Sturgeon Refinery Update: A good news story

On April 19th I gave an update to the Alberta Legislature on the commissioning of the new Sturgeon Refinery. I was happy to report that things are going well.

Video and full transcript below:

“At the current stage of construction this refinery is able to process synthetic crude into diesel and other value-added products. Over 2 million barrels have been refined and shipped within western
Canada already, and the refinery has started paying off.”

Sturgeon Refinery Update
Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to give an update on a project that I’m proud to have in my riding, the Sturgeon refinery. It is a good-news story. The refinery is now nearing completion. Nine out of 10 units are now in the commissioning phase. This past December the refinery produced its first diesel, and I was honoured to attend the celebration in Morinville along with my colleague the MLA for Sherwood Park. At the current stage of construction this refinery is able to process synthetic crude into diesel and other value-added products. Over 2 million barrels have been refined and shipped within western Canada already, and the refinery has started paying off.

The Sturgeon refinery is state of the art and a testament to Alberta ingenuity. It’s the world’s first refinery with integrated carbon capture and storage. At completion this refinery will capture 1.2 million tonnes of CO2. The CO2 is safely sequestered by injecting it into depleted geological formations deep beneath the Earth’s
surface. This is the equivalent of taking nearly 300,000 cars off our roads. The refinery also protects the environment by producing an ultra low sulphur product with low carbon intensity. From a peak of 8,000 workers to around 2,500 today this refinery has logged over 50 million hours of employment. During one of the worst downturns in recent memory this project has provided a decent income to thousands of Alberta families.

Further, this refinery has stood out as a leader in ensuring an equitable and representative workforce through partnering with organizations
such as Women Building Futures and working closely with First Nation communities. It is also known as a good neighbour by the farmers nearby and is a huge supporter of the local community.

Seventy-five per cent of Albertans want to see more refining done in this province. The Sturgeon refinery was the first new refinery built in years and was done with the novel funding arrangement that has made this project possible. The North West Redwater Partnership is to be commended for creating something successful and truly made in Alberta. Thank you.

Redwater School receives a Climate and Environment Student Action Challenge grant – March 1, 2018

Students at Redwater School are building an outdoor classroom this spring. All students and groups are invited to participate making the space somewhere they can enjoy nature, relax, learn and grow their own food.  It is so great to see youth engaged and thinking of exciting ways to protect and nurture our environment. 

Climate and Environment Student Action Challenge

Do you have an idea for a project that could reduce the environmental footprint of your school? Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) could help make it happen!

The Climate and Environment Student Action Challenge invites Alberta students from kindergarten to grade 12 to develop a school-based initiative or project that will address climate change or minimize other negative human impacts to the environment.

Students are invited to submit their project idea for a chance to win one of 10 grants (maximum of $1,000) that can be used to turn their proposal into a reality – and give them hands-on experience tackling an environmental issue that directly impacts them, their school or their community.

Successful applicants have now been selected from each school level (Division 1, 2, 3, 4) for 2017/2018.

Participating teams are invited to contribute to the online learning community! Provide real-time project updates, share tips, ask questions and inspire new levels of learning – the provincial Climate and Environment Student Action Challenge community is a great way to explore new ideas throughout the school year.

Students at Redwater School received a grant for their outdoor classroom.

Redwater Review – December 5, 2017 Health Minister Hoffman Tours Redwater Hospital

Alberta Minister of Health and deputy premier Sarah Hoffman toured the Redwater Health Care Centre Nov. 29.

“I love getting out to see front line health care,” said Hoffman, adding that she tours a facility about once per week. She reads numerous reports about rural health care facilities and needs to get out and see them.

Hoffman described her visit as “business as usual,” and when asked, said Redwater’s hospital is not being considered for closing. Hoffman said she came to see the Redwater hospital because Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette had extended to her the Town of Redwater’s request for her to visit.

“Colin is a strong advocate for the community,” said Hoffman.

Mayor Mel Smith said, “We knew she (Hoffman) has been touring other areas, so we put in a call to Colin Piquette.”

The Redwater hospital opened on Jan. 1, 1973.


Alberta Minister of Health and deputy premier Sarah Hoffman posed for a picture with Redwater mayor Mel Smith and some members of council before she toured the Redwater Health Care Centre Nov. 29. In the photo are councillors Joanne Williams (Front L-R) and Connie Butcher, Hoffman, and Smith with coun. Dave McRae (Back L-R), Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette and coun. Les Dorosh. Story on front page.


Redwater Review – November 28, 2017 Redwater Celebrates Canada 150

Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette said it was a privilege and honor to be part of the celebration. “What an amazing country we have to live in,” he said, adding that Canada gave the world a model on how to live with diversity and it is the place people from all over the world want to live.
He noted acceptance of diversity has not always been extended to Canada’s indigenous minorities, but said that is being worked on.

Honourable Christina Gray, Minister of Labour – Redwater and area tour – July 24, 2017

On July 24th I was honoured to have the Honourable Christina Gray, Minister of Labour and Democratic Renewal visit our riding as part of a Northern Alberta tour. Minister Gray toured the Northwest Refinery and dropped into Redwater to speak with Mayor and Council. MLA Jessica Littlewood for Fort Saskatchewan -Vegreville also came along for the visit and it was wonderful to see her as well.  It was a great day- despite the awful weather!

The NWR Partnership is presently  completing construction of Phase I and is in a testing/monitoring phase prior to start-up later this year. As a matter of fact two of the boilers were live and producing steam the day we went. Great to see the incredible progress they’ve made over the past couple of years.This project has been a driving force in construction activity in the Industrial Heartland over the past several years, providing employment for 5,000 – 7,000 people.

They are now starting to work towards approvals for Phase II which will once again drive construction in the area. Minister Gray had the opportunity to meet with Ian McGregor and other plant officials before touring the refinery itself.  The tradespeople she met were great advocates for the project, and the pride they have in being part of it shone through. 

Minister Gray had originally planned to visit Agrium as well but unfortunately this did not work out. Agrium is one of the largest fertilizer complexes in North America, and the largest private sector employer in Sturgeon County.

I was very proud of the reception the Minister and MLA Littlewood received from the Town of Redwater. Mayor Smith and Council have a special talent for being completely forthright in their concerns while never failing to be the epitome of courtesy and respect. They made a great pitch for Phase II, but also expressed their questions and concerns on such issues as electoral boundaries and rural representation, labour legislation, nonprofit fundraising. 

Later that day I returned the favour and accompanied the Minister and MLA Littlewood to Lamont where we met with a large group of municipal officials. Once again, an excellent and frank discussion was held on such issues as rural depopulation, Bill 17, senior supports, among many others.

Minister Gray showed herself to be an adept and sympathetic listener, but also  well informed on all aspects of government policy. I know she found this tour to be a valuable exercise and the participants seemed to agree. I am quite sure though that we all agree that she is welcome back any time!