On Monday, Suncor officials joined by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Energy Minister Margaret McCuiag-Boyd, opened its Fort Hills oil sand project.  Government of Alberta photo.

Fort Hills could generate $8 billion in royalties for Alberta over the life of the project

On Monday, Suncor officials, local contractors, First Nation leaders, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd officially opened the company’s Fort Hills oil sands project.

At the peak of the construction phase, 7,900 people were employed at Fort Hills and now that the facility is operational, 1,400 people are employed full time.

Suncor CEO Steve Williams calls Fort Hills “the new face of oil sands”.

Along with shareholders’ returns, jobs, revenue for vendors and suppliers and contributions to both the provincial and national economies, Fort Hills “showcases how we’re continuing to innovate through technology and the mutually beneficial relationship that is possible with Aboriginal Peoples,” says Williams.

Nicole Bourque is CEO of Bouchier Contracting.  The Aboriginal oil sands site services firm is located in the Fort McMurray and is owned by Bourque and her husband David Bouchier, both area residents.  Bouchier Contracting is one of the local businesses contracted to do work on the Fort Hills project by Suncor.

“Our partnership is based on trust and collaboration and serves as an example of how First Nations and local companies can work together to ensure that energy developments like this one are a positive force for generations to come.”

According to the Alberta government, over the lifespan of the 194,000 barrels per day (b/d) Fort Hills oil sands project could generate $8 billion in royalties for the province.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called the Alberta oil sands “the heartbeat of our energy industry”.

“As we fight for good jobs and an economic future that works for everyone, the Fort Hills grand opening shows that things continue looking up for the Wood Buffalo region and working families in Alberta’s energy sector.”

In a press release issued by the government of Alberta, the Fort Hills project “shows a commitment to Alberta’s world-leading plan to create jobs while protecting the environment”.

New extraction technologies focus on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity per barrel of bitumen produced. GHG emissions intensity of production at Fort Hills is currently on par with the average refined barrel in the United States.

“This project is about looking forward, not backward,” said Alberta Minister of Energy Margaret McCuaig-Boyd.

She added “It’s a tremendous achievement in responsible extraction and production, and is a prime example of investors taking advantage of opportunities to grow their production while reducing emissions. We’re showing that you don’t need to choose between the environment and the economy. We can and we must move forward on both.”

The Fort Hills project is a joint venture between Suncor, Total E&P Canada Ltd. and Teck Resources Ltd. Suncor holds a majority interest in the Fort Hills project.