BJ Services is closing its shops in Red Deer’s Edgar Industrial Park to consolidate operations in northern Alberta. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Oilfield employer pulling out of Red Deer

Oilfield service company consolidating its operations in Clairmont, Alta.

An oilfield company is pulling out of Red Deer to consolidate its operations in northern Alberta.

Texas-based BJ Services confirmed Thursday it is closing its shops in Edgar Industrial Park as of Sunday.

“The oil and gas market in Canada has been challenged throughout 2019, and operators have concentrated their activity in the Montney and Duvernay basins of northern Alberta,” said BJ Services president Warren Zemlak in a statement. “To best serve our clients in these areas, BJ has made the decision to consolidate its Canadian operations to our Clairmont location. The company is transferring all operations and operations support roles from Red Deer to Clairmont.”

The number of workers affected was not released by the company.

Company external affairs manager Michelle Gray said operations and operations support staff — who comprise the majority of Red Deer employees — have the option of relocating to Clairmont, a hamlet eight kilometres north of Grande Prairie.

Zemlak said future plans for the Red Deer facility have not been determined, and the company will continue to evaluate market conditions.

Brett Salomons, a partner with Salomons Commercial, said Red Deer’s industrial sales and leasing market has been doing well and a buyer will likely be found for the BJ Services site.

“It hasn’t been a bad year. We’ve actually had three consecutive quarters of positive absorption,” he said, adding that amounted to 170,000 square feet of space.

“We’re now under a 10 per cent vacancy rate.

“Industrial has been the one shining light in Red Deer this year, as opposed to retail and office, which has seen vacancy rates creep up each quarter.”

Some of the growing interest in industrial space has been spurred by dropping lease rates and sale prices, said Salomons.

“That’s created opportunities for others,” he said. “You have leases turn over and you see some tenants taking advantage of a depressed market by getting a better facility for the same rent, or upgrading, or growing a little bit — whatever the scenario is.”

Properties that are proving harder to occupy are smaller tenant bay spaces in the 2,000- to 4,000-square-foot range, he said.

The former Finning Canada Centre of Excellence, which was closed in early 2017, is another tougher sell.

The facility, which prepared, customized and overhauled machinery, was opened in 2008 after the company bought Collicutt Energy Services Ltd. and its facilities.

Salomons said as a large manufacturing complex, the Finning site is not typical for Red Deer.

“It’s a huge outlier for Red Deer. Trying to find a suitable user is difficult,” he said. “If that building was in Edmonton, it would probably be gone by now.

“But BJ’s buildings are a quintessential facility for Red Deer, where it’s an oilfield services shop and there are a lot of other businesses in Red Deer that can utilize those facilities.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


BJ Services is closing its shops in Red Deer’s Edgar Industrial Park to consolidate operations in northern Alberta. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Just Posted

RCMP investigate possible drowning at Pigeon Lake: Man and woman found dead on shore

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

Red Deer Region Highland Dancing Association to participate in national dance-a-thon

Central Albertan dancers have missed performing during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the… Continue reading

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

Still no mandatory masks in Red Deer

While a growing number of Alberta communities have made masks mandatory, the… Continue reading

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

69 salmonella cases in B.C. linked to red onions, province’s CDC says

VANCOUVER — The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning people in… Continue reading

Puncher’s chance: Fighting is up during unique NHL playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ season was hanging by a thread from one… Continue reading

Quebec festivals organizers look to innovate as restrictions loosened

Montreal has been having its quietest summer in recent memory, as COVID-19… Continue reading

COVID-19 outbreaks over in federal prisons, staff preparing for ‘new normal’

COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada’s federal prisons have been declared over, and staff… Continue reading

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

OTTAWA — The federal government will match all individual donations from Canadians… Continue reading

Protests in Beirut amid public fury over massive blast

BEIRUT — Police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators in Lebanon’s… Continue reading

Most Read