Minister of Energy visits G.P. Vanier “Science in Motion” event prior to holding an open house in Falher

G.P. Vanier students study the dynamics of light using convex and concave mirrors.

Tom Henihan
Express Staff

During a Science in Motion event at G.P. Vanier on December 19, local MLA and Minister of Energy, Marg McCuaig-Boyd dropped by to attend the session.

While the kids in small groups of two and three studied the dynamics of light using convex and concave mirrors McCuaig-Boyd talked with some of the students and discussed their project.

“This is my happy place being in a school because I used to be a teacher,” says McCuaig-Boyd.

The Minister visited the G.P. Vanier science event before holding an open house from 1pm to 3 pm that afternoon at the Centre Chevaliers in Falher..

“The Open House is an opportunity to meet and greet my constituents at Christmas and to talk with members of municipal government,” she says..

She held a similar event in Fairview the preceding Friday.

“It is nice now that we are out of the house I can spend a little more time in the constituency,” she said.

As Energy Minister McCuaig-Boyd had some good announcements with the petro chemical plant with Inter Pipeline going ahead. A 3.5 billion dollar investment is certainly good news.

Regarding the petro chemical plant project, Calgary based Inter Pipeline Ltd. made this statement on its website.

Inter Pipeline are pleased to announce that its board of directors has authorized the construction of a world-scale integrated propane dehydrogenation (PDH) and polypropylene (PP) plant. The facilities, collectively referred to as the Heartland Petrochemical Complex, are estimated to cost $3.5 billion in aggregate and will be located in Strathcona County, Alberta near Inter Pipeline’s Redwater Olefinic Fractionator.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex will be designed to convert locally sourced, low-cost propane into 525,000 tonnes per year of polypropylene, a high value, easy to transport plastic used in the manufacturing of a wide range of finished products.

Construction of the complex will continue in early 2018 with completion scheduled for late 2021.

“They made their final investment decision and there is no going back now, it will be built. In this particular one it’s propane and there is not much value for propane now in Alberta so it is a really nice low feed stock and it will increase the value about four times. They are going to turn it into propylene and polypropylene plastic pellets that can be made into a lot of things.”

An additional upside to this project is that the polypropylene pellets are a stable product without any of the environmental concerns in transportation associated with liquid oil and gas.

With the building of the plant, McCuaig-Boyd is also hopeful that it may also lead to some additional developments in the province.

“Right now we ship our product out and bring the raw product back to make things or bring in the finished product. This way maybe we can get a little more manufacturing in Alberta.”

Another positive development that McCuaig-Boyd sited is related to the orphan wells situation.

“The federal government gave us 30 million dollars and we’ve leveraged that to 235 million loan to start doing extra work on reclaiming the orphan wells in Alberta as that is becoming a growing problem.

“Last week, we announced changes to Directive 67 with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).”

The AER and the Alberta government can now apply more stringent conditions to Directive 67 that formerly only required a company to provide a minimal down payment and to hold some insurance.

With the changes to Directive 67, AER has added mechanisms to stop companies that go bankrupt from leaving all their assets for others to clean up and then re-emerge as another company.

With the recent changes, the Alberta Energy Regulator has the discretion to refuse a license or impose conditions on players who have a history of negligent behaviour.

“This is a method where we have the ability now not to license these bad actors, because the industry players who play by the rules are getting stuck with the bills for those two.”

Along with the environmental gains, the orphan wells will also provide employment.

“Right now there are people who can do this work looking for work,” says McCuaig-Boyd.

The work on the orphan wells will take place over a three-year period but the payments for that work will be made over a ten years.

“That makes it doable for the industry and it puts people to work right now,” she says. ” A lot of planning is being done at present and a lot of reclamation coming in the summer.”

Marg McCuaig-Boyd talks with the students.

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