Two major Chinese companies along with a group of Alberta Indigenous communities have signed an agreement with Stantec Inc. to pursue the development of an Alberta oil refinery.  Getty Images/Bloomberg photo by Kevin Lee.

New Alberta oil refinery would be second largest in province

A group of Alberta Indigenous communities two major Chinese have teamed up to build a new oil sands refinery and petrochemical complex in the province, according to a press release from Stantec Inc.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, along with China Construction Industrial & Energy Co. Ltd. and a consortium of Alberta Indigenous communities have signed an agreement with engineering and design firm Stantec Inc., to pursue permits for a new bitumen refinery.

According to the Stantec, the partnership will be called SinoCan Global.  The group will begin seeking permits to build a 167,000 barrel per day (b/d) bitumen refinery and petrochemical complex north of Edmonton.

The proposed refinery would be the second-largest refinery in the province, behind Imperial Oil’s 194,000 b/d Strathcona Refinery in Edmonton.

“We are very excited to be working with SinoCan Global on this bitumen-based refinery and petrochemical facility,” Stantec CEO Gord Johnston said in the press release.

Stantec will provide consulting and regulatory assistance while Sinopec and China Construction will deliver “the expertise and investment needed to develop the facility”.

“Stantec Consulting Services has been selected to perform the regulatory review and permitting processes for the project,” according to the press release. “The global design firm will also leverage local relationships and engage in strong stakeholder relations to ensure SinoCan’s success in the Alberta marketplace.”

While the press release did not include how much the refinery will cost, it is expected to range in the billions of dollars.

Another refinery in the area, the North West Refinery, which was recently completed can process about 50,000 b/d and cost $9.5 billion.  The North West Refinery was the first refinery to be built in Canada in 30 years.

“Stantec has significant energy and resources and environmental science experience, and we are excited to work on a project to boost investment and opportunity in Alberta’s energy market,” Johnston said.

At this time, it is not known which First Nations communities are involved in the project, but a group called the Alberta First Nations Energy Development will own an equity stake in the development, according to the Stantec release.

Teedrum Inc., an Edmonton-based company is working in partnership with the Alberta First Nations Energy Centre, will lead the development.