Alberta is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of natural gas and the 4th largest producer. Two of the largest producers of petrochemicals in North America are located in central and north central Alberta.
In both Red Deer and Edmonton, world class polyethylene and vinyl manufacturers produce products shipped all over the world, and Edmonton’s oil refineries provide the raw materials for a large petrochemical industry to the east of Edmonton.
The Athabasca oil sands have estimated unconventional oil reserves approximately equal to the conventional oil reserves of the rest of the world, estimated to be 1.6 trillion barrels (254 km3).
With the development of new extraction methods such as steam assisted gravity drainage, which was developed in Alberta, bitumen and synthetic crude oil can be produced at costs close to those of conventional crude.
Many companies employ both conventional strip mining and non-conventional in situ methods to extract the bitumen from the oil sands. With current technology and at current prices, about 315 billion barrels (50 km3) of bitumen are recoverable.