Notley highlights Grande Prairie for energy diversification

Premier Rachel Notley on Friday announced a Grande Prairie company will be included in the second round of Alberta's petrochemical diversification program.

"'Grande Prairie and this region as a whole are emerging as a very young and vibrant force,' Notley says

Rachel Notley announced a beneficiary to the second round of a provincial petrochemical diversification program in Grande Prairie on Friday. (Zoe Todd/CBC)

Four days after the Alberta government announced it would undertake a second round of a program aimed at diversifying the oil and gas industry, Premier Rachel Notley announced that a Grande Prairie company as a beneficiary.

Tradesmen Enterprises, a mechanical contractor that has been operating in the northwestern Alberta city since 2006, is finalizing a contract to manufacture parts for a processing complex that is under construction near Edmonton.

The contract — one of the company's largest — is expected to add about 100 jobs over one year, said Greg Mould, the company's vice-president of business development. The company currently employs about 300 people, 

The provincial program, which launched in 2016, is meant to diversify Alberta's economy by encouraging companies to invest in new petrochemical facilities.

During the program's first found in 2016, two plants in the Industrial Heartland region qualified for up to $500 million in royalty credits — which will leverage $6 billion in new private-sector investment, Notley said during her Friday announcement at the Tradesman Enterprises workshop near Grande Prairie. .

"By creating these programs, our government is ensuring that more opportunities — not only for businesses like Tradesmen — can have success."

She added the hope is to create future opportunities to build petrochemical facilities "right here in Grande Prairie."

Mould said the extension of the petrochemicals diversification program is welcome news.

"We need that investment in the economy," he said. 

"We're coming out of a pretty rough time over the last three years."

Region shows 'unlimited potential'

Grande Prairie is one of four regions in Alberta identified by the Energy Diversification Advisory Committee as holding potential for value-added processing jobs.

The city's proximity to the Montney and Duvernay natural gas formations, as well as its railway access to the west coast, makes it an ideal candidate for future petrochemical projects, Notley said.

"It's a very, very exciting time for this region," she said. "Grande Prairie and this region as a whole are emerging as a very young and vibrant force and we want to make sure that that future, and that the future of this region, is even stronger.

"There's unlimited potential here and that's why we're taking action and creating the programs that will help tap into that potential even further."

Under the Energy Diversification Act, the province has committed to spending up to $2 billion to attract long-term private investments. 

The commitment includes $500 million for a second round of royalty credits, as part of the petrochemicals diversification project.

The province has also earmarked $500 million in loan guarantees and grants for a petrochemical feedstock infrastructure program, as well as $1 billion in loan guarantees and grants for a partial upgrading program.

About the Author

Zoe Todd

Video Journalist

Zoe Todd is a CBC video journalist based in Alberta, filing videos and stories for web, radio and TV.