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Alberta

Province teaming up with Calgary company for a $2 Billion dollar upgrading facility near Edmonton

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From the Province of Alberta

Made-in-Alberta plan moves $2-billion investment forward

Premier Rachel Notley’s Made-in-Alberta energy strategy is taking a major step forward in diversifying the economy, creating new jobs and adding more value to our resources.

Calgary-based Value Creation Inc. (VCI) and its wholly owned subsidiary Value Chain Solutions Inc. are on track to invest $2 billion in an upgrading facility in the Alberta Industrial Heartland, just east of Edmonton, which will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and another 200 full-time positions once the facility is up and running.

This is just the first of several new projects made possible through the Made-in-Alberta strategy to do more upgrading and refining of the province’s oil and gas resources here at home.

“We’re taking the bull by the horns and fighting to get full value for our oil. Albertans have been talking about this for decades, and we’re not content to sit on the sidelines and let good jobs and investment pass Alberta by for places like Louisiana. That has happened for too long and it has got to stop. We’re making sure the next generation of Albertans have the opportunities they deserve in a stronger, more resilient, more diversified province.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

VCI’s leading-edge facility will upgrade diluted oil sands bitumen into a higher-value crude blend that can flow easier through pipelines. This provides significant cost savings to industry because it would reduce the need for diluent, while increasing pipeline capacity by up to 30 per cent, and providing access to more refineries around the world that cannot currently accept Alberta’s oil sands bitumen.

The partial upgrading technology is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 16 per cent per barrel compared to current processes used to extract bitumen.

“We here at Value Creation Inc. and Value Chain Solutions Inc. look forward to building upon Premier Rachel Notley’s vision of diversifying our energy markets and maximizing the value of the resources owned by Albertans. Our project is going to create good, long-term jobs with game-changing technology for low-cost upgrading and strong environmental performance.”

Columba Yeung, chairman and CEO, Value Creation Inc. and Value Chain Solutions Inc.

Through a letter of intent, the province has agreed to support the project through a $440-million loan guarantee, subject to reaching a final agreement. In all, Alberta is providing more than $3 billion in support for crude oil and bitumen partial upgrading and petrochemical upgrading, which turns Alberta natural gas into higher-value products like plastics.

“This government’s Made-in-Alberta upgrading program is a crucial element to ensuring these value-add investments happen in Alberta. Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is a key economic driver of the province’s economy, with potential for $30 billion in new investment by 2030. Upgrading more of our resources here at home means more jobs and more investment in our local communities, with new value chains that will help diversify our economy for generations to come.”

Mark Plamondon, executive director, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

Construction of the Strathcona County-based project is already underway, with some foundational infrastructure in place and design work nearly completed. The plant is expected to be operational in 2022. Once completed, this would be the first commercial-scale partial upgrader in the world using this new technology, which VCI has been developing over several years.

VCI’s facility is just the first of others to be announced under Premier Notley’s Made-in-Alberta strategy, which is focused on creating jobs, adding value to our energy resources and exporting our products to new markets. This plan is at the heart of diversifying Alberta’s energy sector and making sure we get full value for the resources owned by all Albertans.

VCI project background

  • The first phase of the Value Chain Solutions – Heartland Complex (VCS-H) will use 77,500 barrels-per-day (bpd) of diluted bitumen to produce a medium synthetic crude oil and an ultra low sulfur diesel, which is a cleaner-burning transportation fuel used here at home and around the world.
  • Founded in 1999 and based in Calgary, Value Creation Inc. has nearly 1,200 square kilometres of oil sands land holdings in Alberta.
  • The company has developed a plan to engage with Indigenous communities across the region for employment, contracting and long-term alliance opportunities.
  • VCI’s technology is expected to help reduce GHG emissions by up to 16 per cent compared to current processes. This is the equivalent to cutting 620,000 tonnes of harmful emissions per year, or removing 135,000 cars from the road.
  • The project is expected to generate roughly $2.5 billion in revenue to the province over the 30-year life of the project.
  • Strathcona County is expected to receive about $280 million in municipal tax revenue over the life of the project.

Made-in-Alberta energy strategy

Partial upgrading of bitumen

  • $1 billion in grants and loan guarantees to encourage companies to build bitumen upgrading facilities to:
    • increase the value of our energy resources before shipping
    • allow more volume to be shipped through pipelines
  • Partial upgrading reduces the thickness of oil sands bitumen so it can flow through pipelines more easily, without having to be blended with diluent, or as much diluent, a thinning agent. Benefits include:
    • higher prices for our resources
    • more access to international markets
    • cost savings on diluent for industry
    • fewer emissions by removing high carbon content
  • Partial upgrading is cheaper to do than full upgrading because it requires less processing.
  • In 2016, oil sands companies in Alberta purchased $13.3 billion worth of diluent, much of it imported.
  • Bitumen that goes to market without upgrading or refining has historically been sold at lower prices compared to other crude oils.
    • Partial upgrading could help reduce this discount by improving the quality of the product and increasing the number of refineries capable of processing it.

Petrochemical upgrading

  • Total support will now reach $2.1 billion to unlock about $20 billion in private-sector investment.
  • This would help create as many as 15,500 jobs during construction of multiple petrochemical facilities across the province.
  • Inter Pipeline’s Heartland Petrochemical Complex is already under construction as a result of this program:
    • $3.5 billion private investment
    • 2,300 construction jobs, 180 operational jobs
    • The complex processes propane into plastic pellets called polypropylene, which is used around the world making kids’ toys, electronics and automotive parts.
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Alberta

A battle over beer … between curlers?

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Alberta’s Liquor Industry pushes back on Glenn Howard’s Ontario Beer ‘Facts’ in a new Social Media campaign.

Edmonton – Two Canadian curling stars are now battling off the rink in a war of ‘facts’ about provincial liquor laws that has broken out between Alberta and Ontario.

Brendan Bottcher, an Alberta curling champion, is starring in “Ontario Beer ‘Fake Facts’”, a social media campaign that launched today to counter misinformation being spread in Ontario about Alberta’s liquor laws and stores.

Brendan Bottcher stars in Ontario Beer Fake Facts

The Beer Store, a consortium of brewers that is fighting a move by the Doug Ford provincial government to sell beer and liquor in corner stores, has argued Alberta’s privatized system isn’t good for customers and allows for easier access to alcohol for minors. The Beer Store’s campaign is called “Ontario Beer Facts” and features Ontario curling champion Glenn Howard.

Glenn Howard throws shade on Alberta’s beer and liquor industries

“[Howard]’s jealous. Our liquor stores are better and [so are] our curling teams,” Bottcher quips in one of the “Ontario Beer ‘Fake Facts’” ads being launched today.

Alberta Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) produced the campaign in an attempt to set the record straight about Alberta’s thriving and socially responsible private liquor industry.

“In Alberta, our liquor industry is open for business – literally from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. We’re proud of the private liquor industry we’ve built here since 1993. Free enterprise doesn’t mean there is a free-for-all, Wild West system. But it does mean we have competitive prices and better service, hours and selection for our customers.”Ivonne Martinez, President of Alberta Liquor Stores Association

Oh, and on that whole thing about the price of beer in Alberta – Martinez had this to say.

“…And what about The Beer Store’s claim that a 24 pack of Coors Light is more expensive in Alberta than in Ontario? The Beer Store is owned by Labatts and Molson (National Brewers).  National Brewers, just like any manufacturer, sets the price for their products for each province. The price has nothing to do with the distribution model, the price is set by Molson themselves which set a higher price for their beer in Alberta…”

To view the Alberta campaign click here.

And to view the Ontario campaign click here.

Backgrounder About Alberta’s Liquor Industry:

  • The $3-billion industry contributes approximately $866-million annually to provincial revenues
  • 1,500+ private liquor stores operate in Alberta from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, including New Year’s Eve
  • Since the industry was privatized in 1993, it has created approximately 12,000 new jobs for Albertans
  • Alberta liquor stores offer more than 26,000 options, including 7,000 beer types; in Ontario, they sell less than 2,000 beer brands.

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Alberta

Update 23: Northwest Alberta wildfires (June 20 at 4 p.m.)

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Hot, dry conditions with strong winds create challenges for firefighting.

June 20, 2019

As fires spread in Mackenzie County, approximately 200 additional people evacuated on Wednesday from the area north of Highway 697, south of the Peace River and west of Steep Hill Creek, also called Range Road 164.

More than 700 evacuees from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement can return home today. Additional information for residents is online at https://www.facebook.com/paddleprairie

Approximately 8,500 people are still under evacuation orders.

The following communities issued mandatory evacuation orders this week:

  • Beaver First Nation – Boyer River (No. 164) and Child Lake (No. 164A)
  • Dene Tha’ First Nation – Bushe River (No. 207)
  • Mackenzie County
    • The Rocky Lane and High Level area north of the Peace River, south of Highway 58, west of Range Road 150
    • The Hamlet of La Crete
    • Range Road 164 to Range Road 150, south of the Peace River, north of Highway 697
  • Peerless Trout First Nation – Trout Lake community and high-risk persons in the surrounding area.

The following communities remain on evacuation alert and should be ready to leave quickly if the situation changes:

  • High Level
  • Mackenzie County
    • Area west of Range Road 164, south of the Peace River to Township Road 1010, and the Machesis Lake campground
  • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D

Current situation

  • Chuckegg Creek wildfire, southwest of High Level, is about 330,000 hectares.
  • Jackpot Creek wildfire, north of Lutose, is about 77,500 hectares.
  • McMillan Wildfire Complex located in the Slave Lake Forest area, is more than 276,800 hectares.
  • Check Alberta Emergency Alerts for more detailed and frequently updated information.
  • People driving in fire-affected areas should carry enough fuel, as it may not be readily available.

Visit alberta.ca/emergency for detailed and frequently updated information.

Air quality

  • Wildfire smoke is causing poor air quality and reduced visibility at times.
  • Parts of northwestern Alberta are under special air quality statements.
  • Visit FireSmoke Canada for information and resources about smoke from wildland fires.

Financial supports

  • Evacuees should check alberta.ca/emergency for updates on evacuation payment eligibility.
  • You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you:
    • were living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • were forced to leave due to an evacuation order
    • paid for most of your costs to evacuate
    • were forced to leave your residence (primary, working or vacationing) due to a mandatory evacuation order.
  • Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 and $500 for each dependent child under 18 living in the same home when the evacuation order was given.
  • Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smartphone, device or desktop. Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to process.
  • If you need help applying, contact Alberta Supports to find the nearest centre: Toll-free: 1-877-644-9992 (Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) In-person: Find an Alberta Supports Centre.
  • More than 11,700 individuals have received evacuee support totalling close to $11.9 million.

Reception and call centres

  • All evacuees need to register with an evacuation reception centre even if you have found alternate accommodations.
  • Reception centres may assist evacuees in person and/or by phone.
  • Mackenzie County evacuees must register at Fort Vermilion – Mackenzie County Office, 4511 46 Avenue, 780-927-3718.
  • Evacuees from Trout Lake and high-risk persons in the surrounding area of Peerless Trout First Nation must register their location with Jennifer Auger, 780-649-6553jennifer.auger@ptfn.net. If you evacuated to Edmonton, register at Edmonton Super 8 Hotel, 16818 118 Avenue.
  • The Government of Alberta contact centre is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Call 310-4455.

Insurance information

  • Most home and tenant insurance policies provide coverage for living expenses during an evacuation.
  • Evacuees should retain all of their receipts for food, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer.
  • Albertans can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information about insurance coverage is available online at ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Re-entry information

Evacuees can find tips on re-entry by visiting https://www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx. Information includes making sure all your utilities are working, cleaning up and how to deal with door-to-door salespeople offering services and insurance.

Justice and legal matters

  • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest you. Please call 780-427-3109 (to call toll-free, first dial 310-0000) for information.

Boil water advisory

  • A boil water advisory is in place for Meander River (Dene Tha’ First Nation).

Health

  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour help line at 1-877-303-2642, the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322, or Health Link at 811.

Donations and volunteers

  • Check the Mackenzie County Facebook page for an up-to-date list of donations needed and drop-off locations.
  • There have been reports that local residents in High Level are being solicited by email or phone for donations in support of firefighters or affected residents. Do not share your personal information with them or donate money.
  • When asked for donations (either over the phone, through an email, or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity.
  • If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization including its fundraising practices, call Service Alberta: 1-877-427-4088.

Canada Post

  • Mail and parcel delivery in certain communities has been affected by the wildfires.
  • Canada Post has contingency measures in place to serve residents of these communities.
  • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

Other income and social supports

  • Evacuees who receive Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped or Income Support benefits by cheque should contact their worker to make arrangements to receive it.
  • Call Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday if you:
    • need information on other social supports
    • are a contracted service provider, family member or individual needing assistance through the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program
  • Evacuees in need of financial assistance for immediate needs can apply for an Income Support program emergency needs allowance. This benefit may cover your accommodation, clothing and other urgent needs. Please call 1-877-644-9992 for more information.
  • For information on child intervention and child care, call 1-800-638-0715
  • Employment insurance: evacuees can visit Service Canada online to apply at www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Use code 4812014812201900.

Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card call 780-427-1432 or toll-free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.  
  • If driver’s licences, identification cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455 for more information – Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Related information

Backgrounder: Previous updates

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