Sunday, July 16, 2006

Who pays and, where is the balance?

I recently had an extended conversation with a young man who has a welding rig, working from camp to camp around the machinery area. He drives up to a work site, contacts the job foreman and tells him he is available here and now and his rate is $320.00 per hour. Most times he works a 16 hour day, 7 days a week. Whew!

In most instances the job foreman will give him an open ended PO and put him to work welding offering bonus hours if he will work over 10. Also offered is only welding, the company will provide its own people to de-burr the seams after the welding is finished.

He makes an insane amount of money and pays the same scale for a hovel to stay in at Fort McMurray occasionally usually opting for sleeping in his truck.

It doesn't matter to the exploration companies can pay 1000 dollars an hour if they want, it goes onto the cost of their construction costs. All construction costs (as in 100%) are deducted from the money received from selling the oil until, all is paid for. Only 1% of revenue goes to the Alberta Government! When all is built and paid for, 5% goes to the Alberta Government, that being the lowest recovery in the world.

Our total take is far below the 25% of revenue talked about. This again is the lowest in the world. If the oil companies won't give up another 15% as they should, then, go explore in Ontario.

You and I are paying the extreme high wages in the Tar Sands! There is no accountability!

You and I are also paying for the higher rates in labor around the province, pushed up by the open process in staffing used by the oil companies.

In addition to this, these same processes use our natural gas. Whether or not the oil companies charge us for this by withholding royalty money or, they get it for nothing, it is all out of the taxpayer pocket. We, the tax payers pay for the electrical transimssion lines built from the Tar Sands to export power to the US!

We have more oil in this province than we have water! Yet, oil companies get huge amounts of water from the aquifer and lakes that they don't have to pay for and without regard to a dwindling resource.

There is another source of water about 4000 feet down, below the sweet water (Aquitaine aquifer). This water is poison and will never be used for drinking or domestic use. Why not force the oil companies to uses this water? Yes, it is more expensive but, since we are paying for it anyway why not?

People in this province better get interested and soon!

John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca
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