Oil refining and natural gas cracking is a significant industry in Canada with numerous refineries nationwide. Refining converts crude oil and natural gas into usable products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil and other petroleum-based products.

Refining: Turning Oil and Natural Gas into Essential Energy Sources and Products We Rely on Every Day

Refined petroleum products are essential to modern society, playing a crucial role in virtually every aspect of daily life, industry, transportation and economic development. They are not only a vital fuel source for vehicles, power generation, and heating and cooling, but also key components in over 6,000 everyday products, from paint brushes and adhesives to medical equipment and footwear.

What is refining?

Refining is a multi-step process consisting of distillation, cracking and reforming. Distillation separates crude oil is separated based on the boiling points of its components. Cracking breaks large hydrocarbons down into smaller ones, and reforming rearranges those hydrocarbon molecules to produce higher-value products.

Did you know?

Canada’s refining industry is primarily concentrated in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick with most of the country’s refineries located in these provinces. Alberta is Canada’s largest refining hub—its refineries mostly process crude oil from the oil sands.

Canada’s refineries

Working in refining

As the energy landscape evolves and focuses more on sustainability, roles related to renewable energy integration, carbon capture technologies and circular economy practices will evolve with it. Engineers, technicians, operators, technologists and labourers will be needed along with environmental, logistical and regulatory specialists, business and data analysts, and operations and sustainability managers.