6 massive construction projects planned for Alberta

There are billions and billions of dollars on the line for projects in the prairies. And not all of them are energy-related, including the largest project currently being planned.

A rendering of a Green Line station.

A rendering shows the design of a transit station for Calgary’s Green Line.

6. The Aspen Oil Sands ($2.6 billion)

The Aspen Oil Sands project is a proposed in-situ steam assisted gravity drainage oil sands project. Aspen would produce up to 150,000 barrels of bitumen a day (bpd), making it one of Imperial’s largest oil sources. The output would be achieved with two phases. Final investment decision was approved in November 2018 for the first phase, which will build 75,000 bpd of capacity. However, the project was deferred in November 2019.

5. Mildred Lake Extension ($3.3 billion) 

Sometimes it’s just about keeping the status quo. The Mildred Lake Extension (MLX) project in the rural municipality of Wood Buffalo is being planned to help maintain Syncrude’s current production levels by extending the life of our North Mine. It received regulatory approval in 2019 and is expected to be operational by the mid-2020s. The project consists of two mine sites – MLX West, located northwest of the current North Mine and west of the MacKay River; and MLX East, located on the east side of the Mildred Lake Settling Basin.

4. Nauticol Energy Net-Zero Blue Methanol Project ($4 billion)

This project is looking to use some blue to go green. The Grande Prairie project is expected to produce 3.4 million metric tonnes of net-zero blue methanol annually, creating a low-carbon value-added product from the abundant natural gas production in the Peace Region and incorporating best-in-class 90%+ precombustion carbon capture.  The project will support 5,000 construction jobs, 1,260 permanent direct and indirect jobs, and provide sustained Indigenous and community economic benefits over its 35+ year life.

3. Suncor Base Mine Extension ($4.4 billion)

It’s out with the old and in with the new. The Suncor Base Mine Extension Project, formerly known as Voyageur South Mine, is being planned to replace existing feed from Suncors North Steepbank Extension mine when it is depleted. The Wood Buffallo-area mine is expected to produce up to 250,000 barrels per day of bitumen during its estimated 28-year operational life.

2. Green Line LRT Stage 1 ($5.5 billion)

Calgary is looking to significantly expand its transit options. The green line LRT project, stage 1, will feature the southern leg from Shepard, up until 16th Avenue NW. A total of 15 stations are planned on 20 kilometers of the new track. The city recently announced that Bow Transit Connectors and City Link Partners have been invited to move forward to the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage.

1. Edmonton-Calgary High Speed Rail ($9 billion)

This line could turn a three hour drive into a 45 minute train ride. Prairie Link Rail Partnership (EllisDon and AECOM) is proposing to build a 400 km/h rail link between the two Alberta cities to transport passengers and freight. Last summer, the project team  announced an MOU with Alberta Transportation. The private sector-initiated unsolicited P3 proposal being evaluated by the province under an unsolicited framework process.


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