Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles - Alberta

Table of Contents
  • Figure 1: Hydrocarbon Production

    Figure 1: Hydrocarbon Production

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB (Crude oil, natural gas)

    Description:
    This graph shows hydrocarbon production in Alberta from 2006 to 2016. Over this period, crude oil production has grown from 1.8 MMb/d to 3.1 MMb/d, with all growth coming from the oil sands. Natural gas production has deceased from 13.4 Bcf/d to around 10.1 Bcf/d.

  • Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2016)

    Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2016)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB

    Description:
    This pie chart shows electricity generation by source in Alberta. A total of 82.3 TW.h of electricity was generated in 2016.

  • Figure 3: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources Map

    Figure 3: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources in Alberta Map

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB, Natural Resources Canada

    Description:
    This map shows electricity generation facilities in Alberta. Facilities are shown by capacity and by primary fuel source.

    Download:
    PDF version [1008 KB]

  • Figure 4: Crude Oil Infrastructure Map

    Figure 4: Crude Oil Infrastructure in Alberta Map

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB

    Description:
    This map shows all major crude oil pipelines, rail lines, and refineries in Alberta.

    Download:
    PDF version [514 KB]

  • Figure 5: Natural Gas Infrastructure Map

    Figure 5: Natural Gas Infrastructure in Alberta Map

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB

    Description:
    This map shows all major natural gas pipelines in Alberta.

    Download:
    PDF version [565 KB]

  • Figure 6: End-Use Demand by Sector (2015)

    Figure 6: End-Use Demand by Sector (2015)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB

    Description:
    This pie chart shows end-use energy demand in Alberta by sector. Total end-use energy demand was 3 630 PJ in 2015. The largest sector was industrial at 73 % of total demand, followed by transportation (at 13 %), commercial (at 8 %), and lastly, commercial (at 6 %).

  • Figure 7: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2015)

    Figure 7: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2015)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB

    Description:
    This figure shows end-use demand by fuel type in Alberta in 2015. Natural gas accounted for 1 896 PJ (52 %) of demand, followed by refined petroleum products at 1 346 PJ (37 %), electricity at 280 PJ (8 %), biofuels at 104 PJ (3 %), and other at 4 PJ (less than 1 %).

    Note: "Other" includes coal, coke, and coke oven gas.

  • Figure 8: GHG Emissions by Sector (2015)

    Figure 8: GHG Emissions by Sector (2015)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    Environment and Climate Change Canada – National Inventory Report

    Description:
    This stacked column graph shows GHG emissions in Alberta by sector every five years from 1990 to 2015 in MT of CO2e. Total GHG emissions have increased in Alberta from 175 MT of CO2e in 1990 to 274 MT of CO2e in 2015.

Energy Production

Crude Oil

  • In 2016, Alberta produced 3 182 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d) of crude oil (light, heavy, and condensate combined) (Figure 1). Alberta is the largest producer of crude oil in Canada, accounting for almost 80% of total production.
  • Almost two-thirds of Alberta’s crude oil production comes from the oil sands in northern Alberta. In 2016, Alberta produced 2 546 Mb/d of oil sands bitumen. Of that amount, 932 Mb/d was upgraded into synthetic crude oil that can be used to dilute raw bitumen for transport, or be transformed into refined petroleum products.
  • Six upgraders operate in Alberta: Syncrude, Suncor, CNRL Horizon, and Nexen Long Lake near Fort McMurray; Shell Scotford in Edmonton; and Husky in Lloydminster. Combined, these upgraders have a capacity of approximately 1 400 Mb/d.
  • In 2016, Alberta’s non-oil sands crude oil production consisted of 330 Mb/d of conventional light, 115 Mb/d of conventional heavy, and 191 Mb/d of condensate.

Refined Petroleum Products (RPPs)

  • Alberta has four refineries: Imperial, Suncor, and Shell in Edmonton; and Husky in Lloydminster. These have a total capacity of 474 Mb/d (24% of total Canadian refining capacity) and give Alberta the largest refining capacity in Canada.
  • Alberta’s refineries process only western Canadian crude oil, including a large proportion of blended bitumen and synthetic crude oil. 
  • RPPs are moved within Alberta by truck and rail, and by the Alberta Products Pipeline. This line transports an average of 48 Mb/d of RPPs and connects Edmonton refineries to markets in southern Alberta.

Natural Gas/Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)

  • In 2016, Alberta’s natural gas production averaged 10.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) (Figure 1). Alberta’s gas production represented over 67% of total Canadian natural gas production in 2016.
  • Alberta’s resource base for natural gas has been estimated by the NEB to be 403 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with 237 Tcf remaining when production to year-end 2015 is subtracted.
  • In 2016, field production of NGLs was 641 Mb/d. Alberta’s NGL production represents about 89% of total Canadian production. Small volumes of propane and butane are also produced at Alberta’s refineries.
  • Some NGLs are fractionated into individual components (for example, ethane, propane, butane, and condensate) at field plants or fractionators in Alberta.

Electricity and Renewables

  • In 2016, Alberta generated 82.3 terawatt hours (TW.h) of electricity (Figure 2), which is approximately 13% of total Canadian generation. Alberta is the 3rd largest producer of electricity in Canada and has a generating capacity of 16 602 megawatts (MW).
  • Five major private utilities compete in Alberta’s wholesale electricity market: TransCanada, TransAlta, ATCO, ENMAX, and Capital Power.
  • About 87% of electricity in Alberta is produced from fossil fuels – approximately 47% from coal and 40% from natural gas. The remaining 13% is produced from renewables, such as wind, hydro, and biomass (Figure 3).
  • Alberta’s coal fleet is the largest in Canada and has a total capacity of 6 287 MW. Coal-fired generation is scheduled to be gradually phased out by 2030 under Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.
  • Shepard Energy Centre, located east of Calgary, has a capacity of 860 MW and is Alberta’s largest natural gas-fired power station.
  • Alberta’s wind fleet has a capacity of 1 467 MW. Most of these facilities are located in southern Alberta near Pincher Creek.

Energy Transportation and Trade

Crude Oil and Liquids

  • Alberta has a vast network of crude oil and condensate pipelines that gather and deliver crude oil from production areas to pipeline hubs in Hardisty and Edmonton (Figure 4). Alberta also receives crude oil from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories via Enbridge’s Norman Wells pipeline.
  • The majority of Alberta’s crude oil production is exported to the United States (U.S.) or other provinces. The main pipelines that transport crude oil outside of Alberta are the Enbridge Mainline, TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline, and Enbridge’s Express Pipeline. Smaller pipelines to the U.S. include Plains Midstream’s Milk River and Aurora-Rangeland systems. 
  • Alberta contains two main import pipelines for condensate: Enbridge’s Southern Lights and Kinder Morgan’s Cochin. These pipelines deliver condensate from the U.S. to distribution centres in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan, where it is then delivered by pipeline, rail, and truck to heavy oil and oil sands projects.
  • Alberta is a large supplier of RPPs, such as gasoline and diesel, to markets in neighboring provinces. Products are transported to British Columbia (B.C.) largely via the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and to Saskatchewan and Manitoba primarily via the Enbridge Mainline.
  • Alberta has 23 crude oil rail loading facilities with a total capacity of 680 Mb/d. In 2016, rail transported approximately 3% of Alberta’s crude oil production.

Natural Gas

  • Many pipelines transport Alberta natural gas to other provinces and to the U.S. Alberta’s major gas pipeline systems include Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), the TransCanada Mainline, Foothills, and Alliance (Figure 5).
  • The NGTL System is comprised of over 25 000 kilometres (km) of pipelines and facilities that extend to most areas of Alberta. NGTL has over 1 000 receipt points, over 300 major delivery points, and is connected to nine underground storage facilities in Alberta.
  • NGTL is connected to Spectra’s Westcoast pipeline system at the Alberta/B.C. border, the Foothills System in Alberta, and the TransCanada Mainline at the Alberta/Saskatchewan border.
  • The TransCanada Mainline is over 14 000 km long and transports gas from NGTL to Canadian and U.S. markets east of Alberta. The Mainline ends at the Ontario/Quebec border, where it connects with the Trans-Quebec and Maritimes pipeline.
  • The Foothills System is connected to NGTL at the southern part of the system and consists of several segments: Foothills BC, Foothills SK, and Foothills Alberta. Foothills BC exports natural gas to the U.S. Pacific Northwest via the Kingsgate, B.C. export point. Foothills SK exports natural gas to the U.S. Midwest via the Monchy, Saskatchewan export point. Foothills Alberta is operated in conjunction with the NGTL system.
  • The Alliance Pipeline originates in northeastern B.C., crosses Alberta, and enters the U.S. at Alameda, Saskatchewan. Alliance transports liquids-rich natural gas from B.C. and Alberta and delivers it to the Aux Sable gas processing and fractionation facility near Chicago, Illinois. 
  • NGTL’s pipeline network facilitates the operation of the Nova Inventory Transfer (NIT) hub, the largest and most liquid natural gas hub in North America. NIT is the main Canadian price benchmark for natural gas (also known as the intra-Alberta price).
  • ATCO Gas, a division of ATCO Gas & Pipelines Ltd., is Alberta’s largest natural gas distributor and serves over 1.1 million customers in nearly 300 communities. AltaGas Utilities Inc. distributes natural gas to over 78 000 residential, rural, and commercial customers in over 90 communities across northern Alberta. ATCO and AltaGas are both regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC).
  • Provincial natural gas projects and pipelines are regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator and the AUC.
  • NGLs are primarily transported out of Alberta on rail cars, or as NGL mix on the Enbridge Mainline to Sarnia, Ontario and the U.S. Midwest.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

  • Encana operates the Cavalier small-scale LNG facility near Strathmore. The facility has been in operation since 2013 and supplies up to 5 000 gallons per day of LNG to the transportation sector, including rail.
  • Ferus operates a small-scale LNG facility in Elmworth, near Grand Prairie. The facility has been in operation since 2014 and is used to supply LNG to the transportation sector. The facility has an operational capacity of 50 000 gallons per day.
  • Two more small-scale LNG facilities are proposed for Alberta, both in the Edmonton area.

Electricity

  • In 2016, Alberta’s net electricity imports were 0.4 TW.h. Alberta trades electricity with B.C., Saskatchewan, and Montana.
  • Alberta has approximately 26 000 km of transmission lines and approximately 215 000 km of distribution lines.

Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Total Energy Consumption

  • End-use demand in Alberta was 3 630 petajoules (PJ) in 2015. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 73% of total demand, followed by transportation at 13%, commercial at 8%, and residential at 6% (Figure 6). Alberta’s total energy demand was the largest in Canada, and the largest on a per capita basis.
  • Natural gas was the largest fuel type consumed in Alberta, accounting for 1 896 PJ, or 52%. RPPs and electricity accounted for 1 346 PJ (37%) and 280 PJ (8%), respectively (Figure 7).

Refined Petroleum Products

  • Alberta has a net surplus of RPPs and nearly all of the gasoline consumed in Alberta is produced within the province.
  • Alberta is the 3rd largest market in Canada for RPPs, after Ontario and Quebec. Total 2016 demand in Alberta for RPPs was 303 Mb/d, or 20% of Canadian RPP demand. Of Alberta’s total demand, 117 Mb/d was for motor gasoline and an estimated 99 Mb/d was for diesel.

Natural Gas

  • Canada consumed an average of 8.3 Bcf/d of natural gas in 2016. The largest consumers of natural gas were Alberta at 3.9 Bcf/d, followed by Ontario and B.C. at 2.3 Bcf/d and 0.8 Bcf/d, respectively.
  • Canada’s largest consuming sector for natural gas was the industrial sector, which consumed 5.5 Bcf/d in 2016. The residential and commercial sectors consumed 1.5 Bcf/d and 1.3 Bcf/d, respectively.

Electricity

  • In 2015, annual electricity consumption per capita in Alberta was 19.8 megawatt hours (MW.h). Alberta ranked 2nd in Canada for per capita electricity consumption and consumed 36% more than the national average.
  • Alberta’s largest consuming sector for electricity in 2015 was industrial at 52.1 TW.h. The commercial and residential sectors consumed 15.1 TW.h and 9.9 TW.h, respectively. Alberta’s electricity demand has grown 19% since 2005.

GHG Emissions

  • Alberta’s GHG emissions in 2015 were 274.1 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Alberta’s emissions have increased 56% since 1990.Footnote 1
  • Alberta’s emissions per capita are the 2nd highest in Canada at 65.6 tonnes CO2e – more than three times the national average of 20.1 tonnes per capita.
  • The largest emitting sectors in Alberta are oil and gas production at 48% of emissions, electricity generation at 17%, and transportation at 12% (Figure 8).
  • Alberta’s GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2015 were 132.3 MT CO2e. Of this total, 126.8 MT were attributable to production, processing, and transmission and 3.4 MT were attributable to petroleum refining and natural gas distribution.
  • Alberta’s electricity sector produces more GHG emissions than any other province because of its size and reliance on coal-fired generation. In 2015, Alberta’s power sector generated 46.1 MT CO2e emissions, or 57% of total Canadian GHG emissions from power generation.

More Information

 

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