We produce a lot of oil here in Western Canada. Much more than we can use. So what do we do? We send it to whoever will give us the most money for it. But no one can seem to agree on the best way to maximize the value we get for this natural resource. It’s fairly common to hear people lament the perception that Canada, specifically Alberta with its oil sands developments, ships too much crude oil without first upgrading it to a higher quality product. We sell it for cheap and let others profit. Is this perception true? Are we selling ourselves short? The Government of Alberta might think so, with recently announced financial incentives to build partial upgrading facilities in the province. But that further begs the question of what does partial upgrading even mean? And what does peanut butter have to do with it? In this episode, we’re downloading what everyone’s talking about on upgrading in Alberta.

Nick Martin, policy analyst, Canada West Foundation

Kevin Birn, Vice-President, North American Crude Oil Markets, IHS Markit
G. Kent Fellows, Ph.D, Research Associate, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Read more:

Understand what’s at stake in the Canadian oil sands development (free, independent IHS Markit research reports, including A New Look: Extracting economic value from the Canadian oil sands, November 2017, available for download)

Public-interest benefit evaluation of partial-upgrading, by G. Kent Fellows, Robert Mansell, Ronald Schlenker and Jennifer Winter, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Big and little feet: A comparison of provincial level consumption- and production-based emissions footprints, by Sarah Dobson and G. Kent Fellows, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, The Territories)

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Download | Episode 015: Makin’ ‘peanut butter’ in Alberta