Alberta delegation plans trade-focused visit here

Alberta delegation plans trade-focused visit here

Ripley, Richard

A delegation of trade officials from Alberta is scheduled to meet with Inland Northwest business managers and leaders Jan. 20 to discuss trade opportunities in the Canadian province for companies in this region.

The Spokane-based International Trade Alliance is putting on the event at the Valley Hospital Health and Education Center, 12606 E. Mission, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“Alberta’s busy,” says Hazel Cail, manager of intergovernmental relations for the Department of Alberta Economic Development.

Doug Cameron, that department’s director of investment attraction from the Americas, says oil companies have $25 billion (U.S.) in projects under way in the oil sands 300 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta, and plan many more projects.

The oil industry says it has spent $17 billion since the mid-1990s to extract oil from the gooey sands, and it expected oil production there to top I million barrels last year. It believes it has proven reserves there equivalent to 20 years of oil consumption for all of North America, and Cameron says the heavy development spending has created opportunities in Alberta for Inland Northwest businesses and also for skilled laborers. “It!’s time to do a lot more partnering in the U.S.,” he says. “We’re trying to build some awareness,” rather than help arrange business deals, on Jan. 20, but the Canadians will be laying the groundwork during the session for a follow-up trip to Alberta by representatives of Inland Northwest businesses, he says.

Meanwhile, Calgary, Alberta-based NorthernLights Transmission, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., a Calgary pipeline giant, has said it’s evaluating building a high-capacity power line from the oil sands–where electricity will be cogenerated with waste heat from the creation of vast amounts of steam injected into the ground to extract oil. The power line would run past Spokane and on to Eastern Oregon. The idea is to ship huge amounts of power to U.S. markets, and NorthernLights has said that as a part of its power-line project it will look at building an $80 million-to-$100 million power-conversion station near Spokane.

At the Jan. 20 session:

* Cameron will make two presentations, including one on oil-sands development, cogeneration, and electricity sources, and a second on the potential for making business investments in Alberta, the advantages of doing business in the province, and additional sectors that are important to Alberta.

“Michelle Normand, trade director of an agriculture and food branch of Alberta Economic Development, will provide trade statistics and discuss priorities and partnership opportunities, current issues, and the proposed visit to Alberta by Inland Northwest business executives.

* Carmen Killick, an Alberta Economic Development trade officer, will talk about high technology, including biotech and health-information technology, information and communications technology (ICT), e-learning, and nanotechnology, which employs tiny instruments. Cameron says Canada’s national institute for nanotechnology is in Alberta.

*Lee Kruszewski, director of software and new media for Alberta Innovation and Science, will talk about ICT research and development and wireless opportunities.

* Cail will discuss 2005 Centennial celebrations in Alberta.

The Alberta officials hope to use the Spokane meeting “as a template” for broader marketing efforts for U.S. business collaborations, Cameron says. I think this might be a good example for how we can further our relationships through partnerships,” he says. “Our alliances in business terms are more naturally northsouth than they are east-west,” partly for infrastructure reasons, he says.

The cost of the event here is $35 for ITA members and $40 for others. To register, call Kelsie Anguiano, at 459-4123.

Copyright Northwest Business Press Inc. Jan 13, 2005

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