Take Stock_June 1

It used to be a foregone conclusion that the gigantic shovel-and-dumptruck operations in the oilsands would go hand-in-hand with an upgrader – a multibillion dollar facility to turn the sticky bitumen squeezed from the sand into lighter oil that refineries can handle more easily.

Bitumen may be refined elsewhere

CALGARY — It used to be a foregone conclusion that the gigantic shovel-and-dumptruck operations in the oilsands would go hand-in-hand with an upgrader – a multibillion dollar facility to turn the sticky bitumen squeezed from the sand into lighter oil that refineries can handle more easily.

But some companies – most recently Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) – have opted to go without building one of those expensive complexes. And the head of Alberta’s labour group warns the move away from the oilsands’ traditional business model means the province’s already grim employment picture won’t brighten when the economy bounces back. Among other options Imperial is looking at is sending production from its recently approved Kearl project to refineries in the United States, which can been retrofitted to handle heavier crude.

The Alberta Federation of Labour has been urging intervention from the Alberta government to stamp out what is sees as a disturbing trend.

“The same general economic conditions that convinced Imperial to go with an extraction-only project will likely convince other developers to do the same,” said AFL president Gil McGowan in an interview. “Frankly that should be a big concern for Albertans because what it will mean is that literally thousands of high-paying jobs in upgrading and refining will be shipped down the pipeline to the American Midwest and Gulf Coast.”

Currently about two-thirds of the current 1.2 million barrels or so produced each day is upgraded in Alberta, but that is not likely to last long.

JASS SUNGLASSES AND ACCESSORIES

No. 110, 4929 50th St.

(Towne Centre Mall)

Red Deer

403-986-1655

l Owner

Jerry Anderson

l Type of business

Retail sales of sunglasses, as well as sports and celebrity collectables.

l Opening date

April 1

THE TWISTED WRENCH

No. 110, 6040 47th Ave.

Red Deer

403-986-1349

l Owner

Geno Andres

l Type of business

Automotive repair, performance and customizing work, including for powersports vehicles, and detailing.

l Opening date

May 1

OPEN for Business

New business that have opened in Central Alberta within the past three months and wish to be listed here can send their information to Harley Richards by email (hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com) or fax (403-341-5309).

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