Frequently Asked Questions
What about the communities near your Clearwater Phase I Project? How are they being protected, and how will they benefit?
Our Clearwater Project sets a new standard for safe, environmentally responsible and sustainable oil sands operations. It is smaller in scale and every aspect has been carefully thought-through to maximize public safety and environmental protection, and minimize public impact and inconvenience. Please click here for a wealth of detail. The Clearwater Project will bring a range of economic benefits to the community – including revenue to the Fort McMurray Regional Airport and jobs for local people during construction and over the project’s decades of operating life. We are engaging systematically with area stakeholders to communicate our plans and gather feedback to ensure the Clearwater Project is the best-designed and best-executed project that we can possibly make it.
Don’t oil sands operations damage large areas of land and forest?
In situ or underground oil sands operations like Clearwater, by their nature, do most of the crucial work of extracting bitumen from the reservoir underground. There’s no surface mine, no tailings pond, no need to clear large areas of forest, and no large areas of ground disturbance. Both phases of Clearwater are in situ designs, which will be much smaller than any current oil sands surface mining operation and smaller than most other underground oil sands projects as well. So, the short answer is, “Not Clearwater.” Please click here for key project specifications.
I’m concerned about safety. How can I be sure the Clearwater Project is safe?
The smaller overall size, low-pressure design and numerous other design elements and features make the Clearwater Project the safest SAGD project design in the Canadian oil sands industry. Please click here to read about specific safety features, such as our state-of-the-art tiltmeter array, a first in the Canadian oil sands industry. In addition, the Clearwater Project is fully regulated and every element of the project and its design is being evaluated and vetted by the ERCB.
What about air pollution, noise and bad smells?
AOS understands your concerns, and the careful design and unique features of our Clearwater Project eliminate or drastically reduce all of those potential negatives. Please click here for information on our air quality protection measures, click here for information on noise control, and click here for information on eliminating odours.
How much will your project increase traffic and wear-and-tear on the local roads?
Virtually not at all. The Clearwater Project will add less than 2 percent to the traffic on Highway 69. Please click here for details.
Will there be any benefits to local communities?
AOS is committed to maximizing benefits for the local community. Our formal agreement with the Fort McMurray Regional Airport will contribute revenue to the airport’s ongoing operations. We will hire as many of our operating staff as possible locally, make use of local suppliers and contractors, and participate in local community programs. We are joining the local municipality’s emergency response planning process and expect to contribute to future public safety responses. Once production starts, we will pay provincial royalties as well as taxes to all three levels of government for decades to come. Please click here for more.
Will there be jobs created locally?
Definitely, once the project receives approval to proceed. AOS will create direct jobs in hiring personnel to operate the plant, and indirect jobs by utilizing local contractors and suppliers as much as possible for goods and services during construction and operation of both project phases. The Phase I plant will require up to 250 workers during construction and then an estimated 24 full-time staff to operate.
Who oversees what is going on at the Clearwater Project? Is it regulated in some way?
The Clearwater Project is closely regulated by the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta’s primary energy regulator, and Alberta Environment. The project can only proceed after receipt of a number of permits and formal approvals. The regulatory process includes lengthy and detailed scrutiny of the company’s detailed project application, which was filed with the regulators in 2010.
What will be the total economic impact of the Clearwater Project over its expected operating lifespan?
We are confident that the total economic benefits of the Clearwater Project will be many hundreds of millions of dollars, including local purchasing, wages and salaries, as well as royalties, taxes and fees paid to the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The exact sums paid will depend on numerous variables, including the project’s production rate and lifespan, future commodity prices and future tax and royalty rates.
Who are the people behind AOS? Is it a Canadian company or is it offshore-controlled?
AOS is based in Calgary, Alberta and is operated by a management team of experienced, locally-based business and technical people with deep ties to the Alberta community. AOS shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in Toronto.