It is no secret that oil transportation infrastructure in North America is strained and Albertan oil is having a difficult time getting to market. Pipeline construction is chronically delayed and rail companies are running out of oil tank cars, but oil companies are considering a new route. Calumet Speciality Product Partners, an Indiana-based company, is planning to spend $20 million to upgrade a dock in Lake Superior to load bitumen onto barges and ship it through the lake system to other refineries. While approval for the project is far from certain, it does signal a trend in the industry.
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Alberta’s finance minister warns the bitumen bubble is “back from its holiday,” although the province is banking on getting an extra $1 billion in oilsands royalties this budget year due to strong commodity prices.
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It is a grandiose idea: Imagine if local processing of Alberta’s bitumen and conventional oil could increase to the point where it lessened the need for environmentally-disruptive takeaway pipeline infrastructure. The downstream diversification of the industry into the more value-added production of goods like diesel fuel and petrochemical products would generate significant economic benefits.
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B.C. and Alberta acknowledged Tuesday that if the Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain pipelines to the west coast are not built, rail will fill the “void” to the coast.
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EDMONTON – Alberta’s carbon dioxide pipeline project has nailed down solid dates for construction as its main gas supplier, the new Redwater bitumen refinery, gets rolling.
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OTTAWA – CN Rail, at the urging of Chinese-owned Nexen Inc., is considering shipping Alberta bitumen to Prince Rupert, B.C., by rail in quantities matching the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, documents show.
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The matron of northern Alberta’s oil sands country – Fort McMurray – envisions a future beyond energy for a community built on bitumen.
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EDMONTON – The so-called “bitumen bubble,” which was used to justify provincial cuts this spring, has burst, as Alberta bitumen passed the $85 per barrel mark this week.
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EDMONTON – Alberta is counting on pushing out foreign suppliers of heavy oil when large amounts of oilsands crude start hitting the U.S. Gulf Coast, but it will face stiff competition and may not even be welcome at some upgrading refineries.
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A family is blaming emissions from a nearby heavy oil production site for chasing them from their Peace Country home of seven years in northwestern Alberta.
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