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Canadian Fuels Association reports on refining sector performance

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Canadian Fuels Association has released its ‘Canada’s Refining Industry: 2015 Sector Performance Report’. The association represents the industry that produces, distributes and markets petroleum products in Canada – including 95% of the transportation fuels Canadians rely on to remain mobile and globally competitive.

The fuels sector contributes over CAN$5 billion to Canada’s GDP each year and employs more than 100 000 Canadians at 15 refineries, 70 fuel distribution terminals and approximately 12 000 retail and commercial sites throughout Canada.

Canada’s refining sector: key facts

  • 15 refineries located in 7 provinces.
  • Refinery employment, 2014: 19 000.
  • Total refining capacity, 2014: 1.873 million bpd.
  • Refined product exports, 2014: 26.9 billion l.
  • Product demand, 2014: 1.857 million bpd.
  • Refined product imports, 2014: 13.4 billion l.
  • GDP contribution, 2014: CAN$5.4 billion.
  • Total annual investments, 2014: CAN$1.5 billion.


Canadians pump over 208 million l of gasoline and diesel into their fuel tanks every day. To meet demand and to keep Canadians on the move, the country’s 15 refineries operate 24/7 to produce nearly 110 billion l of road, jet, rail and marine fuels, heating oil, lubricants and petrochemicals.

  • Canada is a net exporter of refined products – refinery capacity exceeds domestic demand, notably in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
  • An increase in freight transport is driving growth in diesel demand.
  • Refined petroleum products flow across both sides of the Canada – US border, adjusting to demand and market conditions.


The Canadian Fuels Association’s member companies are leaders in industrial safety management, and have among the best safety records of any manufacturing industry in Canada. Since 2000, total recordable injuries for refinery employees have decreased by 62%.


Canadian Fuels members are working to get greener every year. Since 2000, members have invested over CAN$10 billion to improve the environmental performance of their refineries and the fuels they produce, including CAN$5 billion to significantly reduce sulfur in gasoline and diesel.

Canadian Fuels and its members work closely with communities to help give surplus sites a second life. Since 2009, members have remediated 1137 surplus sites, making them available for industrial, recreational, residential, or commercial use.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Canadians, as well as governments at all levels, are increasingly concerned by the challenge of mitigating climate change. Canada’s refiners account for 2.5% of the country’s total GHG emissions and are committed to doing their part to reduce them.

The sector’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been reduced by 12% since 1990 – all while the refining process has become increasingly intensified to meet stringent fuel quality standards. One way to reduce GHG emissions is to decrease energy use. Energy fuel consumption at Canadian refineries has decreased by more than 19% since 2008.

Air emissions

Canada’s refining sector can help improve air quality on two fronts – decreasing emissions at refineries, and producing cleaner fuels. Refiners are continuously looking at ways to improve their processes – leading to significant improvements in air emissions at facilities.


Years of commitment to continuous improvement in how the industry uses water have paid off: refiners need less water to process a barrel of crude oil, and water is returned to the environment in a cleaner state. Water intake is down 37% since 2005.

Fuel quality

Fuels have changed significantly in the past decades. Lead was entirely phased out of gasoline and benzene was cut to less than 1% of volume. Refiners have invested over CAN$5 billion to cut sulfur to less than 30 ppm in gasoline and less than 15 ppm in diesel. The new regulation enacted in 2015 will further reduce sulfur in gasoline to 10 ppm.

Refining sector economic indicators

A competitive refining sector is a key contributor to a strong Canadian economy, adding over CAN$5 billion to the country’s GDP each year.

Canadian refiners have invested nearly CAN$22 billion in structures, machinery and equipment since 1991. That’s an average of more than CAN$2.2 billion a year over the last 10 years.

Canada’s fuel refining and distribution sector employs over 115 000 workers, including over 19 000 at refineries, more than 15 600 at fuel distribution terminals and nearly 81 000 at retail sites.

Access the ‘Canada’s Refining Industry: 2015 Sector Performance Report’ report in full here.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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