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Alberta government plans to invest $1 billion on bitumen upgrading projects 

Syncrude's Mildred Lake plant in the Athabasca Oil Sands. Wikipedia photo
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EDMONTON, A.B. — Alberta is investing $1 billion in oilsands bitumen upgrading to get a bigger bang for the buck on its oil.

Premier Rachel Notley says the money will be used for loan guarantees and grants to attract anywhere from two to five partial oil upgrading facilities – resulting in $5 billion of private investment.

The project will begin in 2019 and last for eight years.

The goal is to have Alberta’s thick bitumen upgraded in the province so that more of it can flow through pipelines, leading to an increase in volume and sales.

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It’s expected to free up 30 percent of pipeline capacity at a time when bottlenecks are causing Alberta crude to sell at a steep discount on the North American market.

The decision follows a recommendation from the government’s energy diversification advisory committee.

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