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Pray for better days – a 3rd generation oil worker laments the end of an industry



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  • by Sheldon Gron (published with permission)

    I’ve been debating on whether or even how to write this over the last few weeks. I’m a third generation oilfield worker, a large portion of my family being involved with the oilfield in some way. Its sad to say, but I really truly honestly feel that the oilfield in Canada is officially dead. Sure there will be a little here and there, some guys will get a little work and even less will get consistent work, but all in all, to be an oilfield worker as a career is over. Nothing pains me more than to be saying this as I myself have over 20 years in the industry, an industry which I used to love and was proud to be apart of.

    The industry has always worked in cycles, most of us know this. It was feast or famine. Best you could do was get the money while the gettin’ was good and save the best you could to prepare for the next slow down. Some were smart, most were not. Debt would ring up, slow down would hit and more debt would add up until bankruptcy loomed. Most slow downs lasted at most a year but usually turned around and guys would get 3 or 4 years of good times to recover and prepare for the next one. Take this most recent slow down in 2014. Writing was on the wall BUT no one expected it to hit as hard as it did. The world shook as oil prices fell to near 1998 prices. Within a few years though prices started to climb, enough so that work started to return. Not a ton, but enough that the guys left in the patch were finding work.

    2018 there was finally some hope, there seemed to be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel but this whole pipe line mess loomed over us. You see Canadian Crude has always had its own value, lately a value significantly lower that everyone else due to our lack of infrastructure to get oil to market. With our current government and their apparently efforts to stop the much needed pipe line, Western Crude prices fell, investments pulled and companies lost faith… Canada is now suffering another oilfield crash, on top of the previous one. Heres the problem.

    Anyone that has survived thus far is at the end of their rope. Toys are sold, saving have been spent to survive these last 4 years and now that another slow down is here, there is nothing to fall back on. Faith in the patch is gone as the hands and small businesses are in real trouble this time.

    We are 8-10 year away from any of this ever turning around at the earliest, save some major event happening that sends oil to 200 a barrel. Lets face it, without a means to get our oil to market, no one wants it and who can blame them. Our government has severely let us down and 2019 is going to mean some serious trouble for Canada. I have done every thing I can to stick it out in the only career I know and don’t know how much longer I can go living pay check to pay check meanwhile being away from my family 25 days a month just to get by, and thats when I’m busy. If I was young and new to the oilfield I wouldn’t come anywhere near the oilfield as its apparent there is no future. You used to come here to make money, now, when you can actually get work, the money isn’t that great anymore.

    I know some of you have very little sympathy for oilfield workers because you have always seen the money they have made but let me explain the repercussions of no oilfield in Alberta, Sask or Northern BC. Before the crash, entry level oilfield workers made over 100K a year. In order to do this they usually spent about 230-250 days a year away from their friends and families in all weather conditions working all sorts of hours. At times these conditions could be some of the most gruelling with sometimes not the nicest people. But it was a job and it paid well. That’s from their perspective. These same people that do this job pay 30% or more in taxes to our government. They pay more in taxes that many people make in an entire year, thats entry level, now take the people that are pulling in 200-250K. All that tax money is gone, no longer paying for schools and hospitals and roads and such. Now consider those lifted trucks and toys they buy with the money they earned with their oilfield money. All that money went to local businesses and local people that didn’t work in the oilfield. Salaries were paid, cloths were bought with that money those people earned from selling that truck or quad or what ever they buy.

    Also consider the money they spent in the places they worked, supporting locally. Hotels, gas stations and grocery stores, restaurants and bars and so on. Alberta was successful and one of the richest provinces for one reason, OIL MONEY and now it is gone. Go to another have not province and ask them what its like to not have jobs and see what they think. Ask the number of people born across Canada that have come to Alberta for the Alberta Advantage why they came. Our Federal government had one mission regarding Alberta, and that was to bring it to its knees and we have let them do it. The oil field is dead and we let it happen. They panic cause 2500 of Ontarios people lost their jobs because GM shut down a plant yet 150K Albertans have lost their jobs and more are coming.

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    Alberta Country Music Awards announces 2018 Finalists




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  • December 11th, 2018 (Edmonton, AB) – The Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA)™ is pleased to present your Final Nominees for the upcoming 2018 Alberta Country Music Awards™ presented by Stingray. 

    Winners will be announced at the 7th annual awards gala on January 27, 2019 at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel (3310 50 Ave).

    The evening will be hosted by Albertan country singer/songwriter and CCMA-winner Aaron Goodvin

    “I am incredibly honoured to have been asked to host The ACMA’s in Red Deer this year. There is so much great Canadian country music that comes out of Alberta. I literally cannot wait to host my first ever awards show and I’m excited for it to be in my home province!” – Aaron Goodvin

    Canadian country music fans are well acquainted with Goodvin’s music after winning the2018 Canadian Country Music Award (CCMA) for “Songwriter(s) of the Year” for his platinum single “Lonely Drum”. Goodvin was also nominated for the “Single of the Year”, and “SiriusXM Rising Star Award”.

    Also a Warner/Chappell songwriter, Goodvin has landed cuts with Luke Bryan, Canaan Smith, Cole Swindell, and others. He was recently signed to Reviver Records in Nashville and fans can expect new music in 2019.

    The 2018 ACMA™ awards weekend will occur on January 26 and 27. Events include the kick-off party, conference, seminars, fan fest, and the much-anticipated awards gala. Members of the ACMA™ have the privilege of voting to select the nominees for each category. The final round of voting to select the award-winners ends December 28, 2018.

    Tickets and more information about the ACMA™ Awards Weekend are available on the ACMA Website

    Without further ado, the nominees are:

    Male Artist of the Year
    Brad Saunders
    Dan Davidson
    Drew Gregory
    Karac Hendriks
    Ryan Langlois
    Trevor Panczak

    Female Artist of the Year
    Andrea Nixon
    Krissy Feniak
    Lauren Mayell
    Michela Sheedy

    Group/Duo of the Year
    Nice Horse
    Renegade Station
    The Dungarees
    The Orchard
    The Prairie States

    Fans Choice
    Dan Davidson
    Drew Gregory
    Hailey Benedict
    Megan Dawson
    Renegade Station
    The Prairie States

    Industry Person of the Year
    Angie Morris – Sirroma Entertainment
    Bill Borgwardt Performance Photography
    Carla Hackman – Sakamoto Entertainment
    Carly Klassen – Alberta Music
    Johnny Gasparic – MCC Recording Studio
    Sarah Scott – Golden West Radio

    Musician of the Year
    Johnny Gasparic
    Josh Ruzycki
    Lisa Dodd
    Mitch Jay
    Weston Blatz

    Album of the Year
    Along for the Ride – Renegade Station
    Good Place to Start – Drew Gregory
    Lost in the Right Direction – The Prairie States
    Songs For Georgia – Dan Davidson
    This Road is Mine – Karac Hendriks

    Song of the Year
    “Don’t Hold Back” – Written by: James Murdoch & Darren Gusnowsky
    Performed by: The Dungarees
    “Know Good” – Written by: Drew Gregory, Trinity Bradshaw, Brad Stella
    Performed by: Drew Gregory
    “Light > Dark” – Written by: Ryan Langlois & Duane Steele
    Performed by: Ryan Langlois
    “Mansplainin’” – Written by: Brandi Sidoryk, Tareya Green, Katie Biever, Jeff Dalziel
    Performed by: Nice Horse
    “Safe Harbour” – Written by: Kent Nixon, Luanne Carl, Doug Folkins
    Performed by: Renegade Station

    Single of the Year
    “Don’t Hold Back” – The Dungarees
    “Know Good” – Drew Gregory
    “Play it By Beer” – Brad Saunders
    “This Road is Mine” – Karac Hendriks
    “Who’s Gonna Love Me Tonight” – Renegade Station

    Country Venue of the Year
    Boot Scootin Boogie Dancehall
    Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall

    Talent Buyer of the Year
    Big Valley Jamboree
    Calgary Stampede
    Country Thunder
    Ranchman’s Cookhouse & Dancehall
    Sakamoto Agency

    Rising Star
    Karac Hendriks
    Lauren Mayell
    Nice Horse
    The Prairie States
    Trevor Panczak

    Radio Station of the Year
    93.1 The One Leduc
    Wild 95.3 Calgary
    Real Country 95.5 Red Deer
    96.5 CKFM Olds
    103.9 CISN FM Edmonton

    Horizon Youth
    Hailey Benedict
    Krissy Feniak
    Jonah Langlois
    Hannah Gazso
    Martina Dawn

    Entertainer of the Year
    Aaron Goodvin
    Brett Kissel
    Gord Bamford
    Lindsay Ell
    Paul Brandt

    Video of the Year
    “Don’t Hold Back” – The Dungarees
    “Know Good” – Drew Gregory
    “Let’s Go There” – Dan Davidson
    “Mansplainin'” – Nice Horse
    “Who’s Gonna Love Me Tonight” – Renegade Station

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    Alberta Government looking for refinery partners



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  • Premier Notley greets members of the Building Trades of Alberta while announcing a new Expression of Interest for refining in the province.

    From the Province of Alberta

    Premier seeking industry interest in oil refining

    In response to strong industry encouragement, Alberta is taking action to explore interest from the private sector in building a new oil refinery in the province.

    As part of a made-in-Alberta strategy to get more value for our energy resources, Premier Rachel Notley announced the government is issuing a Request for Expression of Interest to determine business cases for investing in a new refinery in Alberta or tied to Alberta production.

    “For decades, Albertans have been talking about getting more value for our oil here at home. So let’s stop the talk, end the decades of dreaming and start making more of the products the world needs here at home. It’s time to grab the bull by the horns and to do more refining and upgrading that adds value and creates jobs here. The future is coming and it will be made in Alberta.”

    Rachel Notley, Premier

    Building a new refinery would create good-paying, long-term jobs for Albertans. New refining capacity would also help lower the oil price differential over the long term, protecting the province from a lack of capacity to export oil, and making sure we get full value for the energy resources owned by all Albertans.

    Large industrial value-add energy investments help provide economic resilience and diversification, and create highly skilled, well-paying jobs for decades. Alberta has abundant feedstock, skilled labour and the ability to refine our resources to high-value products the world needs. There is significant international competition for these projects and for Alberta to compete, government and industry must work together. We commend the government’s focus on ensuring that the value of Alberta’s resources stays with Albertans.”

    David Chappell, chair, Resource Diversification Council

    “Building Trades of Alberta has always believed you should refine it where you mine it. By doing that, you maximize the value of our resources for the people of Alberta, while creating good jobs for skilled trades workers in our province. We thank the government for exploring new options for refining and upgrading here in Alberta.”

    Terry Parker, executive director, Building Trades of Alberta

    “The work of the Energy Diversification Advisory Committee was focused on securing Alberta’s future in a more diversified oil and gas sector. It’s good to see another action that builds on Alberta’s strengths, including a highly skilled workforce and world-class resources. This is another sign the government is focused on made-in-Alberta solutions to ensure Alberta’s energy economy is built to last.”

    Jeanette Patell & Gil McGowan, co-chairs, Energy Diversification Advisory Committee

    Projects must have a strong return on investment for Albertans. Any proposed facility will consume Alberta-produced oil feedstock and produce marketable refined products.

    The government will consider interest in new greenfield investments or an expansion of facilities at an existing brownfield site. Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 8, 2019, with the results helping inform next steps that may include issuing a Request for Proposals to construct a new refinery.

    Companies will be required to submit their engineering design and technical feasibility, project timing and execution plan, plans for sales points and transportation to market, participation of Indigenous communities, expected environmental performance, financing to complete the project, and identification and estimates of revenues to benefit Albertans.

    Expressions of Interest have been used in the past to obtain industry and public suggestions on major projects and how the government can utilize existing interest to maximize the value for Albertans.

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    december, 2018

    wed21nov - 21decAll DayAlberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum - Deck the Hall 31 Days of Giving-31 Days of giving(All Day) Event Organized By: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

    sat15dec10:00 am- 4:00 pmParkland Garden Centre Craft and Market Sale10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    sat15dec12:00 pm- 6:00 pmArtisan Market Sale for Nuit Blanche Winter CarnivalArtisan Market12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    sat22dec10:00 am- 4:00 pmParkland Garden Centre Craft and Market Sale10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    mon31dec - 1jandec 317:00 pmjan 1- 2:00 amBlack & White ballRed Deer\'s Party of the Year!7:00 pm - (january 1) 2:00 am

    mon31dec - 1jandec 317:00 pmjan 1- 1:00 amOne Eleven Grill New Year's Eve with Claude Godin and his Groove EnsembleCall 403.347-2111 to reserve for New Year7:00 pm - (january 1) 1:00 am