Energy, business and labour leaders form new council to expand Alberta's access to world markets and create investment and jobs in Alberta

EDMONTON, March 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Leading industry, employer and labour association leaders have joined forces to create a new organization – the Resource Diversification Council (RDC) of Alberta. The RDC is focused on realizing the full potential of Alberta's abundant natural resources by expanding and diversifying Alberta's resource manufacturing industries.

"Our diverse council members have come together because they share in a common purpose: building the value added resource sector to provide stable jobs and a place for Alberta's future workforce to grow and prosper," said Naushad Jamani, Chair, RDC, and Senior Vice President, Olefins and Feedstock, NOVA Chemicals. "By further diversifying our energy industry, capturing greater value for our resources and securing a larger share of world markets, we have an opportunity to help Alberta get off the roller coaster of commodity prices, and set the stage to be a major player in refined products that can be shipped all over the world."

As Alberta faces significant challenges with oil and natural gas prices and access to world markets, the RDC will seek to work with government and other stakeholders in advancing energy diversification and further development of the petrochemical and hydrocarbon processing industries to the benefit of Alberta's economy for current and future generations.

Alberta is Canada's largest petrochemical producing region and home to a $14 billion chemical industry, serving as Alberta's top manufacturing industry employing 8,000 people directly, and tens of thousands more through indirect and induced benefits. RDC's goal is to add further value to Alberta's abundant feedstocks, and will be working with the government and other stakeholders to establish a target to increase today's level of petrochemical processing and the level of hydrocarbon refining by 2030.

"In the coming months, the Council will build on the discussion about diversification; encouraging the next generation of policy and program development to increase the processing of our energy resources right here in Alberta," concluded Jamani.

"Alberta is an energy province and we will always be an energy province, but there is more we can do with our energy resources to add value, create jobs, and make our economy more resilient. It's terrific to see business, labour and industry organizations coming together to help further energy diversification in Alberta. The Resource Diversification Council is a welcome and important addition to our province. Working together, we will create jobs, economic growth and a stronger Alberta," said Marg McCuaig- Boyd, Minister of Energy.

"RDC members currently have nearly $13 billion in projects under or near construction, which at their combined peak, would employ approximately 9,000 construction trades and support apprenticeship retention. The projects will also provide contracts to engineers, fabrication shops and numerous contractors," said Warren Fraleigh, Executive Director, Building Trades of Alberta and Council member. "Once these world class facilities are in operation, we expect them to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to government and municipal regions through ongoing corporate and municipal taxes, helping to pay for our roads, hospitals and schools to the benefit of all Albertans."

The combined construction projects currently under way by RDC members include NW Refining's Bitumen to Diesel Refinery (Phase 1), NOVA Chemicals' Polyethylene 1 Expansion and Ethylene 2 Refurbishment, and Williams Energy Canada's proposed Propane Dehydrogenation Plant and associated polypropylene facility. These construction projects will generate approximately $12 billion in GDP, $1 billion in provincial revenue and $2.2 billion in federal revenue in Alberta.

About the Resource Diversification Council

The Resource Diversification Council (RDC) is a non-profit association dedicated to realizing the full potential of Alberta's abundant natural resources by expanding and diversifying Alberta's energy resource manufacturing industries. RDC members are comprised of industry leaders and senior executives of organizations who share a mutual interest in advancing Alberta's energy resource value added sector. The RDC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of one executive from each member and an elected Chair. RDC members include Agrium, Keyera, NOVA Chemicals, NW Refining, Williams Energy Canada, the Building Trades of Alberta, Coordinating Committee of Registered Employers' Organizations (Construction Labour Relations Alberta and the Electrical and Boilermaker Contractors Associations of Alberta) and Stantec. For more information please visit: www.diversification.org

SOURCE NW Refining

For further information: Chris Ghazouly Executive Director, RDC Tel: 780.904.6939, Email: chris@diversification.org; Shauna MacDonald Brookline Public Relations Tel: 403-538-5645, Cell: 403-585-4570, Email: smacdonald@brooklinepr.com; Brad Hartle Press Secretary Alberta Energy, Tel: 780-638-9455, Email: Brad.Hartle@gov.ab.ca

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