Energy Diversification Advisory Committee

Exploring opportunities to diversify Alberta's energy sector, create jobs and stimulate investment by adding value to our energy resources.

Status: Under review
Ministry responsible: Energy

An Energy Diversification Advisory Committee has been established to explore and seize opportunities that will position Alberta's energy industry for long-term success, while also building on initiatives underway, such as the Petrochemicals Diversification Program.

This initiative follows advice of the Royalty Review Advisory Panel.

What will the committee do?

The committee’s mandate is to explore opportunities for increasing the value of Alberta’s resources and creating more jobs. This may include concepts such as:

  • partial upgrading - a process to reduce the thickness of oil sands bitumen so it can flow through pipelines efficiently, without having to be blended with diluent (a light oil).
  • refining - the process of turning crude oil into finished products like transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil.
  • petrochemicals - chemical products derived from petroleum or natural gas.  Major petrochemicals include olefins (e.g.: ethylene, propylene, butylene), aromatics (e.g.: benzene, toluene, xylene), and alcohols (e.g.: ethanol, methanol).
  • chemicals manufacturing - involves converting raw materials such as oil, natural gas, air, water, metals, and minerals into industrial products such as petrochemicals (e.g.: olefins, aromatics, alcohols), agrochemicals (e.g.: fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides), and polymers (e.g.: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyesters). These industrial products form the basis for manufacturing day to day consumer products (e.g.: winter tires, smart phones, coffee cups).

The committee will meet with stakeholders and provide recommendations to the Minister of Energy by fall 2017. They will also engage the public so Albertans can provide input on the future of energy diversification in the province.

Read the committee's mandate (0.1 MB)

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Why diversify the energy sector?

In recent years, Alberta energy producers have faced stiff competition in American and central Canadian markets. Growth in the oil and gas industry in the U.S. has far exceeded that in Alberta.

To support our long-term growth, we in Alberta need to diversify our markets, and to do that, we need to diversify our products. We need energy diversification.

What does energy diversification mean?

For Alberta’s industries, energy diversification means taking the raw oil and natural gas we extract and processing them into intermediate or finished products like transportation fuels, fertilizers, and plastics.

This is what Alberta’s oil and gas sector looks like today:

  • The upstream sector is focused on the exploration and production of raw resources.
  • The midstream sector is focused on the transport, storage, and wholesale marketing of oil and gas products.
  • The downstream sector uses technologies such as refining, upgrading, partial-upgrading, and petrochemical manufacturing to make value-added products.

With energy diversification, the downstream sector would grow well beyond its current share by taking advantage of the availability of our raw oil and gas resources as feedstocks for manufacturing of higher value products the world needs. The value-added processing of this sector would create jobs and financial benefits for Albertans that are less prone to the ups and downs of the upstream sector.

Alberta's oil and gas sector
Upstream Sector
Searching, drilling, and extraction of raw resources.
Midstream Sector
Transporting, storing, and wholesale marketing of oil and gas products.
Downstream Sector
Refining, upgrading, partial-upgrading, and petrochemical manufacturing to make value-added products.

Committee members

The committee consists of 2 co-chairs and 4 additional members with a diverse range of expertise.

Jeanette Patell, Co-chair

Photo of Jessica Patell

Jeanette Patell is the Government Affairs and Policy Leader (Energy) for General Electric (GE) in Canada. In this role she provides strategic insight and guidance on policies impacting the electricity, oil and gas sectors and trade and economic policy.

Prior to joining GE, Jeanette was a diplomat with Global Affairs Canada. Her career in the Canadian Foreign Service focused on international trade policy and securing market access for Canadian exporters. Her assignments included investment treaty negotiations in South East Asia, and postings to the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C. and the Mission of Canada to the European Union. While representing Canada abroad she led trade policy for animal agriculture and energy market access respectively, leading Canada’s efforts on files such as Country of Origin Labelling and the EU Fuel Quality Directive.

Jeanette is a graduate of Mount Allison University with a B.A. (Hons) in International Relations.

Gil McGowan, Co-chair

Photo of Gil McGowan

Currently in his sixth term, Gil is the longest-serving president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. During his tenure, the organization has advocated for public health care, retirement security, and the protection of Canadian jobs.

He has helped elevate issues into public discussion in Alberta, including workplace safety, the temporary foreign workers, the Alberta government's revenue problem, and the loss of jobs due to the increasing export of raw bitumen. As the leader of Alberta's largest union organization, Gil advocates for workers’ rights on behalf of more than 170,000 unionized workers - a number that has grown steadily during his tenure as president.

Gil was named in 2015 as one of Alberta's 50 most influential people by Venture Magazine and has been a force for progressive change in the province for more than 25 years.

Carol Moen

Photo of Carol Moen

Carol Moen is the past Registrar for the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) and carried responsibility for APEGA’s regulatory policy and associated processes over her 3+ year tenure in the role.  Carol directly influenced substantive progress on the efficiency and effectiveness of all of APEGA’s regulatory portfolios and led the development of recommendations on the needed modernization of APEGA’s enabling legislation. 

Her past experience also includes 26 years at DOW Chemical where she held a variety of leadership positions including Associate Director, Responsible Care and Regulatory Affairs and Production Leader, Energy Systems and Environmental Operations. Through Carol’s varied roles she acquired diverse knowledge in the integrated manufacture of petrochemicals and the importance of results in a globally competitive manufacturing environment.

As a leader, Carol consistently focused on addressing social license to operate, managing environmental footprint or impact and the need to generate business success. Through her varied experiences, Carol had direct responsibility and/or influence over large manufacturing facilities as well as the significant supporting organizations and finances that enable them.

Marie C. Robidoux

Photo of Marie Robidoux

Marie C. Robidoux works as a consultant specializing in Aboriginal and industry relations, consultation and community engagement, and is an expert in land management and the land issues of concern to First Nations.

She has worked over the years for provincial and federal governments, the energy service industry, Aboriginal governments and the oil and gas industry in Québec, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Saskatchewan. Alberta has been her home since 1982 with a six and a half year hiatus in Yellowknife, NWT.

She has been very active within the land surveying profession becoming the first female President of the Association of Canada Lands Surveyors (ACLS) in 2007. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board for the Canadian Board of Examiners for Professional Surveyors and is also a member of the ACLS Board of Examiners.

Rocky Sinclair

Photo of Rocky Sinclair

Rocky Sinclair is Cree, originally from the northern Alberta community of Lesser Slave Lake. He has dedicated over 25 years of his professional career to Aboriginal business development and entrepreneurship, from front line services to senior management.

He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Indian Investment Corporation, whose primary focus is on commercial developmental lending, business education and support services for Alberta First Nations.

Rocky is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors Program – Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto and the University of Alberta’s School of Business and is a former member of the Alberta Economic Development Authority where he served on the Productivity and Competitiveness Committee. 

Warren Fraleigh

Photo of Warren Fraleigh

Warren Fraleigh since July 2017 has served as the Executive Director for Haven an educational institute registered with the BC Private Training Institutions Branch. Warren has worked in the industrial construction and maintenance industry for over 30 years and holds Journeyman and Red Seal certification in the Construction Boilermaker and Welder trades. His previous position was the Executive Director for the Building Trades of Alberta, promoted the interests of over 75,000 tradespersons and 21 Local Unions.

Warren also held the position of Business Manager – Secretary Treasurer for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 146 in Alberta, and also worked for the Boilermakers as a specialist in the areas of training, education and apprenticeship.

He has extensive board and council experience and currently sits as a board member of both the Resource Diversification Council and the Alberta Construction Safety Association. He has also served in the past as a board member of the Alberta Labour Relations Board, as a director on both the Safety Codes Council and the Alberta Boiler Safety Association and as an Employee Representative on Provincial and Local Apprenticeship Committees.


Energy Diversification Advisory Committee named (Oct 13, 2016)