Conventional oil & gas, coal and related services continue to innovate and act as a major economic driver in the region. Increased demand for renewable energy and support for clean energy also present many viable and complementary opportunities for investment. Grande Prairie has been a leader in the energy sector within Alberta, and we continue to see growing energy opportunities. The region’s skilled labour force allows Grande Prairie to leverage those skills to lead to increasing diversification within the industry.
Investment Opportunities Include:
- Traditional Energy Exploration, Service & Supplies
- Waste Management & Remediation
- Clean Technology Innovation
Access to Resources
Grande Prairie is in the centre of two major liquid-rich natural gas plays, the Montney and Duvernay, two of the most significant plays in North America. The output from the Montney has doubled since 2012 and now comprises a third of Western Canada’s natural gas production. It is projected to make up more than half of the country’s output by 2040. The Duvernay extends under 130 000 square kilometres (km²) of Alberta or 20% of the province. Importantly, the Duvernay Shale is rich in natural gas liquids, including condensate, which is often mixed with bitumen from the Alberta oil sands so the bitumen can be thinned and shipped in oil pipelines.
As a regional service hub, Grande Prairie is home to many major oil and gas regional headquarters and oilfield service companies. Companies such as ARC Resources, Canadian Natural Resources, Schlumberger, and Trican, as well as many local entrepreneurs, operate out of the region, servicing oil and natural gas activities in northwestern Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and into the Northwest Territories. This large market aids in economic stability, keeping companies and employees working during periods of world economic uncertainty. Grande Prairie is in an enviable position with ongoing new investment and interest in value-add and diversification opportunities, leveraging our region’s existing strengths.
Geothermal has been identified as an emerging opportunity within the region. In the spring of 2018, Terrapin Geothermics was engaged by Northern Alberta Development Council to evaluate the geothermal resources available to northern Alberta municipalities. The untapped potential of geothermal reservoirs, the Leduc Formation and the Granite Wash Formation presents the opportunity to be utilized for commercial, residential, and agricultural development. According to the study, the opportunity for direct use and/or power generation activities has been identified within the City of Grande Prairie. A number of temperatures recorded to the west of the city are among the highest readings recorded in Alberta.
Building upon Terrapin’s findings, in 2021, the City commissioned a Comparative Energy Study to examine all alternative energy options for the Hughes Lake area. This study is underway now.
Availability of Skilled Labour
Alberta’s Peace Region is the province’s largest producer of natural gas and conventional crude oil. The region boasts over 8,600 workers that are employed in the oil and gas industry or related fields, such as engineering, utility system construction and technical services with 2,007 in extraction and 4,218 in support activities.
In 2020, GPRC and Terrapin Geothermics (Terrapin) entered a partnership agreement to help match skills, advance economic development, and support continued energy market diversification in northern Alberta. The program will work to provide enhanced career opportunities, skills education, and experiential learning for students, faculty, and practitioners in the Grande Prairie region supporting the growth of the clean energy industry.
Availability of Land
With recently annexed land, over 2,000 acres of greenfield industrial land and an existing industrial inventory of 6.1 million square feet, there is a wealth of land and real estate developed to a variety of standards available that is easily accessible by major infrastructure.
Synergies with Local Industries
The region’s strong oil and gas industry has the opportunity to be leveraged with geothermal energy, especially as the focus is shifted to sustainability and providing greener sources of energy. Clean technology companies located in Grande Prairie are able to benefit from the local business potential of deployment of clean technologies in Alberta’s oil & gas industry.
Access to Research and Innovation
Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) is a research and innovation hub in the community of Grande Prairie. With faculty, staff and student researchers active in a range of specialty areas—including renewable energy, sustainable systems, data analytics, community enhancement, and human health and wellness—NWP has the expertise to support community initiatives and address persistent industry problems.
NWP is home to a clean technology innovation laboratory that aims to develop clean power options in collaboration with industry partners. The laboratory is equipped with a 500W EFOY-Pro methanol fuel cell and a full photovoltaic generation array.
Additional proposed NWP projects include the design, development and testing of a compact mobile solar power plant and options for small off-highway electric vehicles.
For more information on NWP’s research initiatives, news and opportunities, visit gprc.ab.ca/research.
The emerging clean technology sector benefits from the presence of Aquatera’s Landfill Gas-to-energy Project, which provides opportunities for business and knowledge sharing.
Building on its strengths, Grande Prairie is beginning to attract investment in the clean tech industry. With projects such as Aquatera’s landfill, Cielo’s planned biodiesel plant, combined with the City’s investment in solar electric transit and combined heat and power installation, we continue to use our expertise in energy to attract clean tech industries and diversification opportunities. Recent investments within clean tech innovation such as Naticol’s planned Blue Methanol facility, which plans to capture up to 1 million tonnes of co2 annually, build upon the region’s strengths within the energy industry and position Grande Prairie as a centre of excellence.