Status: Concluded
Ministry responsible: Energy

An Energy Diversification Advisory Committee was established in the fall of 2016 to explore and seize opportunities that would position Alberta's energy industry for long-term success while also building on initiatives underway, such as the Petrochemicals Diversification Program.

This initiative followed the advice of the Royalty Review Advisory Panel.

What the committee did

The committee’s mandate was to explore opportunities for increasing the value of Alberta’s resources and creating more jobs. This included 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).

Outcomes

The committee provided 36 recommendations to the government in the fall of 2017 in their final report – Diversification, Not Decline: Adapting to the new energy reality.

The government has accepted the committee's advice and is moving forward immediately with a number of recommendations. Bill 1: The Energy Diversification Act was introduced in the Alberta legislature on March 8, 2018. It includes support for:

  • partial upgrading technologies to help us get more value from our energy resources
  • second round of the Petrochemicals Diversification Program
  • petrochemical feedstock infrastructure

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, Alberta needs to diversify our markets. 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 such as 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 could 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 Energy Diversification Advisory Committee consisted of 2 co-chairs and 4 additional members with a diverse range of expertise.

  • Photo of Jessica Patell

    Jeanette Patell, Co-chair

    Jeanette 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 affecting the electricity, oil and gas sectors and trade and economic policy.

    Before joining GE, Jeanette was a diplomat with Global Affairs Canada.

  • Photo of Gil McGowan

    Gil McGowan, Co-chair

    Gil is the longest-serving president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. 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.

  • Photo of Carol Moen

    Carol Moen

    Carol 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.

    Her 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.

  • Photo of Marie Robidoux

    Marie C. Robidoux

    Marie 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.

  • Photo of Rocky Sinclair

    Rocky Sinclair

    Rocky 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.

  • Photo of Warren Fraleigh

    Warren Fraleigh

    Warren Fraleigh has served as the Executive Director for Haven, an educational institute registered with the BC Private Training Institutions Branch, since July 2017. 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, promoting the interests of over 75,000 tradespersons and 21 Local Unions.

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