Gibson Energy Inc. is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in Canada, providing oil storage services for the oil sands and pipeline injection stations throughout Canada and the US. Until recently it has been one of the largest crude oil hauling companies in Western Canada.
While it is not a fossil fuel producer itself, Gibson plays a critical role in the oil and gas commodity chain of oil sands production, and its 2017 commitment to pivot its assets almost exclusively toward crude oil storage indicates that it intends to solidify its role in Canada’s oil sands, making it one of our Top 50 emitters.
Gibson was originally a subsidiary of the British firm Hunting PLC, under the name Gibson Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd.1 Its early assets included oil transportation services by rail and truck, storage terminals and the construction of gathering pipeline systems. Around the 1990s, Gibson purchased James Propane and Canwest Propane, establishing a wholesale propane distribution and marketing business under the name of Canwest, which it then sold to Superior Plus Corp in 2017.2 The company changed to its shortened moniker, Gibson Energy, in 2002. Gibson is now owned by Riverstone Holdings, following its acquisition from Hunting PLC in 2008.3
|M&G Investment Management Ltd.||GB||19.25|
|Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce||CA||4.55|
|QVGD Investors Inc.||CA||2.67|
|Vanguard Group Inc.||US||2.30|
|Bank of Montreal||CA||2.01|
|Bank of Nova Scotia||CA||1.99|
|Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta||CA||1.02|
Includes all shareholdings of 1% and greater. Source: Orbis Database, October 2018.
Gibson’s main capital assets include storage terminals for crude oil and liquids located in Edmonton and Hardisty, Alberta. These terminals hold crude oil from the oil sands before it is shipped to market, primarily in the US. The Hardisty Terminal—described by Gibson as the “crown jewel” of its assets—is its largest project, which will have a 10 million barrel capacity for oil sands oil following expansion projects ongoing at the time of writing.4 Both storage terminals are flanked by major Canadian and international oil pipelines including Keystone, Bow River South, and Enbridge’s Express and Lines 2, 3, 4 and 67.5
Gibson also manages processing facilities in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Alberta’s Peace River Country that produce petroleum-based products such as asphalt, well site fluids and drilling mud.6 Gibson’s transportation assets ship crude oil and oil products throughout North America by truck, rail and connection pipeline—although it plans to divest these assets in the near term (see “Strategy”). It also operates 60 crude oil “pipeline injection sites” in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Louisiana.7 Its two rail loading and unloading stations are located in Hardisty, Alberta.
Gibson announced in early 2018 that it had embarked on a “dramatic transformation of the business,” moving away from its trucking assets and into an increased emphasis on oil sands infrastructure in Canada, with plans to sell $375 million of its trucking assets.8 “We will be an oil infrastructure business,” said Gibson’s CEO Steve Spaulding, in reference to the shift. “We’re going to build in and around our core terminals in Canada, and develop a basin infrastructure strategy. The assets that don’t fit will be sold.”9
Prior to the statement, Gibson had already significantly divested its industrial propane business, US Environmental Services sector and natural gas liquids wholesale business, along with a number of its US pipeline injection sites. Through this large-scale divestment of its transportation and US assets, Gibson plans to continue to ramp up the expansion of its oil storage terminals at Hardisty and Edmonton, projecting that this segment will represent three-quarters of its business by 2019.10 The Hardisty terminal can hold 10 million barrels, with a growth capacity of 5 million more.11
Gibson claims that its decision to radically reposition itself in the North American energy market is a response to increased demand from oil producers in the wake of new oil sands projects such as the Teck, Total E&P Canada and Suncor Fort Hills joint venture.12 Gibson suggests that it will align with oil sands growth by adding up to two new holding tanks every year to its Hardisty and Edmonton terminals.13
In its US assets, Gibson has suggested that it will focus on the Permian and SCOOP/STACK pipeline injection sites, with a secondary focus on gathering pipelines. 15
Unlike many major oil companies investing in tech-based strategies to address climate change, Gibson does not have a publicly stated climate strategy, nor does it report on impacts the changing climate may have on its operations.
Learn more about Gibson Energy at LittleSis.org
The intent of the Corporate Mapping Project database is to engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy, by “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.