Alberta bitumen refinery begins diesel production

North West Redwater Partnership (NWRP) has started diesel production at the first phase of its long-planned greenfield bitumen refinery still under construction in Sturgeon County, about 45 kilometres north-east of Edmonton.


Operator North West Refining Inc (NWR) began producing diesel from Canadian Synthetic crude oil feedstock at the refinery on the 12th December, marking a major milestone on the way to full commercial operation in 2018 of its 79,000-b/d Phase 1 development, NWRP said.


Start of diesel production comes amid commissioning of several units at the site as part of a series of performance measures which must be met before Phase 1 of the refinery reaches full operations.


Construction in other areas of the project – which was more than 95% completed as of late August – remains ongoing, NWRP said.


Once fully commissioned, the Sturgeon refinery will process 240,000 b/d of Canadian bitumen feedstock to produce ultralow-sulphur diesel, diluent, and other bitumen products for both domestic and global markets, according to NWR’s web site.


The refinery originally was to include three 50,000-b/d phases for a total processing capacity of 150,000-b/d.


NWRP is a joint venture of NWR (formerly North West Upgrading Inc), Calgary. Canadian Natural Upgrading Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, is also of Calgary.