Corporate History

Altex has continued to evolve its business. Over the years, we have expanded by adding terminals in new locations, expanded our operation to additional destinations, added new products to receive and deliver, and have expanded our base operations through additional ancillary services.

Corporate History

Altex has continued to evolve its business. Over the years, we have expanded by adding terminals in new locations, expanded our operation to additional destinations, added new products to receive and deliver, and have expanded our base operations through additional ancillary services.


We saw increased utilization of our terminals in 2017 as the value of shipping crude oil without diluent became clear to the market. Altex is the dominant provider of terminal services for moving heavy oil or bitumen without diluent on rail.

As oil production continues to grow in Western Canada, it appears that oil will be competing for a shortage of options to move it to market. Rail continues to be a safe and economically competitive alternative to pipe, providing access to markets that pipelines cannot reach. This is particularly true for heavy oil (or bitumen) which is the predominant production in Western Canada.

We continued to expand our service options by introducing emulsion treating and restarted unloading condensate in Western Canada from sources around north America for customers.

Altex has been a leader in intellectual property, receiving several Canadian and US patents. We recognized the benefit of this investment in intellectual property through licensing some of our patents to a railcar supplier, and continue to work with others to capture value by licensing our intellectual property.

We’ve continued our initiative to access offshore markets by using rail to move products to the tidewater ports. The existing rail infrastructure provides ready, economic and simplified access to access offshore markets and increase oil prices to all stakeholders in western Canada including governments who collect taxes and royalties.


During 2016, the amount of oil that the industry moved by rail was reduced. Terminal operators like Altex, whose contracts and focus were on heavy oil without the use of diluent, were impacted less than other terminal operators. At times during the year, we were moving the majority of oil being moved anywhere in industry by rail.

We saw the opportunity to expand our service offerings and worked with customers and partners to start moving used engine oil from Western Canada to refinery locations as well as looking at moving other oilfield wastes. We initiated a project to repair railcars at our terminal sites and continued to store oil, railcars, fertilizer and farm equipment at our well-equipped terminal sites.

We saw the opportunity to provide tidewater access and potentially higher oil prices to stakeholders in Western Canada by using rail to move oil to offshore markets. While we have loaded oil in previous years that was moved by customers to offshore markets, a concerted effort to build this business has benefits both to stakeholders on the production side but also offshore purchasers.


We completed our next major expansion at Lashburn for a major global integrated oil company providing unit train capability to markets. This made Lashburn one of the largest rail terminal facilities in Western Canada capable of loading and moving 200 or more railcars per day.

As the price of oil fell in late 2014 and early 2015, we recognized the potential impact on our business and took steps to adjust our business plan to deal with the new reality of the oil industry. Rail continues to provide economic, safe and effective access to markets. Oil production is still expected to grow in the years ahead, as major projects that take years to complete are finished. Growth beyond that point and the needs for egress options will be dependent on future oil prices.


In the fall of 2014, Altex commissioned an expansion of our Lashburn terminal, with storage space for over 250 railcars on site. Lashburn was then capable of loading and moving over 60 railcars per day.

Lashburn is expanding to unit train capacity with more tanks, railcar storage, and truck rail car loading spots.


Construction of the major terminal at Lynton continued through the year and was commissioned in early 2014.

In the fall of 2013, Altex opened its terminal in the Peace River area of Alberta at Falher. This large site is capable of moving oil immediately at up to 10 railcars per day, and can be readily expanded to larger volumes. Existing buildings on site provided opportunity to also work with frac sand and fertilizer as well as providing storage for agricultural and oilfield equipment.


In June 2012, Altex was contracted by an oil sands producer to build a terminal in Ft. McMurray (Lynton) to transport their oil to markets in the USA.

Altex also operated a small site at Wainwright, Alberta adding to Altex’s growing number of terminals.


Altex had a positive response to our new business. The market demand grew from these few “test” shipments from Lloydminster. The Altex system expanded with the addition of Lashburn, SK in 2011. This terminal was the first in Canada to add tanks to the process, allowing improved turnaround for truckers. Originally designed to move 6 railcars per day, the facility expanded to 32 railcars per day with tanks and track storage for in excess of 100 cars.

2008 – 2010

The idea of moving crude oil by rail is not new. This has been done in North America back to the drilling of the first wells in Titusville, Pennsylvania in the 1860’s. It also had helped move oil out of the Bakken area of North Dakota after its production grew significantly in the first decade of the 2000’s. It hadn’t been done in significant quantity in Canada though for many years.

As Altex developed the business, one important choice was whose railway system was best-advantaged to access crude oil production. Canadian National (“CN”) owns the track up to Ft McMurray and the Peace River areas, and the delivery systems to eastern Canada, Chicago, Canada’s West Coast and the US Gulf Coast. Altex approached CN in the early part of 2008 to explore the opportunity of working together and ultimately joined forces in 2008, in recognition of the synergies between our companies. Our partnership increases the value of the expertise and strengths we both bring to this solution. Our common goal is to ensure a seamless interconnectivity along the bitumen supply chain.

Together we spent 3 years developing rail as an alternative to pipelines. Through many joint presentations and conferences and through articles in the press, many in the oil industry began to realize the value of our rail system approach and the true cost of shipping oil by pipeline.

In the fall of 2010, Altex moved our first railcars of crude oil out of CN’s yard in Lloydminster, Alberta reintroducing crude movements by rail to Canada.

2005 – 2007

Altex Energy was created in 2005 to provide access to new markets for Canadian heavy oil producers. The unique aspect was to move heavy oil without adding the diluent, which is necessary for conventional pipeline systems. The diluent is worth more in western Canada than it is to a refinery, so money is lost in value erosion and the cost of moving this to less attractive markets. The idea was to build a pipeline from Alberta to Texas (Altex name comes from the Alberta-Texas plan).

A procedure to reduce the diluent was developed and several patents were filed for a new technology pipeline. During these pipeline discussions, it became obvious that rail had even better capabilities to reduce the “diluent penalty”. Rail would be competitive with new pipelines so the pipeline idea was abandoned in favor of rail.