By Sarah HaganOctober 05, 2018, 7:40:01For the second consecutive month, aluminum oxide (AO) production in Canada’s oil sands rose by 8 per cent.
AO has been one of the main culprits in oil spills and environmental destruction in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
It’s been estimated that it contributes to up to a third of the carbon emissions from oil sands.
The numbers released Monday were up a bit from the year-earlier data released last month, when AO production rose to 6,000 tonnes.
That’s up from 6,200 tonnes in 2017.
It also represents a 20 per cent increase from last year, when production stood at 3,600 tonnes.
Production also increased by an additional 4 per cent from a year ago.
The Alberta government is looking to boost production to a level similar to those of Alberta’s oil and gas sector, which it believes can be achieved with a combination of new technology and investments in the oilsands.AO production was at its peak in 2010 and 2011, and then again in 2012 and 2013.
The government says the growth has continued, with the average annual growth in production between 2010 and 2020.
“We are looking forward to having the AO sector back on track and to see an even greater increase in output,” Alberta Premier Brad Wall said Monday.
“We need to accelerate this process.”
Production has also been steadily rising in Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.
A total of 1,600 more tonnes of aluminum were produced last month than in January.
In 2017, Alberta’s AO output was down 6 per cent over the previous year, and production was down almost a fifth from the previous three months.
Saskatchewan’s Ao production was up a full 25 per cent and was also up 17 per cent in January compared to the previous two months.
Saskatchewan is expected to see the biggest increase in production this year, with 1,800 tonnes, while the Northwest Territory will see an increase of about 150 tonnes.
In all, production in Alberta rose to 7,600 tons last month compared to 6.4 million tonnes in 2016.
That was a rise of about 60 per cent, while production in Saskatchewan was down about 50 per cent compared to 2016.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) says the increase in AO will be “unparalleled in Canada.”
“The AO boom is now in full swing,” said spokesman Dan MacLean.
“It is the first time that the sector has seen its production grow in three consecutive years.”AO was the culprit behind some of the largest spills and destruction of the oil sands in Alberta in recent years.
This has created an opportunity to invest in our industry.