Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – Alberta

Alberta
Table of Contents
  • Figure 1: Hydrocarbon Production

    Figure 1: Hydrocarbon Production

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB – Canada's Energy Future 2018

    Description:
    This graph shows hydrocarbon production in Alberta from 2007 to 2017. Over this period, crude oil production has grown from 2.0 MMb/d to 3.5 MMb/d, with all growth coming from the oil sands. Natural gas production has deceased from 13.1 Bcf/d to around 10.5 Bcf/d.

  • Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2017)

    Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2017)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    Statistics Canada (Tables 25-10-0020-01 and 25-10-0019-01), NEB Estimates

    Description:
    This pie chart shows electricity generation by source in Alberta. A total of 82.4 TW.h of electricity was generated in 2017.

  • 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 [423 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 (2016)

    Figure 6: End-Use Demand by Sector (2016)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB – Canada's Energy Future 2018

    Description:
    This pie chart shows end-use energy demand in Alberta by sector. Total end-use energy demand was 3 665 PJ in 2016. The largest sector was industrial at 74% of total demand, followed by transportation (at 12%), commercial (at 9%), and lastly, commercial (at 5%).

  • Figure 7: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2016)

    Figure 7: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2016)

    Source and Description:

    Source:
    NEB – Canada's Energy Future 2018

    Description:
    This figure shows end-use demand by fuel type in Alberta in 2016. Natural gas accounted for 2 010 PJ (55%) of demand, followed by refined petroleum products at 1 304 PJ (35%), electricity at 273 PJ (7%), biofuels at 76 PJ (2%), and other at 2 PJ (less than 1%).

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

  • Figure 8: GHG Emissions by Sector

    Figure 8: GHG Emissions by Sector

    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 2016 in MT of CO2e. Total GHG emissions have increased in Alberta from 174 MT of CO2e in 1990 to 263 MT of CO2e in 2016.

Energy Production

Crude Oil

  • In 2017, Alberta produced 3 538 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 over 80% of total production.
  • Over three-quarters of Alberta’s crude oil production comes from the oil sands in northern Alberta. In 2017, Alberta produced 2 823 Mb/d of oil sands bitumen. Of that amount, 1 051 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.
  • Four upgraders are currently operational in Alberta: Syncrude, Suncor, and CNRL Horizon (all near Fort McMurray); and Shell Scotford in Edmonton. Combined, these upgraders have a capacity of approximately 1 400 Mb/d.
  • In 2017, Alberta’s non-oil sands crude oil production consisted of 335 Mb/d of conventional light, 111 Mb/d of conventional heavy, and 270 Mb/d of condensate.

Refined Petroleum Products (RPPs)

  • Alberta has five refineries: Imperial Oil, Suncor, and Shell in Edmonton; Sturgeon in Redwater; and Husky in Lloydminster. These have a total capacity of 541 Mb/d (28% of total Canadian refining capacity) and give Alberta the largest refining capacity in Canada.
  • The Sturgeon Refinery is Canada’s first new refinery in over 30 years. Construction was completed in May 2018. Once fully commissioned, the refinery will produce primarily diesel fuel and naphtha from diluted bitumen. 
  • 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 2017, Alberta’s natural gas production averaged 10.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) (Figure 1). Alberta’s gas production represented over 67% of total Canadian natural gas production in 2017.
  • Alberta’s resource base for natural gas has been estimated by the NEB to be 403 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with 229 Tcf remaining when production to year-end 2017 is subtracted.
  • In 2017, field production of NGLs was 795 Mb/d. Alberta’s NGL production represents about 86% 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 2017, Alberta generated 82.4 terawatt hours (TW.h) of electricity (Figure 2), which is approximately 12% of total Canadian generation. Alberta is the 3rd largest producer of electricity in Canada and has a generating capacity of 16 458 megawatts (MW).
  • Five major private utilities compete in Alberta’s wholesale electricity market: TransCanada, TransAlta, ATCO, ENMAX, and Capital Power.
  • About 89% of electricity in Alberta is produced from fossil fuels – approximately 50% from coal and 39% 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 6 143 MW. Coal-fired generation is scheduled to be gradually phased out by 2030 under Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.
  • The Shepard Energy Centre is located east of Calgary and has a capacity of 860 MW. It is Alberta’s largest natural gas-fired power station.
  • Alberta’s wind fleet has a capacity of 1 467 MW. Most of Alberta’s wind turbines 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 772 Mb/d. In 2017, 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 approximately 24 500 kilometres (km) of pipelines and facilities that extend to most areas of Alberta. NGTL has over 1 100 receipt points, over 300 major delivery points, and is connected to nine underground storage facilities in Alberta. Deliveries on NGTL are over 11 Bcf/d.
  • NGTL is expanding in order to accommodate new supply, primarily from the Montney formation in northeast B.C. and northwest Alberta. In April 2018, the final section of the 2017 NGTL Expansion Project was placed into service. The project increases NGTL’s capacity by approximately 0.5 Bcf/d.
  • 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 two small-scale LNG facilities: one in Edmonton, and another in Elmworth, near Grand Prairie. The Edmonton facility has an operational capacity of 379 000 litres of LNG per day, while the Elmworth facility has a capacity of 189 000 litres per day.
  • The Ferus facilities produce LNG for the transportation sector, and for power generation in Whitehorse, Yukon and Inuvik, NWT.

Electricity

  • In 2017, Alberta’s net interprovincial and international electricity inflows were 0.9 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 3 665 petajoules (PJ) in 2016. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 74% of total demand, followed by transportation at 12%, commercial at 9%, and residential at 5% (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 2 010 PJ, or 55%. RPPs and electricity accounted for 1 577 PJ (36%) and 273 PJ (7%), 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 2017 demand in Alberta for RPPs was 323 Mb/d, or 18% of Canadian RPP demand. Of Alberta’s total demand, 117 Mb/d was for motor gasoline and an estimated 122 Mb/d was for diesel.
  • Alberta’s per capita RPP consumption in 2017 was 4 370 litres (27.5 barrels), or 50% above the national average of 2 886 litres per capita. 

Natural Gas

  • Alberta consumed an average of 4.49 Bcf/d of natural gas in 2017. Alberta's demand represented 50% of total Canadian demand for natural gas in 2016.
  • The largest consuming sector for natural gas was the industrial sector, which consumed 3.72 Bcf/d in 2017. The residential and commercial sectors consumed 0.42 Bcf/d and 0.35 Bcf/d, respectively.

Electricity

  • In 2016, annual electricity consumption per capita in Alberta was 18.6 megawatt hours (MW.h). Alberta ranked 4th in Canada for per capita electricity consumption and consumed 25% more than the national average.
  • Alberta’s largest consuming sector for electricity in 2016 was industrial at 51.4 TW.h. The commercial and residential sectors consumed 16.5 TW.h and 7.8 TW.h, respectively. Alberta’s electricity demand has grown 15% since 2005.

GHG Emissions

  • Alberta’s GHG emissions in 2016 were 262.9 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Alberta’s emissions have increased 51% since 1990.Footnote 1
  • Alberta’s emissions per capita are the 2nd highest in Canada at 62.4 tonnes CO2e – more than three times the national average of 19.4 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 2016 were 126.0 MT CO2e. Of this total, 120.4 MT were attributable to production, processing, and transmission and 5.6 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 2016, Alberta’s power sector generated 45.2 MT CO2e emissions, or 58% of total Canadian GHG emissions from power generation.

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