Monday, May 10, 2021

Canada’s oil sands area turns into nation’s COVID-19 hotspot

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Mike Specter
What's there to say about me, blogging is my passion, but that goes without saying, i love football and i won't turn down an invitation for a drink. Make that Tequila and you have my undivided attention! How ironic lol I enjoy reading and occasional golf

Canada’s distant oil sands area in northern Alberta has turn into a COVID-19 hotspot, disrupting important annual upkeep work at its large oil sands crops.

The oil-rich province of Alberta is battling the very best fee of COVID-19 in Canada because the nation grapples with a 3rd wave of the pandemic, and on Thursday hit a report for brand spanking new day by day infections, topping 2,000 a day for the primary time. The Regional Municipality of Wooden Buffalo, dwelling to the oil sands, has the very best fee of lively circumstances per capita within the province.

Upkeep work is important for manufacturing from Canada’s oil sands, which maintain the world’s third-largest crude reserves and produce 3.1 million barrels per day, accounting for roughly three-quarters of the nation’s whole output.

Twelve oil sands crops together with Canadian Pure Sources Ltd’s Horizon and the Suncor Power’s majority-owned Syncrude challenge are tackling outbreaks whereas in the course of annual upkeep tasks that require flying in further employees from as far-off as Atlantic Canada.

In whole, there are 822 lively circumstances at oil sands websites, in response to Alberta Well being. One employee has died.

Suncor has pushed again the upkeep turnaround on the U2 upgrader at its base plant website by a minimum of a month to see if infections subside, stated Terry Parker, govt director of the Constructing Trades of Alberta, representing 18 native unions.

“It is a very aggravating state of affairs proper now that they’re going through,” Parker stated, including some employees have been leaving the oil sands due to fears about changing into contaminated. “The house owners are taking the precautions vital, and we’re nonetheless contracting this illness.”

A Suncor spokeswoman stated the corporate is making minor changes to pre-work and day-to-day actions, however it stays on monitor with its deliberate upkeep.

Syncrude is lowering the scale of the upkeep workforce on its website due to the COVID-19 outbreak, stated Brad Corson, chief govt of Imperial Oil, on an earnings name on Friday. Imperial owns 25% of Syncrude.

The mining and upgrading challenge, which has 254 lively circumstances, remains to be aiming to complete the turnaround as scheduled in mid-June, Corson added.

CNRL, Suncor and Syncrude stated COVID-19 security protocols are in place. They’ve carried out speedy testing and isolation camps in a bid to gradual the COVID-19 surge.

One contractor at CNRL’s Horizon plant, which has 328 lively circumstances, the very best among the many oil sands websites, stated employees are examined each 4 days however that gave the impression to be having little impression on the outbreak.

“You’ve gotten 8,000 individuals on website for 4 weeks, it is going to be a factor,” he stated, declining to be named as a result of he’s not licensed to talk to media.

Indigenous leaders this week referred to as for stricter measures to manage the unfold of the virus and accused Alberta Premier Jason Kenney of “prioritizing earnings over lives” by permitting contaminated employees to come back to the area.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, referred to as on Kenney to close down work websites with outbreaks throughout the province, together with the oil sands, to get the virus underneath management.

“This can be a recipe for pointless an infection and pointless deaths,” McGowan instructed Reuters.

Alberta has greater than 21,000 lively COVID-19 circumstances, together with 632 individuals in hospital.

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Modifying by Christopher Cushing and Chris Reese)

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