From CBC News
They say necessity is the mother of invention.
Alberta is struggling to get its oil to market. It’s been a challenge to get a new export pipeline built. So why not try to squeeze more oil through existing pipelines. That is probably the most notable change suggested in the recent Alberta royalty review. It’s also the section left incomplete as the panel members ran out of time.
The panel argued that one of the best ways to increase royalties would be to create a market for natural gas inside the province and, at the same time, possibly free up coveted space in oil export pipelines.
The royalty review report suggests using natural gas to partially upgrade oilsands bitumen to remove some of the heaviest elements of the material. The process would allow bitumen to flow easier in a pipeline with little or no diluent, the substance currently used to improve the movement of bitumen. Partial upgrading would increase the capacity of export pipelines by as much as 30 per cent, the portion taken up by diluent.