Maximizing Resources

Be it dedicated people, creative ideas, distinct raw materials or finished signature products, our region is teeming with value.

As Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing centre, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is home to more than 40 oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical companies. Over the last few decades, these companies have continued to draw attention for industry leadership, innovative product advances, and novel partnerships that enhance results.

The Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) is proud to support synergy and success in the Heartland. Established in 2001, and building on the earlier work of the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association, NCIA recognizes the benefits of partnership and the value of collaboration.

Collective Efforts

The Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) is a not-for-profit cooperative representing industry in the City of Fort Saskatchewan, and Strathcona, Sturgeon and Lamont counties. We work with our member companies, government and local residents to promote sustainable industrial growth and community well-being in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland through environmental, socio-economic and public safety initiatives.

Click here for a complete list of member companies.

Message from the Chair

We are pleased to share our Annual Report with Heartland residents and businesses. Although 2016 will be remembered by many as an extremely challenging year, it also provided an opportunity for Albertans to demonstrate our remarkable spirit, tenacity and resilience.

Across the region, we witnessed an uncanny ability to navigate unfavourable economic conditions, to work collaboratively and to identify and seize opportunities for improvement. The distance travelled and achievements realized despite the clear hardships are certainly a testament to the strength and resolve of our region.

NCIA is proud of the progress made by all of our members, partners and communities in 2016. We continue to see the great potential in Alberta’s Heartland and are looking forward to a much brighter year ahead.

Jarrod Beztilny
NCIA Board Chair

Message from the Executive Director

For over three decades, NCIA has been working with stakeholders in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and beyond.

In this time, the region has continued to evolve, key issues have surfaced and been addressed, and our membership has been strengthened with new knowledge and experiences.

NCIA has had the opportunity to progress a wide cross-section of initiatives that are continuing to deliver benefit to the people, communities and businesses that call this great region home. This is our privilege and responsibility.

We recognize that collaboration is integral to our region’s livelihood and success. The difficult terrain navigated by so many over the last couple of years has reinforced the value of our partnerships, shared priorities and joint efforts.

The initiatives showcased in this report and the milestones achieved in 2016, are a direct reflection of a shared commitment by all our members to regional sustainability and success. NCIA is indeed fortunate to work with such incredible partners and we are pleased to share our progress with you today.

Dr. Laurie Danielson
NCIA Executive Director

Habitat for Humanity: Helping to Build More Resilient Communities

Throughout the fall, Alberta Operations employees volunteered at Habitat for Humanity build sites in the Cities of Fort Saskatchewan and Lacombe.

Thirty-five employees braved the mud (in Fort Saskatchewan) and the snow (in Lacombe) to volunteer and help to build more resilient communities where Dow operates.

“Dow’s support for our local community through our partnership with Habitat for Humanity is wonderful,” said Stephen Tong, Maintenance Leader at Prentiss and Dow’s Habitat Ambassador. “The engagement from our Dow build team volunteers is tremendous and something we can all be very proud of.”

Dow Habitat Ambassadors at Alberta Operations help to coordinate the volunteer build days and represent Dow at various Habitat events in the local community.

“One of my favourite experiences as a Dow employee was attending a Habitat key ceremony where I had the privilege to represent Dow and present a young family with the keys to their new home,” said Tong.  “It was very special as our Dow team had worked on the building complex earlier in the year.”

The Habitat homes currently being built in Fort Saskatchewan and Lacombe are part of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. This will be the biggest build project for Habitat for Humanity Canada – 150 homes in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Dow Canada is proud to support this project through employee volunteerism, gift-in-kind donations, and funding. Employees from the City of Fort Saskatchewan and Shell also supported the local builds.

Promising Road Ahead

There is nothing like a road trip to bring people together. With that in mind, this past year, NCIA organized a bus tour for its members and a number of senior government representatives from Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP).

The adventure started in Edmonton when 22 people set off on a guided Heartland tour complete with visits to some of the region’s signature industrial assets. The first stop was the North West Redwater Partnership (NWRP) site in Sturgeon County where roadtrippers learned about various leading-edge environmental management initiatives that have been incorporated into Alberta’s newest stand-alone refinery. Next on the list was a visit to Shell Scotford. This site is home to an Upgrader, Chemical plant, Refinery as well as Cogeneration plant – all of which have a combined footprint comparable in size to downtown Calgary.

With a steady stream of facts, new information and much travelling time in between facilities, there were ample opportunities to learn more about the region and to engage in productive dialogue.

“Unless you have physically travelled through the area, it is difficult to fully appreciate the value of the Heartland,” says Dr. Laurie Danielson, Executive Director NCIA. “The infrastructure investment and the facilities are indeed a sight to behold.”

Throughout the tour, continued regional prosperity was emphasized. NCIA raised specific challenges associated with current market conditions as well as the importance of alignment of policy expectations between Alberta and the Federal Government. Recognizing the number of operating renewal applications slated for submission to the Ministry of Environment and Parks (AEP) in the future, NCIA also queried proactive measures that may help build capacity and strengthen relationships.

“We know that over the next two years, we will have nearly 20 industry requests that will require action,” explains Danielson. “Our hope is that by working together, we can help ensure the process is both smooth and timely. This recent trip with the AEP and our members certainly marks the beginning of an exciting and collaborative road ahead.”

Collaborative Action

As one of the largest pieces of legislation in Alberta, the Municipal Government Act (MGA) impacts individuals, businesses and communities alike. It is essentially the guide to how our province’s municipalities operate so it is important that it remains relevant.

Earlier this year, the Alberta Government wrapped up their multi-stakeholder review of the legislation. The process, which began in February 2014 explored issues around:

  1. Planning and development
  2. Governance and administration
  3. Assessment and taxation.

During the review, NCIA took every opportunity to clearly articulate industry’s unique position on a number of issues.

Throughout the MGA process, we shared our expertise, conveyed relevant data and voiced concerns. We did our best to advocate for an outcome that promotes a sustainable and vibrant region. While we have concerns about some of the policy decisions, we continue to be engaged with the province on the implementation pieces and believe that there is a path forward that will be fair and equitable for all.

Managing Environmental Impacts Is an Ongoing and Inclusive Effort


In the Capital Region (which includes Alberta’s Industrial Heartland) the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) indicate that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) may be presenting a challenge for our long term air quality. Natural events such as forest fires, as well as factors such as vehicle exhaust pollution, industrial emissions and urbanization all affect air quality. More specifically, we know that reactions in the atmosphere with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from vehicle emissions, home heating emissions and industrial emissions are the primary cause of the fine particulate matter in our region.

Maintaining clean air in our region is a shared responsibility with those who have an impact on our air. That includes industry and individuals. Local industry is working with the province and other stakeholders to understand and manage this issue. The focus of that work for industry is looking at NOx emissions and identifying opportunities to reduce those emissions over time either through process improvements or technology upgrades.


The North Saskatchewan River is very important to our wellbeing and way of life. With that in mind, it is important to manage what we put into the river to ensure that the river ecosystem continues to be healthy for many years to come. Local industry has a shared interest with government in maintaining or improving water quality in the North Saskatchewan River. Both municipalities and industry (who discharge to the river) within the Capital Region have been working with the province and other stakeholders to complete very detailed effluent characterization studies. Those studies are nearing completion and the results from that work will help us to identify opportunities for improvement that are necessary to maintain the health of the river ecosystem.

Partnering for Success

The notion that two heads are better than one or that many hands make light work is nothing new. In fact, the value of partnership has been quite clear to the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) for some time.

NCIA has been harnessing the collective knowledge, goodwill, and expertise of its 23 member companies for more than a decade. Serving as a common voice for industry, NCIA has made great progress, bringing people together on shared issues and supporting the continued development of a sustainable, vibrant and productive community.

The group has been a catalyst for collaborative work and partnerships that are making a profound difference in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. An example of this can be found in an innovative 10-year agreement between Aux Sable and Shell Canada.

Launched in late 2011, the Offgas Processing Agreement ensures a long-term feedstock source for Aux Sable and is helping Shell to reduce its environmental footprint. The collaboration is mutually beneficial. Shell supplies the necessary upgrader and refinery offgas while Aux Sable transforms it by removing contaminants and NGLs and to produce hydrogen, ethane, residue gas, and a propane-plus mix. All of the products are then returned via a 3 km pipeline to Shell.

“What we are doing essentially is taking a waste by-product and turning it into a valuable feedstock,” explains Operations Superintendent, Colin McEwen. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting the most out of our resources.”

While in the past, many companies have used offgas to fuel their operations; Aux Sable now provides a more environmentally friendly alternative. The switch to a cleaner burning natural gas is good news. This move has helped Shell avoid close to 125,000 tonnes of potential CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of about 30,000 cars.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation – Building Heartland Connections

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has grown significantly since its inception in the 1950’s. Now stretching nearly 600 square kilometres, and employing more than 7,000 people, it is easy to see why the region is truly Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing hub.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation is one of the many leading-edge companies that established roots in the area long ago and sees tremendous value in expanding its local operations.

“Our company has steadily been progressing a number of key infrastructure projects that will optimize regional performance and create new partnership opportunities,” says Bob Jones, Pembina’s Vice President, Midstream – Crude Oil and Condensate.

In May 2016, the company announced it had received regulatory and environmental approvals to move forward with the planned construction of the Canadian Diluent Hub (CDH), a large-scale condensate and diluent terminal to be located at its Heartland Terminal site near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

Once operational, Pembina’s CDH is expected to be a primary access point for oilsands producers to source a significant and growing supply of domestically produced condensate from the Montney, Deep Basin and Duvernay resource plays, which the company supports via its network of gas processing facilities, gathering pipeline infrastructure and fractionation plants.

“The CDH development represents a $250 million dollar investment in the Heartland,” says Bob. “This new hub will include around 500,000 barrels of above ground storage, multiple inbound and outbound pipeline connections, and associated pumping and metering facilities.”

Take-away capacity is also anticipated to be significant with more than 400,000 barrels per day able to be delivered to third-party diluent pipelines including IPL Polaris pipeline system, Access pipeline, IPL Cold Lake pipeline and Keyera FSPL, with planned future connectivity to other key area pipelines.

Indeed, 2016 has been a productive year for the company who kicked off CDH construction just a few weeks after bringing into service its second 73,000 barrel per day fractionator at its Redwater site across the river.

“The CDH investment is key because it builds on the momentum of our ongoing work at our Redwater site and adds value to our surrounding partners,” says Bob. “Ultimately our goal is to boost local operations and enhance capacity in the Heartland.”

Pembina expects CDH to become a new market hub for condensate and other diluents by offering customers:

  • direct access to a growing and diverse diluent supply through Pembina and third-party pipeline connections;
  • direct connectivity to third-party market terminals and pipelines that supply and serve oil sands producers;
  • marketing services to facilitate supply aggregation; and
  • above ground and cavern storage services.

We’re in This Together

With so many industry-leading companies calling the region home, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland offers unmatched industrial synergy, partnership opportunities and potential.

NCIA recognizes that we are most effective when we harness our energy to achieve the shared impact we all desire. Working together, we are ensuring sustainable development, environmental stewardship and the ongoing health, safety and prosperity of our community.