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North West Upgrading

Brief description:


Country: Canada

Project type: Capture

Scale: Large

Status: Feed study

Year of operation 2015
Industry: Oil and gas processing

Capture method: Pre-combustion

New or retrofit: New
Transport of CO2 by: Pipeline

Type of storage: EOR

Volume: 1 200 000 tonnes/CO2

North West Upgrading and Canadian Natural Resources have created a partnership to construct and operate a bitumen refinery in Alberta. Each partner will own 50% of the initiative, with NWU acting as operator. The project is located around 45km north-east of Edmonton, immediately west of Agrium’s Redwater fertilizer operation in Sturgeon County.

The refinery, which is targeted to be built in three identical phases of 50,000 bpd, will be designed to produce finished products from raw bitumen. It represents the world’s first facility with a one-step conversion process of bitumen to finished products and an integrated CO2 management solution.

The process incorporates gasification to convert the bottom of the barrel to hydrogen and reduces the need for natural gas. Approximately 3,500 tonnes CO2 per day will be captured for each of the three targeted phases (1.2 million tonnes per year). CO2 from the facility will be used for enhanced oil recovery purposes, in the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) project.


The partnership approved the first phase of construction in November 2012. Phases 2 and 3 to follow in sequence. The refinery will take take three years to build, with above-ground work beginning in spring 2013. NWU has already completed a number of important steps, including regulatory approvals, and front end engineering and procurement of long-lead equipment.

NWU Schedule

NWU, webside, location and timing, July 2010.



NWU submitted a tender in January 2010 to the Government of Alberta regarding its bitumen royalty in kind (BRIK) initiativ. Alberta Government gets bitumen share of royalties from Alberta producers.


More information and Press release

Other News NWU

Companies involved