EPCA '09: Alberta bitumen upgrader projects under scrutiny

04 October 2009 16:47  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Proposals for projects to take advantage of the Alberta Government’s bitumen royalty in kind (BRIK) plans are to be made by the end of December and the project choices made by March, Debbie Pietrusik, director of hydrocarbon cluster development with Alberta Finance & Enterprise said on Sunday.

The opportunities for investment by the provincial government in possible upgrader, refinery and chemicals project development and the potential risks are currently being considered, she said on the sidelines of the 43rd European Petrochemicals Association (EPCA) meeting in Berlin.

The BRIK proposals, through which the Alberta government would take bitumen volumes rather than royalties from oil sands extraction facilities in the province, should be sufficient to feed a 75,000 bbl/day upgrader, although a competitive facility should be able to process twice that amount she said.

“We are still trying to identify the opportunities for government and the risks involved,” she added. A world-scale bitumen upgrader, refinery and petrochemicals facility would require an investment of some $15bn (€10bn).

Bitumen production from Alberta’s oil sands is expected to reach 3m bbls/day by 2020. The provincial government’s BRIK proposals have helped unlock a stage in the potential development of Alberta’s growing bitumen resources.

“There is sufficient and growing demand in key regional chemical and end-user industry, to underpin the development of a high value world class chemical and manufacturing cluster,” Pietrusik said in a recent presentation.

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By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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