Alberta’s industrial heartland booming: AIHA

Pumpjacks work at an Imperial Oil facility in Cold Lake, Alberta FILE PHOTO/Edmonton Sun

Pumpjacks work at an Imperial Oil facility in Cold Lake, Alberta FILE PHOTO/Edmonton Sun

With oilsands production to double within the next 10 years, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA) is on the cusp of another boom.

At a stakeholder meeting Thursday, AIHA members heard that there is $21 billion worth of projects already in the works and more is on tap. AIHA is the cooperative effort of the Counties of Lamont, Strathcona, Sturgeon, and the Cities of Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan.

“(In the past,) my phone just wasn’t ringing. No one was calling,” said Neil Shelly, executive director.

“But things have gotten very busy, very fast.”

Development in Alberta’s Heartland, a centralized hub for accepting bitumen and shipping it on to locations across North America, is being influenced by a number of factors. Last spring, the province moved forward with new policy, the BRIK II program, which enabled new upgraders to get started in the Heartland.

Shelly told the crowd that interested investors have commented that Canada is one of the most “investable” countries in the world, due to an attractive political and economic climate.

“We’re still facing competition from other regions, like in the Gulf Coast, so we’ve got to keep going,” he told the crowd.

“Competition for investment from countries across the globe make it vital for the Alberta Heartland to enhance our competitive advantages.”

He added that the AIHA will also work to manage the pressures of capital cost inflation that constantly challenges the province, as well as continue to investigate the plausibility of accessing world markets.

Our region is home to 43 per cent of Canada’s basic chemical manufacturing, including petroleum refining and upgrading, natural gas fractionation and processing, and fertilizer production and metal refining.

Shelly said production could easily double over the next decade, telling the crowd that he’s excited about the potential growth.

“Things are going very well in the Heartland,” he said.

“You’re going to see a lot of activity going on, especially in the Capital Region.”




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