It's been a bit over a week since Imperial Oil announced that they would move forward with a $720 million investment in Strathcona County.
Imperial Oil's plan is to build Canada's largest renewable diesel facility at their current Strathcona location with production slated to start in 2025.
The county is ecstatic about the development.
"It's very rewarding to see," said Stephen Rausch, the manager of investment attraction with Strathcona County. "It demonstrates that our regional energy and petrochemical sectors are really well positioned to lead the world in this transition to decarbonize and achieve net zero."
"Utilizing renewable resources, carbon capture, and low carbon hydrogen to produce fuel is pretty cutting edge and we are very excited to welcome this facility into our municipality."
It wasn't a coincidence that Strathcona County was chosen as the site for this world-class facility. Rausch thinks that there are some advantages to doing this type of business in the region.
"It does confirm some of our location advantages for investment from around the globe," said Rausch. "We have a world-scale cluster of these facilities that are all very integrated and supported by a built-out network of utility and transfer infrastructure."
"Obviously a highly skilled and specialized workforce working these facilities and constructing them. We have these sustainable feedstock advantages that I think are unique to our place around the world and, of course, we have a globally competitive cost of doing business."
The local economy will almost definitely be affected in a positive way by this type of development. Rausch says that the cost of the facility is almost double that of Edmonton's Rogers Place.
"$720 million is a big number," said Rausch. "We do know, from the release, that means 600 construction jobs for workers in the county and region and further indirect jobs will be induced by this economic activity."
"I can say that construction jobs in the sector carry a very high economic multiplier. There will be opportunities for many businesses in the region to support the supply chain throughout this project."
The facility itself will take advantage of local feedstock, which should help support value-added agriculture.
"The feedstock will be products such as canola, possibly even soy or sunflowers," said Rausch. "We're focused on a few target sectors to diversify our local economy."
"This investment fits both buckets and I expect to continue to see more of this nature in Strathcona County and as well as with our neighbours."
Construction on the facility is already underway.