Imperial Oil is not only one of Canada’s largest corporations – it has been a leading member of the petroleum industry for more than a century.

Best known for its Esso and Mobil brand names, Imperial Oil operates from coast to coast, making quality products that drive modern transportation, power cities, lubricate industries and provide petrochemical building blocks for thousands of consumer goods.

For the last 60 years, Imperial’s Strathcona refinery has played a key role in Imperial’s success by offering a suite of high quality products to North American markets.

“Our facility produces a wide range of petroleum products including gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel, heavy fuel oil and asphalts,” says Bill Lawrysyn, Supervisor Environment and Industrial Hygiene.  “We are also the only producer of lubricating base oil and petroleum waxes in Western Canada.”

Located near the outskirts of Edmonton, the refinery processes approximately 187,000 barrels of crude oil each day.  While the facility has its eye on efficiency, it hasn’t lost sight of the importance of environmentally responsible production practices.

“We continue to adopt innovative technologies and programs that reduce our impact on land, water and air,” explains Lawrysyn.  “It’s initiatives like ‘Protect Tomorrow. Today.’ that demonstrate our company’s commitment to operating in a way that protects the environment and takes into account the economic and social needs of the communities around us.”

Based on this focus, Imperial Oil has made great progress and the Strathcona refinery has excellent environmental emission and environmental compliance records.

“We’ve implemented an infrared camera technology to detect hydrocarbon leaks not otherwise visible to the human eye,” says Lawrysyn.  “This investment helps us be proactive in the early identification and repair of potential leaks and has had a measurable effect on volatile emission reduction.”

The refinery has also put structural measures in place to minimize volatile emissions, including upgrades to floating roof tank seals, and installation of expandable covers over the open slots on tank floating roof guide poles.

In 2012, during a planned maintenance turnaround, the refinery’s fluidized catalytic cracking unit’s particulate cyclones were completely replaced resulting in reduced particulate emissions from the main stack.

“We are currently in the process of completing a replacement project for an impounding basin at the refinery.  Lawrysyn says.  “Although the quality of the effluent we discharge to the North Saskatchewan River is typically much better than regulatory requirements, this new, state of the art wastewater holding basin will significantly increase the onsite storage volume and pretreatment capability.  This will allow us to further improve wastewater and storm water management prior to discharge to the North Saskatchewan River.”

It’s not only emissions that have caught the company’s attention. Imperial is constantly looking at innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The Strathcona refinery has invested in a catalyst recycling program which enables the capture and reuse of operational catalysts.  Instead of being disposed offsite, these materials are being rejuvenated and reused on site or transferred to other Imperial Oil facilities where they can be reused in their operations.

“We are constantly looking at ways to improve,” says Lawrysyn. “Environmental protection is very high on our priority list.”

As a member of the Strathcona Industrial Association (SIA), Imperial Oil is committed to environmental performance, safety and community wellbeing.

Together, SIA members are ensuring heavy industry operators not only lead with responsible and sustainable policies and practices, but that they act as environmental stewards at every step of the way. SIA is greening our capital region.