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Image of map showing proximity of Edmonton to oilsands

Proximity to Resources Drives Enterprise

Driving Edmonton’s economic engine is its proximity to and connection with Alberta’s world-class energy and natural resources. 

As the major urban research, manufacturing, supply and service hub for Northern Alberta, Edmonton is home to a diversified base of business and industry selling to and servicing:

  • Alberta’s massive oil sands,
  • the oil and gas sector, 
  • agriculture, and 
  • forestry.

Oil Sands Continue to Drive National and provincial economic growth

Investment in Alberta’s oil sands continues to ramp up.  Highlights:

  • Oil prices are forecasted to remain within the $80 - $100 U.S./barrel range for the near future. (National Energy Board
  • Energy investment in Alberta could cumulatively surpass $100 billion over the medium term. (Conference Board of Canada Metropolitan Outlook Winter/Spring 2012) 
  • With this driver, Alberta is projected to lead Canada with a forecasted GDP growth of 3.5% for the next three years, with the Edmonton CMA forecasted to grow between 3.6% and 3.8% over the period of 2012-2016 (City of Edmonton Economic Outlook)

Indicators of continuing strength:

  • The modest signs of economic improvement from the U.S. bode well for Alberta – the primary supplier of U.S. energy.
  • Both Canada and Alberta have placed growing emphasis on increasing exports to Asia – particularly China.
  • Several major pipeline projects are in the review and approval stage providing additional capacity to move oil and gas to market.

In addition to primary energy exports, much of this growth will come from:

  • manufacturing, petrochemical production,
  • engineering technology, and 
  • the supply and service sectors. 

With the Northwest Redwater Partnership in the greater Edmonton area and the Government of Alberta’s value-added processing of key resources, recent research completed by Alberta’s Industrial Heartland highlights that there are strong business opportunities in the processing of petroleum off gases, particularly ethane, ethylene and propylene derivatives.

Alberta’s natural gas industry

  • Natural gas offers an important feedstock for Alberta’s petrochemical industry, a key strength in Edmonton’s economy.  It also offers a low cost fuel alternative.
  • Natural gas prices are projected to remain in the $2.75 – 3.25/GJ range for the next couple of years. (National Energy Board)
  • Alberta’s secure supply and this price level contribute to an attractive business case for more value-added processing of key derivatives such as methanol, ammonia and urea. (Alberta's Industrial Heartland)

This, coupled with the potential to produce other derivative products such as ethane/propane and ethylene and propylene, highlights the range of industrial processing opportunities available in the Edmonton area for the near future.

For More Information

Kent McMullin

Economic Investment and Development
Regional and Economic Development
9th Floor, Edmonton Tower
10111-104 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 0J4

Title Senior Business Strategist


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