Message from the Executive Director

Well it was a little late but it looks like spring has truly sprung in the Heartland meaning turnaround season has officially arrived.

In keeping with our work to heighten NCIA’s profile in the community, we recently issued a media release regarding turnaround season.  Our goal is to ensure that we are sharing key pieces of information with our neighbours as well as regularly highlighting our collective success.

It’s that time of year again where a number of our NCIA member companies will be performing scheduled maintenance and upgrades at their facilities. We have included turnaround details in this month’s Heartland 101 section below.

As promised, NCIA is also continuing to keep an eye on the Municipal Government Act (MGA)review.  We are taking every opportunity to input into the ongoing consultations and will keep our members in the loop with our progress.



Heartland 101: Emergency Preparedness in the Heartland

Emergencies have the ability to impact individuals, communities and industries. Being prepared for emergencies is a shared responsibility. Emergency Preparedness Week is May 4 – 10 in Canada, and local mutual aid emergency response organization, Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response (NR CAER) encourages everyone to be safe, informed and prepared.

“People can follow the same steps for emergency planning that communities and industries do,” says Brenda Gheran, Executive Director with NR CAER. “You first need to ask yourself what risks you face, determine how you would address those risks, and have the necessary resources ready, so you can respond effectively.”

Each municipality and industry in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland has an emergency response plan and resources. Through NR CAER, there is a mutual aid plan to allow members to work together in a large emergency. “Over the past two decades, there have been a few instances where our members have come together to respond to either natural or industrial emergencies,” Gheran says. “We hold training exercises to ensure the plan is working, and make changes based on lessons we learn. We always find ways to improve.”

Residents in the area can do their part by getting informed and knowing what to do. NR CAER created a series of Youtube videos on emergency preparedness, emergency notification and NR CAER’s mutual aid program. “We encourage families to watch the videos together, and then create their personal preparedness plans. Emergency preparedness guides are also great resources that include information on proper safety actions, including Shelter in Place, which is something we need to know in our region,” Gheran advises.

It’s important in an emergency that the right information gets to the right people at the right time so they can make the right decisions. The UPDATEline 1.866.653.9959 has current information about industry activity and there are alerting systems residents can register for through their municipality.

NR CAER will be out in the community as part of its outreach activities for 2014 Emergency Preparedness Week:

  • May 6 Fort Saskatchewan Sobey’s (soon to be Co-Op) parking lot 4 – 6 pm
  • May 7 Bruderheim Community Hall 4:30 – 5:30 pm and staying for the Life in the Heartland information evening from 5:30 – 8pm

For more information about Life in the Heartland, visit, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or email

Feature: Shell Captures Attention

Shell Canada has an established reputation for innovation. The company’s Scotford facility pioneered the exclusive processing of synthetic crude oil from Alberta’s signature oil sands three decades ago and continues to be recognized as one of North America’s most modern and efficient refineries today.

Located near Fort Saskatchewan, and home to 1400 staff and 900 long term contractors, Shell Scotford, is now poised to become the first oil sands operation in the world to implement carbon capture and storage.

“It’s exciting because our Quest Carbon Capture and Storage Project will help to minimize our environmental footprint through the capture and storage of more than one million tonnes of CO2 each year,” says Communications Advisor, Stephen Velthuizen.

“We will permanently sequester 35% of the direct CO2 emissions produced during the upgrading process – that’s the equivalent of taking 175,000 vehicles off the road.”

The plan is to capture and compress the CO2, which is a by-product from the company’s hydrogen units, into liquid form.  It will then travel through a 60 km pipeline north of Shell’s Upgrader (near Thorhild) where it will be injected more than two kilometres underground for safe storage.

Shell is using leading-edge technology and taking advantage of the unique land characteristics in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. “We found that the geology in that area is ideal,” explains Velthuizen.  “At that level, we have caprock which effectively prevents the gas from migrating to the surface and we also have quite a porous layer where the CO2 can fill in the gaps nicely.”

While Mother Nature has provided multiple layers of protection, the $1.4 billion project will also be carefully observed by world-class monitoring technologies to ensure green house gases remain safely and securely underground.  And all eyes will be on Shell in 2015 when injection commences.

The Quest CCS project is just one of many ways the company is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to emission reduction. A $200,000 pilot program at the Scotford Refinery tank farm has resulted the replacement of 191 halogen bulbs with more efficient LED lighting.

“Of course these new bulbs last longer and use less energy but they also offer more directional lighting so we can keep the light where it is needed most,” says Velthuizen.  “We hope that our neighbours will appreciate the change.”

In late 2011, Shell also partnered with Aux Sable’s Heartland Offgas Plant in an effort to cut carbon emissions and provide building blocks for more valuable products such as hydrogen.

A pipeline was established between the two facilities so that gas by-products could be sent directly to Aux Sable for processing. Aux Sable breaks down the offgas and offers hydrogen and other valuable products in return.

The innovative partnership has allowed Shell to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching to cleaner burning natural gas to fuel their operations.  In the first year of the agreement, CO2 emissions were reduced by an impressive 125,000 tonnes.

“Together we’ve been able to take something that would traditionally be viewed as waste and turn it into a valuable product,” says Velthuizen.  “In this case we are able to make money from a collaborative agreement that helps the environment.  It’s about thinking about what we do and finding new ways to do it.”

As a member of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA), Shell is committed to sustainable growth and environmental stewardship in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

For more than three decades, NCIA and its 25 member companies have been working together with industrial organizations, neighbours, government representatives and industry stakeholders to support and advance industrial investment in the city of Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona, Sturgeon and Lamont counties.  NCIA is proud to be the voice of industry in Alberta’s Heartland.

Upcoming Event! Heartland Community Information Evening

Wednesday, May 7 at the Bruderheim Community Hall

It is that time again. Life in the Heartland will be hosting a Community Information evening starting at 5:00pm on May 7th at the Bruderheim Community Hall.

A light meal and refreshments will be served prior to presentations, which will kick off at 6:00pm.  Locals are invited to come and hear more about current industrial projects, activities, and plans from companies and industry-related organizations in the region.

Several NCIA members including: BA Energy, Canexus, Enbridge, Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Shell will be sharing important information with attendees.

For more details please visit the Life in the Heartland Facebook Events page.

Anyone planning to attend should RSVP to: or call or text 780.231.9802.

Life in the Heartland 2014 Community Survey

Life in the Heartland is committed to improving resident awareness of and access to information, resources and contacts about topics related to existing operations and industrial development.

This month, locals are being encouraged to take a moment to complete a brief, seven question, online community survey.

Through the provision of feedback, residents will not only help Life in the Heartland to better target communication and engagement strategies, they will qualify to win one of two $100 Visa gift cards.

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