Sturgeon-refined diesel is now flowing from the NWR Sturgeon Refinery, marking a historic project milestone.
At a ceremony today at the Morinville UFA, North West Refining topped up various vehicles with the first diesel to come from the refinery.
The milestone means that several units of the Sturgeon Refinery are being commissioned while construction continues in other areas of the project. It is one of several performance measures that must be met before the refinery is fully operational.
"It's a really complicated thing but the group of people doing this are absolutely amazing," said Ian MacGregor, chairman and CEO of North West Refining. "We're all Albertans, we all care about the place, we're all trying to do something that defines the future."
MacGregor compared the monumental first diesel fill-up to when the last spike was driven in the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada in 1885.
"It just means you can really do what you dream of doing in Alberta, it's no effort of any single person and it feels really good."
Currently, diesel production is from synthetic crude oil feedstock. Once all units are constructed and fully operational, the Sturgeon Refinery will process bitumen to produce high value, ultra-low sulphur diesel, among other products.
At the peak of construction, over 8,000 people worked on-site.
The project is expected to be fully operational in the new year.