Status: The call for applications closed Sept. 4, 2018. Initial screening is underway.
Ministry responsible: Energy


The Partial Upgrading Program will provide up to $1 billion in grants and loan guarantees to encourage companies to build 2 to 5 bitumen upgrading facilities to:

  • increase the value of our energy resources before shipping
  • allow more volume to be shipped through pipelines

Partial upgrading reduces the thickness of oil sands bitumen so it can flow through pipelines more easily, without having to be blended with diluent, or as much diluent, a thinning agent. Benefits include:

  • higher prices for our resources
  • more access to international markets
  • cost savings on diluent for industry
  • less emissions by removing high carbon content

Partial upgrading is cheaper to do than full upgrading because it requires less processing. This results in lower capital costs to build the facilities. It will not limit future opportunities for full refining in Alberta.

This program is one of the 3 pillars of the Energy Diversification Act. The other two programs are:

How it works

The program will support 2 to 5 projects to develop this emerging technology in Alberta by proving up to $1 billion in financial incentives, including:

  • up to $200 million in grants
  • up to $800 million in loan guarantees

How to apply

The call for applications is now closed and initial screening is underway. The deadline was September 4, 2018.

Review the application guidelines for information on eligible projects, financial incentives and application requirements.

After you apply

Applications will be reviewed with a third-party monitor to ensure a fair and transparent evaluation process.

Applications that pass the initial screening criteria will be evaluated against a set of 8 major criteria. Applications will be ranked by performance.

The top ranked projects may then be engaged in negotiations to be considered for approval under the program.

The approved projects may be announced in late 2018.