Oil and oil products are most efficiently transported by pipeline throughout North America.
Pipelines also deliver oil to ports for transport by tanker ship to foreign markets, especially Asia.
Pipelines in Canada are regulated based on jurisdiction. If a pipeline crosses a provincial or international border, it is regulated by the
National Energy Board (NEB). Pipelines that operate entirely within a province are regulated by the regulator in that province.
Multiple products can be transported by a single pipeline simultaneously, resulting in an extremely efficient system.
Most North American refineries receive either diluted bitumen or synthetic crude oil (SCO) via pipeline from Alberta.
Refineries transform upgraded diluted bitumen or SCO into usable petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, butane and other hydrocarbons.
The cost to build a new refinery capable of producing 175,000 to 200,000 barrels per day is in the billions of dollars.
In 2016, about 42% of crude bitumen production was sent for upgrading into synthetic crude oil to four Alberta upgraders. Most of blended bitumen, upgraded bitumen and crude oil is sold to refineries in U.S. Midwest, Rocky Mountains and Gulf Coast, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.