Skip to main content

Gibson Energy and USD Announce Joint Venture to Construct DRU at Hardisty Utilizing Innovative DRUbit™ Technology and Agreement with ConocoPhillips for 50,000 bbl/d of Capacity

​Patented Diluent Recovery Unit Produces DRUbit™ Designed for Rail Transport and Reuse of Diluent Providing a Bitumen Market Access Solution with Significant Safety and Environmental Benefits and Increased Takeaway Capacity at a Cost Competitive with Pipelines

US Development Group, LLC (through a wholly-owned affiliate, collectively USD) and Gibson Energy Inc. (Gibson) (TSX: GEI) jointly announced today an agreement to construct and operate a diluent recovery unit (DRU) near Hardisty, Alberta, Canada.  ConocoPhillips Canada has contracted to process 50,000 barrels per day of inlet bitumen blend through the DRU to be shipped by Canadian Pacific (CP) (TSX: CP) (NYSE: CP) and Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS) (NYSE: KCS) to the U.S. Gulf Coast.  USD and Gibson are currently in commercial discussions with other potential producer and refiner customers to secure long-term, take-or-pay agreements for an additional 50,000 barrels per day at the proposed DRU.

USD's patented DRU technology separates the diluent that has been added to the raw bitumen in the production process which meets two important market needs – it returns the recovered diluent for reuse in the Alberta market, reducing delivered costs for diluent, and it creates DRUbit™, a proprietary heavy Canadian crude oil specifically designed for rail transportation.  DRUbit™ is crude oil or bitumen that has been returned to a more concentrated, viscous state that creates safety and environmental benefits when transported by rail in Canada and the U.S.  DRUbit™ is a market access solution that will satisfy demand for heavy Canadian crude oil on the U.S. Gulf Coast and in other markets at a cost that is economically competitive to the crude oil that is transported by pipeline today. 

"Our DRU technology provides a sustainable, long-term solution for shipping Canadian crude oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast.  DRUbit™ offers safety and environmental benefits in transportation, provides greater take-away capacity and improved economics for all parties," said USD CEO, Dan Borgen.  "USD is a company that provides solutions for energy infrastructure and our patented DRU technology is another valuable solution.  We are thrilled to work with ConocoPhillips Canada, our JV partner Gibson, and both CP and KCS to deliver this DRU and DRUbit™ solution as part of a networked system that provides direct market access for Canadian producers."

"The DRU process is an innovative solution that competes with pipeline economics and secures improved netbacks across the seasonality and widely varying differentials experienced in the Western Canadian spot market," said Kirk Johnson, President, ConocoPhillips Canada. "It helps address a critical challenge to Canada's oil producers — constrained market access — to the benefit of all Canadians."

"We expect DRUs to be a critical part of solving the egress challenges Western Canadian producers are facing, both today and over the long-term," said Steve Spaulding, Gibson's President and Chief Executive Officer.  "Improved netbacks for producers will drive increased oilfield and related business activity, create new jobs and help revive communities as well as positively benefit all levels of government through increased royalties and other levies."

Following separation at the DRU, the DRUbit™ owned by ConocoPhillips will be railed by CP and KCS from the existing Hardisty Rail Terminal to a new terminal in Port Arthur, Texas under a long-term contract with CP, subject to standard conditions.  The new terminal in Port Arthur will be constructed, owned and operated solely by USD.  It will have capability for rail unloading, barge dock loading and unloading, tank storage and blending, and will be pipeline connected to Phillips 66's Beaumont Terminal, providing customers access to a large network of refining and marine facilities.  ConocoPhillips will re-blend the DRUbitTM with a variety of diluents to create higher-value customized blends that better meet the needs of its customers.

"From an innovation, sustainability and safety perspective, this is a game changer," said Keith Creel, CP President and CEO.  "This process removes diluent from the crude-by-rail supply chain, and as a result, we end up moving a non-hazardous commodity.  This will further increase the safety of crude-by-rail, to the benefit of the communities we operate in and through."

"KCS is pleased to be a strategic partner in this innovative solution to improve the economics and safety of moving crude oil," said KCS President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Ottensmeyer.  "It's also a great opportunity to grow our business in the Gulf Coast area and develop our Port Arthur asset."

Construction of the DRU is expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months and is subject to certain conditions, including obtaining agreements to underpin the economics of the project and receipt of required regulatory approvals, including from the Alberta Energy Regulator.  The DRU could be placed into service as early as the second quarter of 2021.

About USD Group LLC

US Development Group, LLC ("USD") and its affiliates are engaged in designing, developing, owning, and managing large-scale multi-modal logistics centers and energy-related infrastructure across North America. USD solutions create flexible market access for customers in significant growth areas and key demand centers, including Western Canada, the U.S. Gulf Coast and Mexico. Among other projects, USD is currently pursuing the development of a premier energy logistics terminal on the Houston Ship Channel with capacity for substantial tank storage, multiple docks (including barge and deepwater), inbound and outbound pipeline connectivity, as well as a rail terminal with unit train capabilities. For additional information, please visit Information on websites referenced in this release are not part of this release. DRUbit™ is a trademark of DRU Assets LLC, a subsidiary of USD, and is used by permission.  All rights reserved.

About Gibson

Gibson is a Canadian-based oil infrastructure company with its principal businesses consisting of the storage, optimization, processing, and gathering of crude oil and refined products.  Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, the Company's operations are focused around its core terminal assets located at Hardisty and Edmonton, Alberta, and also include the Moose Jaw Facility and an infrastructure position in the U.S. Gibson shares trade under the symbol GEI and are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. For more information, visit

About ConocoPhillips

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ConocoPhillips had operations and activities in 17 countries, $70 billion of total assets, and approximately 10,400 employees as of Sept. 30, 2019. Production excluding Libya averaged 1,310 MBOED for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2019, and proved reserves were 5.3 BBOE as of Dec. 31, 2018. Our Canadian operations are focused on developing our world-class portfolio including the ConocoPhillips-operated Surmont Joint Venture with TOTAL E&P Canada in the Athabasca region of northeast Alberta and exciting opportunities in the liquids-rich Montney play in northeast British Columbia. For more information, go to

About Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific (CP) is a transcontinental railway in Canada and the United States with direct links to major ports on the west and east coasts. CP provides North American customers a competitive rail service with access to key markets in every corner of the globe. CP is growing with its customers, offering a suite of freight transportation services, logistics solutions and supply chain expertise. Visit to see the rail advantages of CP.

About the Kansas City Southern Railway Company

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City Southern (KCS) (NYSE: KSU) is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. Its primary U.S. holding is The Kansas City Southern Railway Company, serving the central and south central U.S. Its international holdings include Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lázaro Cárdenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Company, providing ocean-to-ocean freight 

 Media & Investor Contacts


Mark Chyc-Cies
Vice President, Strategy, Planning & IR

USD Group

Mary Ellen Kilpatrick

See all news