Loading articles...

Oilsands giants commit to RMWB amid COVID-19 crisis

The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility is reflected in a tailings pond near the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta on June 1, 2014. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Syncrude and Suncor said they would continue to work for the RMWB.

Syncrude Managing Director Doreen Cole and Suncor Senior Vice President at Base Plant Shelley Powell released a joint statement.

They said for more than 50 years, both companies were steadfast partners in the community.

“Indeed, over the decades, our companies and the community have prospered from a spirit of cooperation that has generated countless and diverse benefits. Now, more than ever, we need this to continue.”

They said both companies took several decisive actions to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

As of publication, there are four cases of the virus within the urban service area of Fort McMurray.

“Specifically, we’ve had dedicated teams in place since the early beginnings of the crisis; they are actively managing our plans to help keep people and facilities safe, and responding daily to the ever-evolving situation.”

There is an only essential staff working at Site, which adds up to a reduction of 50 per cent.

Cole and Powell added all remaining employees currently work remotely from home.

Both companies implemented guidelines from Alberta Health Services.

“We’re following and expect our employees to follow recommended and mandated government measures such as keeping workers at physical distances in the workplace and on commuter buses, implemented health screening, and enhanced workplace hygiene and cleaning.”

Cole and Powell added extensive measures are in place should someone at work feel sick.

These include measures like immediate isolation and deep cleaning of the workspace.

They also deferred or cancelled several projects requiring skilled trades from outside Wood Buffalo to limit spreading the virus.

“While this does have implications to our business it was the right decision to make as we stay true to our core values of keeping people safe. Both companies have also restricted corporate travel to only essential business and have encouraged our employees to follow directions from health authorities regarding personal travel.”

Syncrude and Suncor recognize there is an ongoing crisis with oil prices.

Cole and Powell said sustaining operations is vital to the socio-economic wellbeing of the region, Alberta, and Canada.

“While we have reduced our capital and operating expenditures as we effectively manage both the virus and the sudden drop in oil prices, our commitment to this community is unwavering. We value our local suppliers and are working hard with them to identify and sustain as much business as possible.”

Both companies added they would honour all commitments to their respective local non-profit partners.

They thanked employees, contractors, and partners who joined them in keeping worksites and homes safe.

“COVID-19 has changed the world and how we interact. But as a community we’re demonstrating that physical and social distancing doesn’t mean putting up barriers that prevent us from effectively working together.”

They added they are confident Wood Buffalo will remain united and supportive during unprecedented times