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Upgrading & refining

All oil – whether it’s light, medium or heavy – needs to be refined so it can be made into usable products, such as gasoline or petroleum byproducts that form the building blocks for many daily items such as asphalt, smartphones, laundry detergent, contact lenses and clothes.

The Lloydminster upgrader and asphalt refinery, and our U.S. refineries at Lima, Ohio and Superior, Wisconsin, reduce the impact of price fluctuations in the oil market – by allowing us to capture value from the production of oil through to the output of a wide range of finished products. In addition to producing heavy crude oil, this allows us to be a fully integrated producer of higher-value finished products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and asphalt. This helps to reduce our risk and lessen the volatility in our business.

In addition to our wholly-owned refineries, we have 50 percent stakes in each of three U.S. refineries – Wood River, located in Roxana, Illinois, and Borger, located in Borger, Texas are part of our joint venture with Phillips 66, the operator. We have a second joint venture through a 50 percent stake in the BP-Husky Toledo Refinery near Toledo, Ohio, which is operated by BP Plc.

Our upgrader and refineries have a combined production capacity of approximately 660,000 barrels per day (bbls/d) net to Cenovus.

Our upgrader in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan was commissioned in 1992 and has a rated crude oil feedstock capacity of 80,000 bbls/d, producing synthetic crude oil, diluent and ultra-low sulphur diesel. Diesel capacity at the upgrader was recently increased from 6,000 bbls/d to almost 10,000 bbls/d.

Feedstock for the upgrader includes heavy oil from our Lloyd thermal projects in Saskatchewan and the Tucker oil sands project in northeastern Alberta. The synthetic crude is also used in the production of gasoline and diesel fuels in refineries in Canada and the U.S.

Our Lima Refinery in the U.S Midwest has a crude oil throughput capacity of 175,000 bbls/d, depending on the type of crude being processed, and produces low sulphur gasoline, gasoline blend stocks, ultra-low sulphur diesel, jet fuel, petrochemical feedstock and other byproducts. A crude oil flexibility project completed in 2019 has increased heavy oil processing capacity at the refinery to 40,000 bbls/d. This provides flexibility to switch between light and heavy crude oil feedstock.

Our refined products are transported via pipelines and rail cars to primary markets in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and southern Michigan.

Operations at our Superior Refinery, located in Superior, Wisconsin in the U.S. Midwest, are currently suspended as the facility undergoes a rebuild following a fire at the site in 2018. Once construction is completed, the refinery is expected to have the ability to process light and heavy crude oil from North Dakota and Western Canada.

The refinery is being rebuilt with the same configuration and with a processing capacity of 45,000 bbls/d, and is expected to produce a full slate of products, including asphalt, gasoline and diesel. Its associated logistics include five storage and distribution terminals.

For more information about the rebuild, click here.

We have 50 percent ownership of the BP-Husky Toledo Refinery near Toledo, Ohio, where bitumen from our Sunrise oil sands project is processed. The refinery has a nameplate throughput capacity of 160,000 bbls/d and produces low sulphur gasoline, ultra-low sulphur diesel, aviation fuels, and byproducts.

BP Plc, the refinery operator, holds a 50 percent stake in Sunrise.

Through our WRB partnership we have a 50 percent ownership in each of two refineries – one at Wood River, Illinois and another at Borger, Texas, with the operator, Phillips 66. The refineries had a combined processing capacity of about 482,000 gross bbls/d of crude oil in 2019, including heavy crude oil processing capability of up to 255,000 bbls/d. In addition, the Borger Refinery has a natural gas liquids fractionation facility with a capacity of 45,000 gross bbls/d.

Our asphalt refinery in Lloydminster, Alberta has a throughput capacity of 30,000 bbls/d of heavy crude oil and bitumen and produces more than 30 different types and grades of road asphalt from heavy oil. These range from road oils used for dust control to highway-grade asphalt. Our business is the largest marketer of paving asphalt in Western Canada.

The asphalt refinery also produces a condensate that is blended with heavy oil production and drilling fluids, a kerosene distillate and gas oil which is processed at the Lloydminster upgrader into low-sulphur diesel and Husky Synthetic Blend.