Nothing but positives

By Geoff Lee

May 25, 2017 12:00 AM

PUNCH THE CLOCK The entrance to Husky's ethanol plant will be a busy place as an entry point for the Lloydminster Husky Upgrader turnaround, involving about 2,800 workers and contractors, and about 120 companies over a seven-week period. The turnaround started May 23. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

More than 2,500 workers in town for turnaround

Hard hats could ease the hard times Lloydminster is experiencing.
Economic relief is expected from the influx of about 2,800 workers during the seven-week Lloydminster Husky Upgrader turnaround, which began May 23.
“The scheduled maintenance will see about 1,500 people working during the day shift and about 1,300 on the night shift, which includes employees and contractors,” said Husky spokesperson, Kim Guttormson.
“About 120 companies are involved, however, we don’t have a breakdown of how many local people each would be hiring.”
The arrival of hundreds of workers should create some local economic spinoffs to the delight of merchants and city officials.
“It will definitely have a positive impact on hotels and restaurants, gas stations, retail stores and the like,” said Ward Read, CEO of the Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation.
The start of the turnaround at the Upgrader closely follows the end of the four-week turnaround at the Husky Asphalt Refinery that generated specific economic spinoffs.
“We’ve already seen the activity from the turnaround at the refinery,” said Jim Spenrath, the owner of   Rock Creek Tap and Grill, located next to the Hampton Inn by Hilton on the west end of the city.
“Certainly, the Hampton Inn was busier and the restaurant’s been busy as well,” he said, adding he saw a “modest uptick” at his eatery during the refinery turnaround.
Spenrath said the impact of the larger Upgrader turnaround was already showing up prior to the May holiday weekend when he spoke to the Source.
“I think as we go through the next little while, that’s probably where we’ll notice it, because we’re usually quite busy on the weekends,” he said.
Read expects the turnaround will create work and employment opportunities for some local firms and individuals as well.
“There’s certainly going to be a number of trades, of course, and for sure, we’ll see some specialized equipment operators, cranes and different kinds of things along those lines,” said Reid.
“We will probably see quite a broad swath.”
Husky said the work includes inspections and efforts to increase reliability and efficiency.
Mayor Gerald Aalbers said it’s a welcome sign to see and hear about more activity at hotels and restaurants, but with the buzz comes more traffic to and from the Upgrader.
“I understand they’re going to do things to try to alleviate some of the traffic concerns,” said Aalbers.
“Various contractors have various methodologies they use to try to get their crews to it.”
He said vans or small busses could be used to reduce traffic to the Upgrader.
“It’s a safety concern” he said.
Signs on the road point out contractor parking to the entrance of Husky’s Ethanol Plant.
“We hope Husky has a safe, productive turnaround at the Upgrader, because it employs a lot of people and certainly adds a lot of jobs to our community,” said Aalbers.
Husky continues to develop a growing suite of thermal heavy oil plants in the region, with a future potential production target of 150,000 barrels per day.
Open houses were held earlier this year for the sanctioned 10,000 bbls/day Lloyd thermal projects at Dee Valley, Spruce Lake North and Spruce Lake Central, advancing the projects toward regulatory approval.
Husky is also continuing to evaluate asphalt refinery capacity expansion with further developments and plans for Lloydminster, expected to be announced at its Investor Day, on May 30.
Members of Husky’s senior management team will meet with investors and analysts in Toronto to discuss the company’s five-year plan.
“I am going to be tuned in as best as I can,” said Aalbers.
“I’m hoping, like everyone else,  their next steps are announced at that point.”
If approved, the new asphalt refinery would likely be located near the Upgrader as shown in site plans.
Aalbers said it will definitely be good news if they sanctioned the doubling of the asphalt refinery in Toronto.
“I sense from both Husky employees and contractors that if the announcement comes, there will be some jubilation, because I think the staff would certainly like to see it in many ways, not just adding to their facilities,” he said.
“They’ve got production sold if they can get the production produced, so they need more capacity.”

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