Fort McMurray, a remote Canadian city that has largely built the sandy oil industry, is trying to limit the ability of these companies to fly to workers outside the city.
The city, which is in the middle of the world's third-largest crude oil reserve, is drafting a by-law to limit the construction of temporary workers called human camps as it tries to encourage producers to work locally or where workers are located. The aim is to boost the population, local businesses and housing prices in a place that has suffered a dramatically double murder in 2016 by the devastating fire and the fall in oil prices.
"We want more people living in this region and calling this home," said Don Scott, Mayor of the Wood Buffalo Regional District, which includes the city, in a phone interview on Tuesday. "This will give a lot more people in this region a lot more opportunity."
Regional councils voted for a proposal to stop human camps in a 75-mile radius. Fighting Fort McMurray Against Human Camps is just the latest headache for manufacturers who have had to face pipeline obstructions and production constraints imposed by Alberta to try to raise crude oil prices locally.
Preventing the establishment of new camps to producers would only discourage investment at a time when capital spending would decline for the fifth consecutive year, said Karim Zariff, executive director of the Alliance for Petroleum Communities, a local trade organization representing the industry.
"Any kind of industry-imposed moratorium is basically a moratorium on development, bitterly shrinking investors' confidence in the oil sands sector," he said, adding that oil sands attempt to attract people to live locally.
"This is just a blueprint and may never be approved but there is a risk that it will be (though time and formulation is uncertain) and if so, it can affect 61 camps and 27,256 workers within the borders," Kirk Wilson, analyst Beacon Securities Ltd ., says the note on Wednesday.
In recent years, most petroleum sands projects were either canceled or put on hold because large companies, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ConocoPhillips, sold their businesses to local manufacturers such as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. announced in 2014, with Aspen's Imperial Oil Ltd. of 75,000 barrels a day, which was a significant exception last year.
Located approximately 740 kilometers north of Calgary, the average temperature in Fort McMurray this month is -17.4 degrees Celsius (-0.7 Farenhayts), according to Environment Canada. The history of the city has been linked to the oil industry since the 1960s, when it is now Suncor Energy Inc. for the first time began to excavate sticky bitumen from the local soil. The Fort McMurray was then a small, remote settlement near the Athabasca River, connected to southern Albert by a single macadam route. Today, there are hotels, colorful restaurants and a large sports center.
When oil prices were north of $ 100 a barrel before the accident that began in 2014, people served as auxiliary valve. They placed workers who could otherwise burden a city that could not build homes, roads, and infrastructure fast enough to track growth.
However, in the area there has been a decline of 11 percent from 2015 to 111,687 last year, according to census results. Approximately one third of this was the so-called. A shadow that consists mostly of workers staying in camps. The shadow population declined by 15 percent over a period of time.
"Small businesses struggle," said Mayor Scott. Many workers do not even use local airports, but fly on private jet airplanes. Local homes lost about 25 percent of their value since the fall of 2014.
"We do not need to be just oil sand to be strong but we need this community to be strong," the mayor said. "It will be a balance."
– With the help of Brian K. Sullivan and Michael Bellus