FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Ken Chapman
December 4, 2012
My recent conversation, with Ken Chapman, Executive Director of the Oil Sands Developers Group .. I consider my old Edmonton-days friend Ken who spends enough time here these days to deserve the label of part-time Calgarian. After a year and a few months in his current job, he tells me he is still having fun . . .
This short interview took place in three parts – two phone calls from cabs and finally corralling him, albeit briefly, at last week’s Oil Sands Symposium at the Fairmount Palliser:
I began with the obvious line of questioning – pipelines.
…. Ken’s swift response – I can talk to you about anything else. For comments on pipelines, talk to Janet Annesley at CAPP – she is our spokesperson on that issue.
On his job, the primary focus right now . . . .
. . . many – working with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) and the Provincial Government on transportation corridors issues, meeting with Presidents and CEO’s of member firms on a quarterly basis, working on community connections and resources that contribute to employee retention and community building.
. . . and he goes on to brag about what the RMWB is doing to with a leading edge energy harvesting landfill/waste recycling facility, part of a strategy to make Fort McMurray one of the greenest communities in Canada!
Right now, can you describe the pace of the industry?
… slowing the overheated pace of growth, influences of the world economy, softening prices, transportation issues, producers spreading out their capital projects, taking a little pressure off labour force issues
Five years out, what do you see?
. . . huge growth, both in terms of mine expansions north of Fort McMurray and even more so with in-situ projects coming on stream south of Fort McMurray, in the Conklin and Anzac areas.
What are the biggest challenges right now?
… getting the province to release land for municipal housing and industrial development in Fort McMurray to support more ‘normalized’ housing supply, so 48,000+ camp residents who fly in and out might become more a part of the communities, part of the social and cultural fabric of the community – and strategizing with communities to provide the services that families need (I’m paraphrasing … next time I’ll bring my tape recorder)
On technology, recently Rick George has been doing a speaking tour hawking his book, and speaking a lot about technology development as the next big new thing. How do you and your member companies see it?
. . . absolutely, new technologies are key to developing the very large portion of the resource that is too deep to mine, that requires new ways of getting oil out with less water than early SAGD methods, carbon capture . . . a wide range of things that will bring even more shift in focus to the in-situ areas south of Fort McMurray – in fact it has already shifted.
. . . cabs, rental cars, planes and foot …
For those of us who’ve known Ken a very long time, pinning him down for a chat is as difficult as getting him to speak slowly enough so I can actually make legible notes. I am working from snippets here, a sound-byte there and usually involves rapid fire diversions about great things happening and who I should talk to, or meet, or interview.
Always a pleasure – thanks Ken.
P.S. .... summer 2013
Ken moved on to be Executive Director, Northern Initiatives at Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. He blogs at Oil Sands Ken . He can be reached at Kchapman@edmonton.com
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