can continue its leading research and innovation promotion through its bitumen beyond combustion program and enable applied research in agriculture, construction and manufacturing.

Alberta has the opportunity to become a premier supplier of low-cost carbon, adding diversity and resilience to our economy,” said  “Albertans have the knowledge, the willpower, and, given the right legislative framework, there will be tremendous incentive to meet our climate action targets. - Warren Chung, President of Well Resources.

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