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GE Motors to Drive Pioneering Bitumen Refinery in Canada’s Oil Sands


• North West Redwater Partnership’s Facility is World’s First Designed from the Ground up for Reduced Environmental Impact
• 150,000 Barrel-per-Day Refinery to Set International Precedent with Integrated CO2 Management System
• Large GE Motors Will Drive the Compressors That Move Tar-Like Bitumen Crude

PARIS — Sustainable development of Alberta’s vast oil sands is a key priority, and in early 2013 construction began on the world’s first refinery specifically designed to reduce environmental impacts as it turns tarry bitumen crude into clean-burning diesel fuel. GE’s Power Conversion business (NYSE: GE) is playing an enabling role in the refinery, near Edmonton and owned by the North West Redwater Partnership, by supplying GE’s Series 9000-RCM large electric motors to drive the refinery’s reciprocating compressors, under a $14 million contract that includes related services.

The partnership is a joint venture between North West Upgrading Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Limited. The 150,000 barrels-per-day bitumen refinery will be the first to incorporate an integrated CO2 management system, setting an international precedent for responsible development. In the first of three phases, by 2015 it is expected to begin producing clean diesel fuel with fewer emissions and up to 30 percent higher fuel efficiency than gasoline, exceeding Canadian standards and meeting global specifications. There is strong demand for clean diesel in North America, China, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. In Canada, for example, diesel is available nationwide at gasoline filling stations and at comparable prices.

Transporting and processing crude bitumen, or heavy crude oil, extracted from oil sands is challenging and expensive because it is a tarry, sludgy solid or semisolid that doesn’t flow easily at normal oil pipeline temperatures. Reciprocating compressors are used to handle hydrogen, which is used to process the bitumen, because they offer extremely high compression ratios. GE’s powerful and rugged Series 9000-RCM motors are built to drive reciprocating compressors in the petrochemical industry, with ratings up to 13.8 kV and up to 22,000 HP (16,000 kW). Besides raw power and reliable performance, they offer fast installation/start up and ease of maintenance, helping to minimize delays and maximize capital resources.

“Refineries are complex and expensive undertakings and so a key priority for their owners is to minimize risk and maximize investment return,” said Alberto Peluzzo, sales leader for Power Conversion Rotating Machines. “GE’s Series 9000-RCM motors are seeing increased use throughout Canada’s oil sands region because of their proven, reliable performance. Along with GE’s expert technical services, they will help enable the North West Redwater Partnership to achieve world-class operational performance and efficiencies at this landmark refinery.”

About GE Power Conversion

GE’s Power Conversion business applies the science and systems of power conversion to help drive the electrification of the world’s energy infrastructure by designing and delivering advanced motor, drive and control technologies that evolve today’s industrial processes for a cleaner, more productive future. Serving specialized sectors such as energy, marine, oil and gas, and industry, through customized solutions and advanced technologies, GE Power Conversion partners with customers to maximize efficiency. To learn more, please visit:

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at

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