The Royal Bank of Canada’s quarterly report for the end of 2016 highlights a number of changes and policy shifts in the UK and US that create a positive outlook for the Alberta economy in the new year: “In 2017, a bounce-back in energy investment and anticipated fiscal stimulus are expected to provide a further boost.” As such, RBC is estimating modest to moderate growth for Alberta, among other provinces. According to the Conference Board of Canada, “Alberta can expect to see real GDP growth of 2.2 per cent in 2017.” With Trump’s presidential win, the Keystone XL pipeline may get the go-ahead and the federal government has already approved the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is good for Alberta construction sector. Similarly, ATB Financial is projecting a 2.1% expansion for Alberta’s economy in 2017, meaning that we are on our way to recovery. These top industrial projects announced or currently underway in Alberta, are evidence of the province’s movement toward recovery:
1. Fibre-Optic Internet – Edmonton, AB
Started in 2015, Telus and the City of Edmonton began construction on a $1 billion, fibre-optic internet, a telecommunications innovation that is expected to reach 90% of buildings and homes in Edmonton and to provide the fastest and most reliable internet service. “Telus says its $1-billion fibre-optic Internet build out in Edmonton will give the city a technological and economic upper hand that will boost innovation, education and streamline health care.” Their PureFibre™ network is already available in some neighbourhoods, with the project slated for completion in 2017.
2. Polyethylene Facility Expansion – Joffre, AB
Finally nearing completion, this $1 billion expansion project at the Joffre is an addition of a world-scale, poluethylene reactor designed to produce 950 to 1,100 pounds of Linear Low Density Polyethylene. This project will expand the polyethylene facilities at Nova Chemicals’ Joffre Site in Lacombe also includes a rail yard with room for 450 cars. This project is currently winding down in the commissioning phase.
3. North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) Sturgeon Refinery Project
The world’s only refinery with both gasification and a carbon capture and storage solutions, the $8.5 billion NWR Sturgeon Refinery Project will produce cleaner, high value products that meet low carbon standards, and that will capture 1.2 million tons of carbon per year with each new phases’ completion. The first phase of the NWR Sturgeon bitumen refinery is due for completion in September 2017 and will convert 79,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen into ultra-low-sulphur diesel. An ongoing, three phase project, the NWR refinery will continually employ tradespeople in the industrial sector.
4. Alberta Carbon Trunk Line – Sturgeon and Clive, AB
A $1 billion project to collect carbon dioxide from the Industrial Heartland and transport it to reservoirs for storage in enhanced oil recovery project, building the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line is a 240 kilometre pipeline. The project’s ultimate purpose is to provide safe, secure reservoirs for 14.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually as oil is produced, essentially pulling over 2.6 million vehicles off Alberta roads. The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line will lead the way in carbon capture and transport in Alberta.
5. TransCanada Grand Rapids Pipeline – Edmonton and Northern Alberta
A $3 billion dollar project, the TransCanada Grand Rapids Pipeline is about 460km long, with two parallel pipelines running alongside one another. The dual system will transport crude oil between Northern Alberta and the Heartland region. The project includes a crude oil pipeline, a diluent pipeline, and associated facilities along the line such as pump stations and tank farms. The project is expected to be fully operational in 2017.
The coming of 2017 is finally a positive outlook for Edmonton construction, with the new year comes new hope, new possibilities, and a modest economic recovery.