The uses of oil and gas go far beyond transportation fuels or heating and powering homes, businesses, and industries. Chemical products derived from petroleum sources can be turned into an abundant variety of products around the world. 

Global Demand for Petrochemicals is Growing

As oil and natural gas are refined and processed, they can be broken down into their components—valuable building blocks for several essential products like ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea and methanol. These can be used to manufacture plastics, fertilizers, pesticides, fuel additives, textile fibres, pharmaceuticals, soap, detergents and much more.

Petrochemical end products

A cornerstone Canadian industry

Canada’s petrochemical industry makes significant contributions to the country’s economy, trade balance, employment and manufacturing capabilities. Alberta is Canada’s leading petrochemical manufacturer. The province produces invaluable building blocks including ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea, and methanol which are then used to manufacture plastics, fertilizers, pesticides, fuel additives, textile fibres, pharmaceuticals, soap, detergents and more. With an abundant supply of natural gas for feedstock, Alberta is home to two of the world’s largest ethane cracking plants. 

Energy sector crossover

Throughout the energy industry, multiple sectors overlap in a network of values, skills and economy—petrochemicals is no different. Petrochemical manufacturing relies on oil and gas production, but the crossover doesn’t stop there. Like other hydrocarbon-related industries, the petrochemical manufacturing industry prioritizes cost and carbon-competitiveness to address environmental commitments. This creates more demand for high-tech digitization and automation and cleantech solutions, reinforcing the need for an industry-wide wholistic approach.


Working in petrochemicals

There is a diverse range of career opportunities in this industry for individuals with backgrounds in engineering, chemistry, operations, management, environmental science and more. As the sector evolves, new roles related to sustainability, innovation and emerging technologies will become even more prominent.

An increased demand for petrochemicals is creating career opportunities in upstream and industrial construction. With new petrochemical projects planned across Western Canada, workers can apply their knowledge of oil and gas operations and processes within larger companies offering safety-sensitive work environments.

Day in the Life

Skylar Operations Technician, Inter Pipeline

Meet Skylar, an Operations Technician who upskilled from working on the rigs to working in the emerging and fast-growing petrochemicals sector.

Read Skylar's story

“The career change I made was difficult, but I would do it a hundred times over.”