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.

Find Out More

Leave a Comment

Steven C Halifax


I worked up north. We also have alot of sand. Could we make asphalt shingles. Or even better yet, solar asphalt shingles. You are welcome. Steve

Michael Kruper


Great work! I pray for a smarter NDP reelection.

Shannon Sookochoff


I have yet to read the proposal around green energy. But this is insufficient. You are focusing on a tiny slice of production. What is the 17% reduction? Production emissions? Certainly not end use emissions. I’m looking for a big picture plan with clear goals that are we in line with the IPCC. Your choices here read like garbledigoop and unspecific greenwashing.

Irene Gouin


Has anyone considered developing and manufacturing carbon fabric out or tar sands?

Justen Connors


Good morning, I have an idea that I feel you could put into action better than me. First, We have oil! But we currently have the obstacle of exporting it. First off, I completely disagree with the exporting of raw crude to other people to process it. (We give our wealth away!) We are in an era of printing money without even thinking about it. So why not produce money, to pay people, to build refineries in Canada? Consider it an investment in ourselves. We then can process our goods and ultimately sell them for a higher price at market. This will also make alberta more independent and wealthy.. Second, to have a president kill the pipeline project in the name of green energy is naive. That is another topic, but we should continue building the pipeline anyway. We should continue to build the pipeline close to, such as (10km) away from the borders to USA and to BC. At the border stops. there should be a pumping stations build. The pumping stations : should/could be capable of doing high capacity truck/rail loading. and then ultimately delivery. If others don’t want to acknowledge facts that’s fine. We will be doing our part to keep things going in a productive but efficient way. To be realistic, asking for everybody’s permission is childish. We have domain over Alberta. So we can do what is best for everybody. What is best for everybody is a pipeline, it is proven to be the most efficient and effective shipping method. I would process it before sending it. But we could still send everything that we do now. Just in a more energy effective and efficient way. Recently the pipeline was canceled and the newspaper displayed articles about a loss of 1.3 billion dollars. To consider the already constructed portion of the pipeline a loss is a mistake. The ability to get oil to customers is not a one way system. We should use a compilation of all known methods. Domestic pipelines in Alberta don’t require policy approval from other governments. So let’s build the pipeline in our backyard anyway. It will make (Alberta) better equipped to handle outside export markets and it is also able to keep workers working on things that they and their families have been constructing over the past decades. It could also create a large number of new jobs or positions. I hope this idea is able to help you. Regards