Friday , February 26 2021

Fort McMurray fights home camps in the latest headaches for the energy industry

Fort McMurray, the remote Canadian city, largely built by the oil industry, tries to limit the ability of these companies to fly out of town workers.

The city that stands in the middle of the largest crude oil reserves in the world is drafting a decree to limit the construction of temporary homes known as men's camps, as it seeks to push the producers to hire locally or have workers there The goal is to increase the population, local businesses and housing prices in a place that endured the sad and brutal damage of 2016 to a devastating fire and to sink prices of petroleum

"We want more people who live in this region and call this house," said Dimitri Don Scott, mayor of the Wood Buffalo Regional Municipality, which encompasses the city, he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "It will give more people to this region with much more opportunity."

Councilors in the region voted in favor of a motion to stop home camp within a 75-kilometer (47-mile) radius of the city. The battle against Fort McMurray's camps is only the latest headache for producers who have had to deal with oil pipelines and a reduction in production imposed by Alberta to try to increase gross prices locals

The Alberta government is right to intervene in order of restriction: Peter Tertzakian

Peter Tertzakian, CEO of ARC Energy Research Institute, says that the risks of not intervening in the oil field would be worse than the risk of intervention.

Preventing producers from creating new fields would only discourage investment at a time when capital spending will be reduced for the fifth consecutive year, said Karim Zariffa, executive director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance, a local business organization representing the industry .

"Any type of moratorium imposed on industry is basically a moratorium on development, exacerbating the lack of confidence of investors in the oil sands sector," he said, adding that oil tide companies are trying to attract people for live locally.

"It is only about a project and it can never be approved, but there is a risk (although the calendar and the draft are not safe) and, if so, they can affect 61 fields and 27,256 workers within the limit "said Kirk Wilson, an analyst with Beacon Securities Ltd., said in a note Wednesday.

In recent years, most of the oil projects were canceled or retained as majors including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ConocoPhillips sold their operations to local producers such as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Cenovus Energy Inc. Few oil projects have been announced since 2014, with the Aspen project of 75,000 barrels per day of Imperial Oil Ltd. being a notable exception last year.

Located about 740 kilometers north of Calgary, the average temperature of Fort McMurray is -17.4 degrees Celsius (-0.7 Fahrenheit), according to Environment Canada. The history of the city has been linked to the oil industry since the 1960s, when what Suncor Energy Inc. He began to undermine the sticky bitumen of the local soil. Fort McMurray was then a small, remote distance along the Athabasca River, connected to the south of Alberta by a single dirt road. Today, it hosts hotels, ambitious restaurants and a massive sports center.

When oil prices were trading at the north of $ 100 a barrel before the accident that began in 2014, men's camps served as a relief valve. Hosted workers who could otherwise invade a city that could not build houses, roads and infrastructures that were sufficiently fast to keep up with growth.

But the area has experienced a population decline of 11 percent from 2015 to 111.687 last year, according to census results. Around a third of this was the so-called shadow population that is made up mostly of workers who remain in camps. The shadow population dropped 15% in the time period.

"Small businesses have been fighting," Mayor Scott said. Many workers do not even use the local airport, but they fly through manned airliners on airline companies from private companies. Local households have lost about 25 percent of their value since the slowdown of 2014.

"We not only need the oil sands to be strong, but we need this community to be strong," said the mayor. "It's going to be a balance".

– With the assistance of Brian K. Sullivan and Michael Bellusci

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