Where We Are
Over the past several decades, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has grown into Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region. Situated northeast of the capital city of Alberta, Edmonton, the region’s geographic footprint is 582 square kilometres (225 square miles). The Heartland is within Alberta’s Capital Region, the northernmost metropolitan area of Canada and home to over 1.1 million people.
Industrial zoned land part of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland extends into five different municpalities. This includes 533 square kilometres (205 square miles) within the City of Fort Saskatchewan and the Counties of Lamont, Strathcona and Sturgeon, in addition to 49 square kilometres (20 square miles) in the City of Edmonton (industrial area known as the Edmonton Energy and Technology Park).
The region is home to 40+ companies in a variety of sectors, including producing and processing oil, gas, and petrochemicals, as well as advanced manufacturing. Since 1958, world renowned companies have chosen to locate in the Heartland due to the natural advantages it offers, with over $40 billion invested to date.
The location of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region is advantageous due to convenient and cost effective access to one of the world’s richest natural resources – Alberta’s oilsands.
Additional location benefits include:
- cost effective secure petroleum and petrochemical feedstock
- excellent road, rail, air and pipeline connections to global markets
- access to a skilled and motivated workforce
- competitive operating and tax environment
- close proximity to one of North America’s fastest growing metropolitan areas
More than half of Canada’s petrochemical capacity is located in Alberta, making the province a major supplier of petrochemical feedstock—the raw materials used for industrial processing. Annually producing more than $13.5 billion worth of products, Alberta’s chemical and petrochemical industry is the second largest manufacturing industry in the province. About half of Alberta’s chemical and petrochemical industry products are exported to markets around the globe.
Directly linked to the petrochemical industry, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH) is strategically situated in western Canada’s sedimentary-basin oil and gas reserves. Dow Chemical, in Fort Saskatchewan, operates the world’s second largest ethane based cracker.
The viability of the province’s current petrochemical industry is based on access to a long-term secure and economic supply of natural gas liquid (NGL) feedstock – especially ethane – and the ability to develop suitable competitively priced products for international markets.
Oil and Oil Sands
AIH is easily accessible to the province’s extensive oil sands. Alberta’s manufacturing industry benefits from an abundant, competitively priced supply of hydrocarbon feedstock. Much of Alberta’s feedstock is located in northern Alberta’s Athabasca Oil Sands in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. These deposits are one of the world’s largest known oil reserves.
The oil sands are estimated to contain 1.74 trillion barrels of bitumen in place. Of this amount, 174 billion barrels can be economically recovered with current technologies. In 2005, Alberta’s total crude bitumen production and upgraded synthetic crude oil accounted for 58% of Alberta’s (and 39% of Canada’s) total crude oil and equivalent production. Total Canadian crude oil production is estimated to approach 4 million barrels per day (b/d) by 2015, as it grows from 2.6 million b/d to 3.9 million b/d (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers 2005-2015 Crude Oil Forecast).
The Alberta Hub provides a physical point of handling, storing, and exchanging primary energy products and upgrading them to higher value manufactured products. The hub’s network of pipelines and infrastructure transports up to 17 billion cubic feet/day of natural gas to domestic and United States markets. This vibrant market for natural gas buyers, sellers, and traders is an efficient trading point where participants benefit from having many buyers and sellers.
The Government of Alberta, Petrochemical Development Business, and other stakeholders promote Alberta as the hub while continuing to explore feedstock supplies and other petrochemical product growth opportunities.
Companies in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland employ a labour force of approximately 6,000 permanent employees. The companies range in size from several employees to several hundred employees. The skilled workforce in the region includes everyone from tradespeople to environmental specialists to human resources to engineers.
Ensuring Alberta’s labour force remains abundant, highly skilled, and well trained remains a top priority of the Government of Alberta. Specific goals and activities are outlined in their ten year labour force strategy Building and Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce. This strategy aims to attract and retain employees and further develop Alberta’s labour force through education and training. A variety of provincial and federal funding initiatives have been directed toward this strategy and will continue in the future.
Initiatives like the provincial labour force strategy and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation’s Edmonton Workforce Connection are necessary in today’s relatively tight labour market.
For a forecast of the labour demand and supply over the next decade, visit the Construction Sector Council’swebsite. Their forecast data now extends to 2023, and provides labour forecasts for more than 30 skilled construction trades, markets for trades and occupations, retirement patterns in construction trades, and potential for labour mobility.
Additional Labour Resources
In 2001, Alberta’s electricity and natural gas industries were restructured to provide consumers with a more efficient, competitive marketplace and greater choice of providers. Consumers began directly participating in the wholesale energy market, or participating through retailers acting on their behalf. As a result, operating costs in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH) are competitive compared to many large and medium sized North American cities.
Competitive Alternatives – KPMG’s guide to international business costs (2010) compared 26 cost factors, including labour, capital investment, taxes, transportation and utilities. The results rank Edmonton’s business operating costs seventh among 22 large midwest United States and western Canadian locations. Edmonton shows a 4.3% cost advantage over the United States.
Alberta’s economic well-being depends on maintaining its healthy, sustainable water supply with stringent water quality standards. Alberta Environment is the provincial government ministry responsible for legislation on water quality and quantity. The Water Act guides water approvals, licenses, guidelines, and codes of practice.
Water Management Operations is responsible for over $5 billion of water management infrastructure, including more than 200 water management systems. Oil and gas companies are subject to the same conditions as any other licensed water user in Alberta. The Water Conservation and Allocation Policy for Oilfield Injection (2006) requires oil and gas operations to investigate alternative recovery methods and water sources before applying to use potable groundwater. The policy also outlines water diversion time limits and quantity limitations.
There are about 164 million cubic metres of groundwater allocated for use in Alberta. Approximate consumption is as follows:
- 53% — commercial/industrial
- 25% — agricultural
- 18% — municipal
- 2% — recreational
- 1% — irrigation
- 1% — fish management
Additional Water Resources
Alberta’s electricity system is owned and operated by a mix of investor and municipal companies. More than 20 businesses compete to sell power to the province’s larger commercial and industrial users, who account for 64% of Alberta’s electricity use. The Utilities Consumer Advocate provides information about Alberta’s restructured and competitive electricity and natural gas markets.
The provincial government ministry, Alberta Energy, develops, supports, and monitors the framework of competitive electricity markets and delivery systems. Power is freely traded through an exchange operated by the independent Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO). Competing generators submit price bids for specific electricity amounts. The price which supply becomes available to satisfy demand becomes the hourly pool price.
The Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) ensures all transmission charges to generators, industrial, commercial, or residential customers are fair. The ERCB also ensures power facilities are built, operated, and decommissioned in an economic, efficient, and environmentally responsible way.
Additional Electricity Resources
- Alberta Energy
- Rural Electrification Associations (AFREA)
- Utilities Consumer Advocate (electricity retailers)
The industrial sector uses 60% of the natural gas consumed in Alberta. Natural gas rates reflect the forecast market price for each upcoming month. There is no profit or mark-up on regulated natural gas rates and natural gas prices are subject to ERCB verification.
Rates are set in an open, competitive market and influenced by North American, as well as world variables. These include:
- supply and demand
- production and exploration levels
- storage injections and withdrawals
- global weather patterns
- pricing and availability of competing energy sources
- market views of future trends
Two major companies provide industrial natural gas service in Alberta. Those two companies are:
The Utilities Consumer Advocate provides information on:
- options for large volume consumers
- electricity and natural gas retailers
- distribution companies
Additional Natural Gas Resources
Research and Development
The Alberta oil and gas industry leads the world in many aspects of energy development. Industry, government, and educational institution collaborations are directly responsible for major technologies currently used in Alberta’s energy sector. One example is Alberta Innovates—responsible for a variety of research into oil sands and oil/gas industry technology.
Both federal and provincial governments are committed to partnering with industry to address industry challenges. The province maintains a motivated business-orientated climate, with a strong research and development focus. The federal government promotes this focal point by offering significant tax incentives—the most generous tax treatment for research and development in G-7 countries.
One of Canada’s key goals is to increase international research and development collaboration. Benefits include new international business opportunities, access to the world’s best minds, and shared intelligence to eliminate duplication of efforts. Cost-sharing opportunities exist to develop infrastructure resources that might otherwise be too expensive for one country or company to individually support.
The Government of Alberta recognizes the importance of supporting innovation to build a diverse and prosperous economy. It provides strategic science and research leadership, as indicated in the 2011 Alberta Budget.
Additional Research and Development Resources
- Alberta Energy Research Plan – 2006-11 Strategic Business Plan
- Alberta Ingenuity Centre for In Situ Energy
- Alberta Innovates
- Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
- Canadian Oil Sands Network for Research and Development
- National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program
- Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada
- Alberta’s Oil Patch Technology
- Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada
Canada offers investors the lowest overall tax rate among developed countries and the most appealing research and development tax credit program in G7 countries. The Canada Revenue Agency Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program outlines this support. It encourages Canadian businesses to conduct research and development that will lead to new, improved, or technologically advanced products or processes. This program is the largest single source of federal government support for industrial research and development.
Additional Tax Resources
- Invest in Canada – Government of Canada
Some of the world’s finest research facilities are located in Alberta—a province that recognizes research and development are key to ensuring growth in all economic sectors. Alberta’s ultra-modern research and development facilities provide scientists with advanced opportunities to turn innovative ideas into practical applications. Collaboration between government, industry, and educational institutions continually result in landmark research developments.
A selection of research facilities in Alberta include:
- Alberta Innovates
- Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation – West
- Edmonton Waste Management Centre of Excellence
- Mineral Core Research Facility – Energy Resources Conservation Board
- National Institute for Nanotechnology of the National Research Council
- Oil Sands Tailings Research Facility
Alberta’s educational institutions are internationally recognized for outstanding research and development accomplishments. Adept at obtaining sponsored research revenue, Alberta universities are able to fund advanced research programs. Highly qualified scientists are attracted to the world-class equipment in these university facilities.
The greater community realizes significant benefits from research at Alberta’s universities. Technology commercialization brings research results to the private sector and stimulates economic growth. This results in new companies, and technology licensing to existing companies. Seventy companies are currently active as a result of University of Albertaresearch.
Additional Educational Facility Resources
- Advanced Education and Technology
- Grant MacEwan University
- University of Alberta Research
- University of Calgary Research Services
- Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
- Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Research and Development Opportunities
Alberta is continually seeking new ways to enhance the viability and value-added upgrading of its energy resources. Alberta’s Provincial Energy Strategy focuses on developing an integrated energy sector that looks beyond extraction in order to maximize the potential of our resources to enhance the growth of Alberta’s refining and petrochemical industries.
The Government of Alberta and industry representatives have developed a vision that expects and enables opportunities for hydrocarbon upgrading and bitumen to play a leading role in Alberta’s broader energy strategies. Given the size of the oil sands resource, it has the potential to be a long-term supply of competitively priced refining and petrochemical feedstock.
Service and Supply
Albertans are among North America’s most skilled and educated people, with more than 40% of the workforce possessing post-secondary credentials. Municipalities in the region benefit from Edmonton’s status as a world leader in developing technologically supported infrastructure. Edmonton has been named one of Canada’s top five Smart Cities by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine. This designation is given to cities with a highly skilled workforce, large research-intensive university, cluster of high technology companies, and advanced telecommunications infrastructure.
Service and supply companies in AIH help major industries manage logistics and achieve competitive advantages. The area’s many process and manufacturing industries have enabled the experienced service sector to grow even more. This highly trained, skilled workforce is very practiced in industrial project management, including facility design, engineering, and construction.
Albertafirst.com provides detailed listings, statistics, profiles, and opportunities on key businesses, industry sectors, regions, and communities across Alberta.
Some of the globally competitive industrial services developed in the Heartland include:
- process and piping module fabrication
- pressure vessel design and fabrication
- plant maintenance and shutdown services
- pipeline design
- construction and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems
- infrastructure and heavy construction
- special transport and rigging services
- nondestructive testing and inspection
- high quality welding and machine shops
For information on partner municipalities’ supply and service sector, please follow the links:
The City of Fort Saskatchewan provides major industry market information, as well as commercial, industrial, and multi-family opportunities packages. Explore the business section of the city’s website to access a community profile detailing the region’s healthy industrial sector. You will also find business and market area data, major industry/product information, and commercial/industrial land, building, and leasing availability.
Sturgeon County offers industry updates and investment opportunities relating to major industries, as well as a wide mix of commercial and agricultural businesses. Sturgeon County’s Economic Development department provides information on rural-industrial business parks, opportunities for aviation based operations, approval processes, and other business factors.
Lamont County provides information on industrial and commercial development, major industries, and business planning.
Strathcona County maintains an inventory of businesses, lease space, and available land. It supplies business marketing research and consultation, including major projects, economic outlooks, and workforce statistics. The County assists businesses interested in expansion or diversification, providing access to relevant news, current maps, and on-line tools.
The City of Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city, and as such offers an extensive range of services,facilities, businesses, and more. Situated on several major highway and rail transportation routes with an international airport nearby has allowed Edmonton to become an international transportation hub, including an important link in the North American-Asian trade chain. Edmonton’s economic output is mainly in the construction, finance and real estate, manufacturing, and trade and transportation industries.
Additional services are found in Nisku Business Park, western Canada’s largest business and industrial park. It is located in Leduc County, by the Edmonton International Airport. With more than 400 companies in the energy, manufacturing, and service sectors, Nisku is an important part of Alberta’s service and supply industry.
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association actively works with industries and companies thinking of locating and or expanding in the region.
Please contact at us at email@example.com for more detailed information on this prosperous investment climate.
Low corporate income tax rates make Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH) a prime location for development. AIH municipalities offer some of the most cost competitive property taxes in the world. Investors in Alberta enjoy the lowest gasoline tax among the provinces. With no capital tax, no retail sales tax, and no payroll tax, investors benefit from a distinctly welcoming economic climate!
Alberta Treasury Board & Finance develops policy to ensure taxes remain competitive by removing unnecessary rules and regulations and promoting a positive labour environment. Low overall business taxes are based on the provincial government’s desire to improve productivity and support an atmosphere where business can continue to succeed. In addition, significant tax incentives for research and development are provided by the federal government.
Alberta’s low capital investment taxes encourage businesses to increase innovation and boost productivity by investing in new technologies and machinery.
Additional Business Tax Resources
Alberta businesses benefit from low corporate income tax rates. Alberta’s positive business climate includes a combined federal/provincial corporate income tax rate of 32.12% for general businesses and 16.12% for small businesses.
The Government of Alberta does not have:
- provincial retail sales tax (Alberta is the only Canadian province without a sales tax)
- provincial general capital tax
- payroll tax
Due to strong overall growth in assessment and the limited requisition increase, the province has reduced uniform education property tax rates by about 5.8% for the 2007 tax year.
Competitive Alternatives: KPMG’s guide to international business costs is a guide for comparing business costs in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. It reports on the combined impact of 26 significant business costs most likely to vary by location.
Additional Provincial Tax Resources
- Alberta Finance and Enterprise – Tax and Revenue Administration
- Service Alberta – Government of Alberta business forms and programs
Businesses locating in Alberta, and especially in the Heartland municipalities, are subject to some of the most cost competitive property taxes in the world. Two levies apply to Alberta’s assessable property: municipal levies which fund community services, and the Alberta School Foundation Fund which is collected to help finance education.
Property assessment is based on market value and a regulated value set according to the Municipal Affairs Acts and Regulations. Property assessment consists of land and building values, and in the case of industrial operations, machinery and equipment is also taxed. Machinery and equipment includes such things as underground tanks, separators, fuel gas scrubbers, compressors, chemical injectors, and metering and analysis equipment.
Machinery and equipment is used in conjunction with properties such as refineries, chemical plants, pulp and paper plants, and oilsands plants. Most machinery and equipment is assessed by the local assessor, while machinery and equipment forming part of linear property is assessed by the assessor designated by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and a regulated value set according to the Municipal Affairs Acts and Regulations.
If locating in the City of Edmonton, businesses should note that Edmonton does not have a business tax (except in locally run business revitalization zones). Edmonton also does not charge a tax against machinery and equipment. This provides industrial investors with significant savings on equipment intensive construction. Most businesses, therefore, pay only a non-residential property tax.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs provides information on tax rates for each Alberta municipality.
Additional Municipal Tax Resources
The Heartland region’s transportation network is world-class, and the ongoing expansion and improvement will keep it top rate. Alberta’s renowned transportation network provides highly integrated service to points throughout the province, country, and beyond. Direct access is available to northern and western Canada, the United States, and off-shore—to the Pacific Rim. Most world markets can be accessed within 72 hours.
Pipeline and rail are used to provide most of the in and outflow in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH). Efficiently designed, constructed, and managed pipelines transport products over vast distances and varied terrain.
Major trucking companies also serve the region, benefiting from the province’s 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) of paved highway. Nearby international airports connect the Heartland, forming part of a transportation network that meets the highest quality and safety standards.
Transporters enjoy a supportive regulatory environment with the lowest government user charges/taxes and a deregulated system. Alberta transportation costs are reduced through the availability of backhaul rates.
Industries in AIH benefit from the province’s 7,900 route-kilometres (4,900 miles) of railway track. Canada’s two principal railroads, the Canadian National (CN) and the Canadian Pacific (CP), as well as a number of strategically located shortline railways, connect Heartland industries and markets. Alberta rail services offer seamless intermodal transport solutions through its network of professional partners. The region benefits from CN’s access to the Fort McMurray oil sands.
Canadian National Railroad
The CN network is North America’s only transcontinental network, linking eight Canadian provinces, 16 American states, and Mexico. Its North American network offers shippers a gross rail car capacity of 129,000 kg (286,000 lbs) on main routes, as well as 121,000 kg (268,000 lbs) and 119,000 kg (263,000 lbs) on secondary routes.
From Edmonton, CN provides direct service west to Vancouver and Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Prince Rupert is the closest North American port to Northeast Asia. The rail line also extends east to major Canadian cities: Winnipeg and Toronto and the ports of Montreal, Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, and into the United States to Chicago—North America’s major railway hub. CN subsidiaries provide seamless service into the U.S., Gulf of Mexico, Mexico City, and Veracruz, Mexico.
In the fall of 2007, CN opened its new state of the art multi-commodity Fort Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Distribution Centre. It is ideally situated next to CN’s Scotford Yard in the heart of the booming oilsands development area and adjacent to what is becoming one of the greatest concentrations of upgraders and processing plants serving the oil and gas industry in North America.
Canadian Pacific Railroad
Heartland industries can also take advantage of the 22,500 km (14,000 miles) CP network. Alliances with other carriers extend CP’s market across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
From the CP Calgary terminal, direct western rail service is available to Vancouver. Eastern service connects to Winnipeg, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, and beyond. CP subsidiaries enable direct access to the American cities of Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
The Can-Am corridor is an alliance between Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railroad that accelerates commercial traffic between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. It offers routes with fewer terminal stops, reduced terminal processing times, a streamlined customs process, and other features.
In May 2007, CP Rail announced it has sought regulatory approval to construct rail lines to serve planned and existing bitumen upgraders northeast of Edmonton in Alberta’s developing Industrial Heartland. The railway has made arrangements for 25 km (16 miles) of right of way that will provide the ability to develop direct rail service to industries locating on either side of the North Saskatchewan River.
Canadian National offers intermodal services from a northwest Edmonton site, while Canadian Pacific intermodal services are available in south Edmonton.
Additional Rail Resources
Alberta has181,000 kilometres (112,000 miles) of public roads. More than 20,000 kilometres (12,000 miles) of this infrastructure are made up of paved roads and highways that directly link all major markets in central and western North America.
Alberta’s top-quality highway system can handle trucks up to 63,500 kilograms (140,000 lbs). These higher truck weights and dimensions result in the lowest possible unit costs. Industries in Alberta benefit from the lowest road fuel taxes and no provincial sales tax. The province invests revenues from fuel taxes and fees in maintaining and expanding the provincial road network. The Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program is upgrading the Fort McMurrary infrastructure, including twinning Highway 63, improving bridges, and widening roadways.
Alberta is served by two east-west highways that form part of Canada’s coast-to-coast highway system:
- Highway 1—the TransCanada through Calgary
- Highway 16—the TransCanada through Edmonton
North-South transportation is served by the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Highway, providing:
- a direct connection between Edmonton and Calgary
- a link to the Alaska Highway
- a link to the US border at Coutts, Alberta/Sweetgrass, Montana, and beyond through the Canamex Trade Corridor which parallels Interstate 15 through the United States, including Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, and on to the Mexican states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanjuato, Queretero, Estado de Mexico, and the Federal District
Industries in AIH are well connected to major markets via major trucking routes including Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail) with access to the Edmonton – Calgary corridor, the west coast, and as far east as Winnipeg.
Additional Road Resources
- Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety
- Transportation Association of Canada
- S. Federal Highway Administration
Industries in AIH can easily access Edmonton airports. The Edmonton International Airport is Canada’s fifth largest airport in terms of passengers, serving more than 5.2 million people in 2006. It is the second largest airport in land mass and able to accommodate an immediate 200% growth in air traffic. This is Canada’s most northerly 24 hour international airport. Eleven major airline carriers use it on a regular basis.
The Edmonton International Airport is south of Edmonton along Highway 2—the major highway linking Edmonton and Calgary. It is also close to the Yellowhead TransCanada Highway, connecting the city of Edmonton to Winnipeg and Vancouver. Airport users value the convenient proximity of the Via Rail transcontinental route.
In addition to the International Airport, the counties of Strathcona and Sturgeon both have regional airports.
The Strathcona Airport is located 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) north of Josephburg on Secondary Highway 830, and is approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) south of AIH. It is managed by Strathcona County. The airport is used for privately owned and commercial aircraft. The lands around the property are primarily used for agricultural purposes. Features of this airport include: one paved runway, 28 bareland lease sites (contact us for availability), and 12 aircraft tie-downs (contact us for availability).
The Villeneuve Airport located northwest of Edmonton is the primary flight-training facility for the Edmonton Capital Region. Its air traffic control tower operates daily from 08:00 to 21:00. The small terminal located next to the tower accommodates a NAV CANADA Flight Information Kiosk. It’s features include: two paved runways; 12 aircraft hangars; total site land area of 573 hectares (1,415 acres). There are approximately 75,000 aircraft landings and takeoffs per year.
Additional Air Resources
Low-cost, long-distance transport is vital to the economic success of plant sites in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.
The province has an extensive system of more than 373,000 kilometres (231,000 miles) of crude oil, natural gas, sour gas, and other pipelines. They are used to distribute most feedstocks and natural gas, as well as distribute hydrocarbon products. Called the Alberta Hub, this infrastructure delivers up to 17 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas from the Alberta and Western Canada Sedimentary Basin to domestic and U.S. markets.
Alberta Energy reports the potential capacity of the following proposed pipelines:
- Mackenzie Valley pipeline could result in an additional 1.2 – 1.9 Bcf/d being shipped to Alberta and on to other markets
- Pipelines from Alaska could result in an additional 4.0 – 6.0 Bcf/d being shipped to Alberta and other markets
Alberta has one of the most extensively developed gas systems in the world. The Alberta Hub links 500,000 kilometres (310,000 miles) of gas pipelines—enough pipeline to go around the earth 13 times. Alberta’s natural gas pipelines are part of a larger network that includes approximately:
- 200,000 kilometres (124,000 miles) of flowlines and gathering systems in western Canada’s petroleum-producing areas
- 60,000 kilometres (37,000 miles) of transmission pipelines, from processing plants to Canada’s consuming regions and export points
- 245,000 kilometres (152,000 miles) of distribution pipelines to residential, commercial, and industrial users
Alberta’s network of oil pipelines includes the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system, and is a major distributor of natural gas. It extends from Normal Wells, Northwest Territories, to Edmonton, Alberta; to Sarnia, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; and into the north-central United States. Another major pipeline carries oil west from Edmonton to Vancouver, and into the state of Washington.
AIH includes the Enbridge pipeline system—Canada’s largest and the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system. Enbridge is the primary transporter of crude oil from Canada to the United States and the only pipeline transporting crude oil from western to eastern Canada. The system consists of approximately 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) of mainline pipe in Canada and 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) of mainline pipe in the United States. The United States portion of the mainline is called the Lakehead System.
Enbridge pipeline systems deliver approximately 2 million barrels per day of crude oil and liquids. The company is exploring the development of two new pipelines as part of its Enbridge Gateway Project.
Additional Pipeline Resources
Land Use Planning
Industries, companies and residents intending to develop or expand in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland are subject to municipal, provincial, and federal policies and legislation. The legislation and application approvals that apply depend on the type of project as well as its specific requirements and location.
Municipal land use bylaws define how land can be used, as well as where and how buildings, structures, and signs can be developed in a specific municipality. Bylaws also regulate conservation and habitat. The result is a planned, efficient, economical, and beneficial development that provides a diversity of choice, lifestyle, and environment.
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association in conjuction with local economic development and planning officers in each municipality are available to assist with siting projects and working through the application guidelines. Contact us for more information.
Alberta Environment and Parks is the key provincial government department overseeing land development in industrial zones. This ministry can provide information on:
- land quality and use
- upstream oil and gas reclamation programs
- petroleum storage tank sites
- integrated resource management
- soil and groundwater assessment/management
- protection and enforcement
- waste management
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is the primary federal legislative body that works with companies interested in development. This agency promotes environmental assessment as a planning tool to protect and sustain a healthy environment, as well as to meet the expectations of Canadians who want a growing economy in harmony with a healthy ecosystem.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and its regulations ensures projects do not cause significant adverse environmental effects and guides opportunities for public participation in the environmental assessment process. It encourages federal authorities to promote sustainable development.
Eco Industrial Plan
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is committed to an eco-industrial approach, which is built on the philosophy that it is possible to enjoy both a thriving economy and healthy environment. This is accomplished by incorporating environmental, economic, and community goals in the strategies and activities within the Heartland. Networking and partnerships with a variety of stakeholders are also crucial to the eco-industrial planning approach.
A formal Eco-Industrial Master Plan Strategy was created for Alberta’s Industrial Heartland in March 2008. The strategy’s mission was to “develop master plans that support long-term land use, infrastructure and social needs and interests of the member municipalities, while facilitating, supporting and encouraging sustainable eco-industrial development”.
Objectives in the Eco-Industrial Master Plan Strategy include:
Providing direction for long-term land use management, protecting environmentally sensitive areas, creating a standardized approach to risk management, and promoting “green” initiatives
Developing traffic management strategies, reviewing current road and rail networks, and using growth forecasts to determine long-term transportation needs
Developing policies, management strategies, and a coordinated approach between municipalities for potable water, wastewater, solid waste, storm water, and process water
Analyzing housing options, and developing strategies to ensure adequate health care systems, crime prevention, and social service organizations
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is dedicated to working with communities, industry, and key government departments to implement eco-industrial strategies and engage in ongoing communication as planning and industrial growth progresses in the region.
Land Ownership and Company Summaries
Geographic Information System
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland GIS map and detailed company reports
Other Maps/Sites of Interest
Oil Sands Developers Group Interactive Map
Link to OSDG’s website, with an interactive map of oil sands projects
Province of Alberta
Including major towns and cities, and the location of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland
* Maps will be added and updated as new information becomes available
Both new and expansion projects in Alberta are subject to regulatory review and scrutiny. In addition to municipal acceptance, one or several of the following organizations or agencies may be involved in a project’s regulatory process depending on the type and location of the project.
Alberta Energy is the provincial ministry responsible for managing the development of provincially owned energy and mineral resources by industry and the assessment and collection of non-renewable resource revenues in the form of royalties, freehold mineral taxes, rentals and bonuses. Their mission is to optimize the sustained contribution from Alberta’s energy and mineral resources in the interests of Albertans. Alberta Energy promotes the development of the province’s energy and mineral resources, recommends and implements energy and mineral related policy, grants rights for exploration and development to industry, and establishes and administers fiscal regimes and royalty systems. The resource portfolio includes natural gas, conventional oil, oil sands, petrochemicals, electricity, coal and minerals, renewable energy (wind, bio-energy, solar, hydro, geothermal, etc.) and energy efficiency and conservation.
The Ministry is also responsible for the regulation of energy development by the Energy Resources Conservation Board (see below for description) and regulation of utility development by the Alberta Utilities Commission (see below for description).
Alberta Environment and Parks
Alberta Environment and Parks is the provincial ministry responsible for protecting and enhancing Alberta’s natural environment to ensure the continued enjoyment of a clean and healthy environment by all. Their mission is to assure the effective stewardship of Alberta’s environmental systems to sustain a high quality of life.
The Minister is also responsible for the arms length Environmental Appeals Board, which is an independant administrative agency with legislative authority to hear appeals from decisions made under the various acts administered by Alberta Environment.
Alberta Utilities Commission
The Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) is a quasi-judicial agency of the Government of Alberta, like the ERCB. However, the AUC’s responsibility is with Alberta’s utility service, ensuring that it is delivered in a way that is fair, responsible, and in the public’s interest. This is done by regulating investor-owned natural gas, electric, and water utilities as well as certain municipally owned electric utilities to make certain that customers receive safe and reliable service at reasonable rates.
The AUC also provides regulatory oversight in the development and operation of the wholesale electricity market, as well as the retail gas and electricity markets in Alberta. Like the ERCB, the AUC provides opportunities for Albertans to become involved in the application process, via public hearings, becoming an intervener, open houses, consulation with the applicant, and more.
Alberta Energy Regulator
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is an independant, quasi-judicial agency of the Government of Alberta made up of various divisions and branches. The AER makes decisions on applications for energy development, monitoring for compliance assurance, decommissioning of developments, and all other aspects of energy resource activities.
Natural Resources Conservation Board
The Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) is an agency of the Government of Alberta and reports to the Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. The NRCB is guided by two acts – Natural Resources Conservation Board Act and Agricultural Operation Practices Act. Under these acts, the NRCB regulates non-energy natural resource developments and confined feeding operations.
The Board works to ensure that Alberta’s natural resources are developed in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner. A Board of four members, including the chairman, is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council.
Major Projects Management Office
The Major Projects Management Office (MPMO) is a Government of Canada organization whose role is to provide overarching project management and accountability for major resource projects in the federal regulatory review process. The MPMO works collaboratively with federal departments and agencies, and provides a single window into the federal regulatory process.
The MPMO was established in 2007 and reports to the Minister of Natural Resources.