Access to Northern Alberta

Al-Pac Connector BridgeLocated in northern Alberta, Canada, between Fort McMurray and the capital city of Edmonton, the Alberta Energy Corridor encompasses more than 400 square kilometres (157 square miles). The Corridor tracks the main, north-bound transportation highway of the region – Highway 63 – covering an area of approximately 2.5 kilometres on either side of the highway for a distance of 85 kilometres (52 miles) between Boyle and Wandering River. The Al-Pac Connector Road is also contained within the Corridor’s boundaries.

The Alberta Energy Corridor is centrally located to major energy infrastructure: Fort McMurray, Wabasca/Desmarais and Cold Lake, and occupies a key portion of the north-south transportation route between the Athabasca oilsands region of northern Alberta and existing and announced upgrader projects in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region east of Edmonton. Our proximity to this industrial and energy hub provides commercial and industrial businesses with an accessible and economic location from which to serve customers and markets.

As well, northeast Alberta possesses one of the province’s key fibre bases used in the production of various forest products and which is growing in importance due to the emerging biomass industry. The forest industry in the Alberta Energy Corridor is represented by one of the world’s largest pulp mills, a number of sawmills and a growing biomass sector – along with support businesses.

Oilsands activity accounts for more than two-thirds of investment in Alberta. In fact, more than $100 billion in oilsands investment is projected to generate more than $1 trillion worth of economic activity.

There are currently six companies considering bitumen upgrading in the neighbouring Industrial Heartland region.

North West Upgrading is proposing to build a three-phase project by 2018 with a bitumen processing capacity of 150,000 barrels per day. Total E&P Canada is planning a three-phase, 340,000 barrels per day project slated for completion in 2022, and StatoilHydro has announced plans to build a 243,000 barrels per day facility by 2022 as well. BA Energy’s Heartland Upgrader, projected at 150,000 barrels per day, is currently on hold.

The two biggest projects are the expansion of Shell’s Scotford Upgrader, a long-term expansion projected to ultimately produce 700,000 barrels per day, and the Fort Hills Sturgeon Upgrader that Petro-Canada (now Suncor) is involved with, which is another three-phase project proposed to produce 350,000 barrels per day. Another project, the Northern Lights upgrader, has been put on hold. Former owner of the project, Synenco, has sold its shares to Total E&P Canada.

Upgrader projects produce significant taxes for all levels of government: the local municipality receives approximately 5 per cent, the province receives about 37 per cent, and the federal government receives the balance — approximately 58 per cent.

The expansion of export power capabilities by Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Al-Pac) is underway. This project is expected to provide approximately 35 megawatts of “green” export power derived from woody biomass. The Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. sawmill provides a modern, efficient operation that produces high-quality dimensional lumber for domestic and export markets. The area is also served by a number of other sawmills.

The Alberta forestry industry provides royalties to the Province of Alberta for the harvesting of trees in the forest management agreement and quota areas. These operations also provide significant employment, with the residual tax benefits for the region and province. It is expected that the emerging biomass industry will generate additional revenue for various levels of government.

Back to the top ^