Imperial Strathcona: Paving the Way

Heading out on a road trip this weekend?  You’ll probably be driving on asphalt produced at the Imperial Strathcona refinery. In fact, one in every three kilometres of Canadian highway is made with Imperial asphalt.

Imperial’s asphalt production began as a small pilot project in 1975 and has now grown into a profitable part of its business, with high future potential. Imperial is the asphalt market leader in Canada with about 29 percent market share. Imperial also exports to the U.S., with approximately 10 percent market share today.

The Strathcona refinery makes four grades of asphalt that we wholesale to customers who directly use or retail our product. Seventy-five to 80 per cent of the asphalt from Strathcona is used for road paving, while the balance is used for roofing applications. The site’s customers are as close as right across the street from the refinery in Edmonton and as far away as New York and Texas.

One of the things that sets Strathcona apart is direct access to Cold Lake crude, and the refinery’s prime location at “head of pipe.” Strathcona also has a dedicated asphalt unit, which keeps production costs lower and produces higher-quality asphalt. Imperial customers love the quality and consistency of the product, keeping it in high demand across North America.

Imperial also has a dedicated asphalt sales team who have built strong relationships with customers and are constantly looking at new markets for our asphalt, including potential expansion into northern Mexico.

“Our goal is to maintain our market leading position in Canada while growing our export business,” said Tamara McGillivray, Americas asphalt product marketing manager for Imperial. “Given the competitive advantage Strathcona has, we’re able to economically move our asphalt further than most of our competitors.”

Strathcona Refinery currently produces 60 per cent of Imperial’s asphalt, while Nanticoke produces the remaining 40.

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.