Sturgeon Refinery construction complete, next stage bitumen in

NWR CEO Ian MacGregor. Image: Deborah Jaremko/JWN

All hands are on commissioning at the Sturgeon Refinery with construction officially complete, according to the North West Redwater Partnership (NWR).

All of the refinery’s 10 large specialized units are now constructed, with commissioning at various stages across the facility. In a staggered approach similar to its construction strategy, some units are finished commissioning while others have just begun, the company says.

The refinery has been operating since December 2017, processing synthetic crude into diesel. This is possible without construction being complete, NWR says, because only two thirds of the refinery’s units are needed to produce diesel using synthetic crude oil as a feedstock. “Because synthetic crude is a partially upgraded feedstock, it has already undergone some processing. The Sturgeon Refinery has used this partially upgraded feedstock as part of the commissioning and start up process for the majority of the units, resulting in a steady production of diesel for our customers for the past several months,” the company says.

The project is designed to produce ultra low sulphur diesel using bitumen as feedstock.

“Now that construction is complete, and commissioning is well underway, the refinery will be switched over from synthetic crude to bitumen feedstock in the coming months,” NWR says. “This will be the next major milestone – refining Alberta’s low value bitumen into much higher value diesel.”

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