Imperial Oil gives OK to $720M renewable diesel project near Edmonton
Imperial Oil Ltd. is going ahead with a $720-million project to build a renewable diesel facility at its Strathcona refinery near Edmonton.
The project, first announced in August 2021, is expected to produce 20,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel once it is complete.
That will make it the largest facility of its kind in Canada, upon its expected completion in 2025, and one of the largest renewable diesel complexes in North America.
"We would consider ourselves world-class. When you look around the world, there are not many (renewable diesel) plants at 20,000 barrels per day or higher," said Jon Wetmore, Imperial's vice-president for downstream, in an interview Thursday.
Renewable diesel is the term given to a biomass-based fuel that is chemically equivalent to petroleum diesel. This means it can be transported directly in petroleum pipelines or sold at retail stations without any infrastructure modifications or fuel blending.
Renewable diesel can be made from vegetable oil, animal fats, used cooking oil or even algae. In Imperial's case, the Strathcona refinery facility will use locally sourced vegetable oils — such as canola, soybean and sunflower.
Imperial will also be partnering with Pennsylvania-based Air Products — which is building a hydrogen facility near Edmonton — to supply hydrogen via pipeline to the Strathcona refinery. The low-carbon hydrogen will also be used in the production of the renewable diesel.
As a non-fossil fuel-based product, the renewable diesel produced at the Imperial facility is expected to reduce annual greenhouse emissions by about three million tonnes compared to conventional fuels, the company said.
A significant portion of the production from the Strathcona renewable diesel facility will be sent to British Columbia to support the province’s plan to lower carbon emissions, and the company also plans to use renewable diesel in its own operations as part of its emission reduction plans.
The facility's construction will create about 600 direct construction jobs, Imperial said.
"A big day for Alberta, for Canada, and above all for workers with this new step forward from Imperial Oil," federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said on Twitter.
"This investment will create and support jobs, lower emissions, and help ensure Canada’s economic prosperity."
The news was also praised by clean energy think-tank the Pembina Institute, which called it a "positive announcement."
Pembina, as well as other environmental organizations, has been critical of the Canadian oilsands industry over the last year for what the think-tank believes is the industry's failure to move quickly on decarbonization plans during a period of high commodity prices and record profits for oil companies.
Imperial, for example, reported its 2022 third-quarter profit more than doubled compared with a year ago, totalling $2.03 billion — an impressive figure that's been used as ammunition by critics who believe the company, and others like it, can afford to invest more into environmental initiatives.
Imperial is also a member of the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of oil and gas companies that have committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from operations by 2050. Among that group's proposals is a massive carbon capture and storage network in northern Alberta, though a final investment decision for that project has not yet been made.
Jan Gorski, the Pembina Institute's oil and gas program director, said in order to thrive in a net-zero world, Canadian energy companies need to diversify away from fossil fuels, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of their oil and gas production methods.
The renewable diesel announcement, Gorski said, falls into that first category.
"It's a perfect example of that," Gorski said. "But we’re still waiting to see investments in reducing emissions from their existing operations."
Wetmore said from Imperial's perspective, renewable diesel is just one piece within a "layered" emissions reduction challenge.
“Decarbonization is such a diverse set of issues that there is no one item here that is a silver bullet that can be done quickly and easily," he said. "If that was the case, the oil industry would have already moved on to the very, quick urgent projects that we could drive home very quickly.
"(Renewable diesel) can be implemented sooner than things like carbon capture, and some of the technologies that are not quite ready."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canada makes amendments to foreign homebuyers ban – here's what they look like
Months after Canada's ban on foreign homebuyers took effect on Jan. 1, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has made several amendments to the legislation allowing non-Canadians to purchase residential properties in certain circumstances.
'Leave this with me': Alberta premier heard on call with COVID-19 protester
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, in a leaked cellphone call, commiserated with a COVID-19 protester about his trial while divulging to him there was an internal dispute over how Crown prosecutors were handling COVID-19 cases.
What is the grocery rebate in federal budget 2023? Key questions, answered
To help offset rising living expenses, the Government of Canada has introduced a one-time grocery rebate for low- and modest-income Canadians. Here is what we know about the rebate.
Spending to increase economic capacity is fiscally responsible, Freeland says in post-budget defence
Defending her latest federal budget, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said spending that increases economic capacity is fiscally responsible.
Victim of Vancouver stabbing had asked man not to vape near toddler, says grieving mom
The family of a 37-year-old man who was stabbed to death in Vancouver last weekend says he was attacked after asking someone not to vape near his young daughter.
From royal titles to animal testing: The law changes coming in the budget bill
The 2023 federal budget released this week includes a series of affordability measures, tax changes, and major spends on health care and the clean economy. But, tucked into the 255-page document are a series of smaller items you may have missed.
opinion | Don Martin's sorry-to-be-cynical prediction on the federal budget
The only thing most Canadians will remember about the budget this time next week is how the booze tax increase was reduced to two per cent from six, writes Don Martin in a column for CTVNews.ca.
RCMP interviewing Canadians held in detention camps in Syria: sources
CTV News has learned that RCMP officers are currently in northeast Syria, interviewing Canadians held in detention camps in order to bring them back to Canada. The three Mounties have so far interviewed only Canadian women in Al-Roj camp.
Actress Melissa Joan Hart describes helping children flee campus after Nashville school shooting
Actress Melissa Joan Hart says she was near Nashville's Covenant School soon after Monday's deadly shooting of six people, including three children, and helped some students get away from the scene.
‘I started breaking down:’ Friends remember 15-year-old homicide victim
A 15-year-old girl shot to death in the community of Martindale early Tuesday morning, has now been identified by friends and police as Sarah Alexis Jorquera.
Calgary archaeologist launches foundation to support female field researchers
A Calgary archaeologist wants to help more women get out in the field by launching the Fair Field Foundation, an organization to break barriers women often face.
Online video between Danielle Smith and Artur Pawlowski raises questions over interference
In an online video, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is heard speaking with outspoken Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski, creating questions about her influence on Alberta court cases.
Saskatoon police release video of 3 people placing 'large container' in dumpster where body was found
Saskatoon Police Service is asking for the public’s help in identifying three individuals they believe are connected to a suspicious death.
Dog that attacked five-year-old Saskatoon boy involved in three other attacks
CTV News has learned a dog that attacked a five-year-old boy last week had been declared dangerous in February 2022, but the city had lost track of the owner a year ago.
Saskatoon will have its own baseball team in 2024
A Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) team will take to the field in Saskatoon in 2024.
Saskatchewan to spend $6 million for some hip and knee surgeries in Calgary
The Saskatchewan government is set to spend up to $6 million to send patients to Calgary for hip and knee surgeries.
Regina police watching for highly potent 'tranq dope' in local drug seizures
Police in Regina are on the lookout for xylazine, a dangerous animal tranquilizer spreading into Canada's illegal opioid supply.
Evan Bray retiring as Chief of Regina Police Service after 28 years with RPS
Regina's Chief of Police Evan Bray has announced his retirement from policing, but said he plans to pursue other opportunities in the future.
N.S. mass shooting inquiry report must deliver 'clear commentary': family lawyer
A lawyer who represents Nova Scotia mass shooting victims' families said in an interview they are hoping "for clear commentary on what things went wrong and what things ought to have been done better or differently."
Cold front to sweep mix of snow, rain across the Maritimes Thursday
A low-pressure system moving north of the St. Lawrence River valley will sweep a cold front across the Maritimes on Thursday.
How Portapique residents past and present are dealing with reminders of the 2020 mass shooting
The eve of the release of the final report from the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting is a reminder for residents of Portapique of their small community’s traumatic past.
Toronto police officer accused of failing to properly investigate woman's 'repeated pleas' for help before her murder
A Toronto police officer is facing disciplinary charges after he allegedly failed to 'conduct a sufficient investigation' into a woman's 'repeated pleas' for help with an ex-boyfriend that she had come to fear, just days prior to her murder.
'What motivates someone to do this?' Meat left in Mississauga, Ont. parks in apparent attempts to feed wild animals
Large amounts of meat are being left in public parks across Mississauga in an apparent attempt to feed wild animals and officials say that they are growing increasingly concerned about the practice.
A rare weather phenomenon strikes southern Ontario again
Thundersnow has struck southern Ontario for a second time this month.
Bill 15: Quebec tables legislation to overhaul health system
The CAQ government has unveiled its long-promised plan to improve Quebec's public health network. Tabled at the Quebec legislature Wednesday by Health Minister Christian Dubé, Bill 15 promises a major shakeup.
'I lost a brother': Funeral held for teen who died in Old Montreal fire
Almost two weeks after his death, a funeral was held in Laval Wednesday for a teenager who died in the fire in Old Montreal.
Quebec's health-care reform plan draws backlash from
Quebec's sweeping new health-care plan—Bill 15—drew mixed reaction following its announcement Wednesday. Several health-care professionals say it's a massive undertaking—especially for a health minister who initially said he didn't want reform.
LRT | Stage 2 of Ottawa LRT faces further delay
The long-awaited southern extension to Ottawa's light rail network is facing a further delay, a city committee heard Wednesday.
WEATHER | Cold front could bring brief burst of heavy snow Wednesday
Environment Canada says a sharp cold front is expected to move through eastern Ontario Wednesday, which could bring a blast of heavy snow.
Meet Zedd! CHEO's new therapeutic clown
CHEO introduced its new therapeutic clown to patients and the public on Wednesday. Zedd takes over for Mollypenny, who retired last year.
'Fairly emotional for everybody': Teen struck by LRT visits emergency crews who rescued him
Several weeks after a teen was stuck under an LRT train in Kitchener, he’s now up and walking and visited the emergency crews who helped rescue him.
Cambridge municipal election candidate suing city after names left off ballot
A retired political science professor says he was “stunned” by the way the Cambridge municipal election unfolded.
Businesses weigh in on government’s plan to reduce credit card fees
The federal government is touting plans to help small businesses by reducing credit card fees, but some local merchants say while they welcome the measure, the actual impact it will have on their operations will be minimal.
Northern Ont. family ‘ecstatic’ as 25-year-old murder mystery finally solved
Robert Steven Wright was convicted Wednesday of murdering Renee Sweeney, a little more than 25 years after her brutal killing shocked the community.
BREAKING | Robert Steven Wright found guilty in Renee Sweeney murder
CTV News has learned the jury in the Robert Steven Wright has found him guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Renee Sweeney in Sudbury on Jan. 27, 1998.
Driver caught travelling 200km/hr on major Ontario highway
A 20-year-old has been charged with careless driving after travelling double the speed limit on a major Ontario highway.
Manitobans should prepare for a gas price hike according to an expert
Come the weekend, Manitobans will be paying more for gas and the price could climb even higher in the coming weeks and months according to a gas expert.
Brandon pauses city plan open houses over 'inappropriate and unsafe behaviour'
The City of Brandon has paused its public consultation on its 30-year plan for the city due to 'inappropriate and unsafe behaviour' from some residents.
Missing teen possibly seen in Selkirk: RCMP
RCMP is asking for the public’s help to find a missing 15-year-old teenager from the RM of St. Clements, saying they’re concerned for her well-being.
RCMP arrest 5 while executing search warrant at Wet'suwet'en protest camp
RCMP officers executed a search warrant at a protest camp on Wet'suwet'en traditional territory near the under-construction Coastal GasLink pipeline Wednesday.
Woman hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after being hit by vehicle in East Vancouver: VPD
A 40-year-old woman is in critical condition in hospital after being hit by a vehicle in East Vancouver Tuesday night.
'Something isn't working in the system’: VPD operation highlights concerning shoplifting trends
During a three-week operation dubbed Project Barcode, Vancouver police say they made 217 arrests and recovered nearly $80,000 in stolen merchandise.
IIO investigating after man driving construction vehicle shot, seriously injured by police in Duncan, B.C.
A man was taken to hospital with serious injuries following a police shooting in Duncan, B.C., on Tuesday evening.
Police investigating 'targeted' attempted arson at home in Saanich
Police are investigating what they believe was a targeted arson attack at a home north of Victoria.
B.C. parents win battle to put son's Indigenous name on his birth certificate
After 13 months of fighting, the parents of a Campbell River, B.C., boy have received a birth certificate that accurately reflects the spelling of his name.