More than 500 jobs could be lost at a company in the Alberta oil sands region if the province’s oil patch suffers a downturn in oil prices, according to a report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
“If oil prices are going down, and there’s a downturn, there are a lot of potential job losses,” said Tim Brown, president and CEO of the CUPE 3902 union in Alberta.
“And then you’re going to have more people who need to be employed in these jobs.”
In an email to CBC News, Brown said the CAPP report said that if oil prices decline to $25 per barrel, the company could lose as many as 400 jobs in Alberta, or about one in three jobs in the province.
“If they do, you’ll be losing the jobs of people who are already working for you,” Brown said.
The union’s president said it is a concern, given that oil prices have already dropped by $40 per barrel.
Brown said it’s also possible that companies could lose their licences to drill in the area.
He said the report said the oil sands industry is in a “very strong position” to stay in the market.
“It’s very unlikely that these companies are going to be able to stay here if prices are dropping and the job market is going to decline,” he said.
Brown told CBC News that there have been calls from several people to stay put in Alberta because of concerns about the province being in a downturn.
“That’s something we’re going get into, because I think it’s a real concern for them,” he added.
The report said a number of people have contacted him since the report was published, and the majority of those have expressed support for staying in the oilpatch.
However, Brown stressed that a majority of the jobs at the company will not be lost, and that many of them are “very well-paying.”
He said he hopes people will reconsider if they are considering the region as a career.
“They should consider that, but they should also consider that we’re in a strong position,” he told CBC.
“I think a lot more people are doing that now than they used to be.”
Brown said he is not sure how many jobs could potentially be lost.
The province has not issued a specific timeline for the layoffs, but Brown said that the oil patch is a “really tough place” to work.
“This industry has a lot going on.
There are a number, a lot, of people that are doing well.
They have the best employees,” he noted.