The Oilsands Project

Posted by ryanjackson on Nov 16, 2013 in oilsands, photos, video |

2013 was the year of Oilsands for me and the Edmonton Journal. Our Editor in Chief asked us to pitch a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and I pitched that the Journal produce a truly in-depth series on the Oilsands.  I was fortunate to go up to northern Alberta three times during the summer with one trip taking me up to Fort Chipewyan for my third time.

I worked with various reporters and editors on the project and it truly was a BHAG.

You can check out the whole six-week series at edmontonjournal.com/oilsands. It covers the history, economics, environment, family issues, politics and future issues.

I’m was very fortunate to be given so much time to work on the project and the best compliment given to it was that it is the most balanced look at the oilsands you can find.

Bellow are some of my favorite photos and videos I produced for the series.

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.:   JUNE,19, 2013:  A Welcome to Fort McMurray sign stands on the side of Highway 63 on the south end of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 19, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE,19, 2013: A Welcome to Fort McMurray sign stands on the side of Highway 63 on the south end of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 19, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

The Oilsands: Huge risks, Giant Rewards

This is the main video of the series. If you only watch one of my videos from this series then check out this one.

This video introduces what’s at stake in one of the world’s largest industrial projects.Explore the Edmonton Journal’s in-depth series on the Oilsands at: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/oilsands

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.:      JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Syncrude's oilsands upgrading facility north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. The plant converts bitumen which is extracted from oilsands into synthetic crude oil which is then piped to southern refineries. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Syncrude’s oilsands upgrading facility north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. The plant converts bitumen which is extracted from oilsands into synthetic crude oil which is then piped to southern refineries. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Oilsands Green House Gas Issues

The growing CO2 emissions from Alberta’s oilsands are effectively cancelling out reductions made in other sectors of Canada’s economy. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

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Muskeg near Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013:  An aerial view Suncor's Millennium Mine oilsands operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: An aerial view Suncor’s Millennium Mine oilsands operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

Oilsands Tailings Ponds a Growing Problem

The tailings ponds created by Alberta’s oilsands mining have tripled in size since 2005 and are predicted to grow another 40 percent. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013:  An aerial view Suncor's base plant oilsands upgrading facility next to their oilsands mining operations north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. Syncrude can be seen in the distance at the top right.  The base plant separates bitumen from the nearly 500,000 tons of oilsands it receives per day and turns it into Synthetic crude. It also processes bitumen from Suncor's McKay River and Firebag steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oilsands operations in the area. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: An aerial view Suncor’s base plant oilsands upgrading facility next to their oilsands mining operations north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. Syncrude can be seen in the distance at the top right. The base plant separates bitumen from the nearly 500,000 tons of oilsands it receives per day and turns it into Synthetic crude. It also processes bitumen from Suncor’s McKay River and Firebag steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) oilsands operations in the area. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.:      JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Syncrude's North Mine oilsands mining operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Syncrude’s North Mine oilsands mining operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCKAY, ALTA.:      JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) oilsands mining operation near Fort McKay, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCKAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) oilsands mining operation near Fort McKay, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.:      JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Kearl Oilsands Project which is owned by Imperial Oil and ExxonMobile Canada north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Kearl Oilsands Project which is owned by Imperial Oil and ExxonMobile Canada north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.:      JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Suncor's Firebag steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) in-situ oilsands project north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. The process uses natural gas and water to create steam which is then piped into the ground to separate bitumen from oilsand deposits. The bitumen is then pumped up and sent to Suncor's base plant to be upgraded into synthetic crude.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 18, 2013: — An aerial view of Suncor’s Firebag steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) in-situ oilsands project north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. The process uses natural gas and water to create steam which is then piped into the ground to separate bitumen from oilsand deposits. The bitumen is then pumped up and sent to Suncor’s base plant to be upgraded into synthetic crude. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: June, 20, 2013:   A panoramic view of the heavy hauler maintenance shop which services all millennium mine equipment at Suncor's base plant oilsands operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 20, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal) This image was created by stitching multiple pictures together.

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: June, 20, 2013: A panoramic view of the heavy hauler maintenance shop which services all millennium mine equipment at Suncor’s base plant oilsands operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 20, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal) This image was created by stitching multiple pictures together.

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.:      JUNE, 20, 2013: — An aerial view of Highway 63 just north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 20, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: JUNE, 20, 2013: — An aerial view of Highway 63 just north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 20, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Editor Mark Suits recording the voice overs for all my videos. He has a golden voice.

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 7, 2013: —Roadside marker crosses Tanya Zwaan and Ione Curr who died on December 13, 2010 along Highway 63 in northern Alberta, 92.2 km south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on September 7, 2013. More than 170 people have died on Highway 63 in the last 10 years. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 7, 2013: —Roadside marker crosses Tanya Zwaan and Ione Curr who died on December 13, 2010 along Highway 63 in northern Alberta, 92.2 km south of Fort McMurray, Alta. on September 7, 2013. More than 170 people have died on Highway 63 in the last 10 years. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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EDMONTON, ALTA.: JULY, 31, 2011: — An aerial view of the Imperial Oil Strathcona refinery with the Kinder Morgan and Enbridge oil terminals in the foreground and the Edmonton skyline in the background on July 31, 2011. The area is part of Alberta's Industrial Heartland. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

EDMONTON, ALTA.: JULY, 31, 2011: — An aerial view of the Imperial Oil Strathcona refinery with the Kinder Morgan and Enbridge oil terminals in the foreground and the Edmonton skyline in the background on July 31, 2011. The area is part of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT SASKATCHEWAN, ALTA.: OCTOBER, 4, 2013: —An aerial view of Alberta's Industrial Heartland, just north of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. with the Shell Scotford plant in the foreground on October 4, 2013. The industrial heartland is Canada's largest hydrocarbon processing centre. 75% of all motor fuel used in western Canada comes from this region. Dozens of oil refineries, chemical manufactures and fertilizer plants are all fed from Alberta's various oilsands, conversional oil and natural gas companies in northern Alberta.   (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT SASKATCHEWAN, ALTA.: OCTOBER, 4, 2013: —An aerial view of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, just north of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. with the Shell Scotford plant in the foreground on October 4, 2013. The industrial heartland is Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing centre. 75% of all motor fuel used in western Canada comes from this region. Dozens of oil refineries, chemical manufactures and fertilizer plants are all fed from Alberta’s various oilsands, conversional oil and natural gas companies in northern Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

EDMONTON, ALTA.: OCTOBER,28, 2013: —A plume of yellow sulfur coloured smoke billows from the Suncor Energy refinery in Edmonton, Alta. around 2:52pm on September 28, 2013. The refinery is part of Alberta's Industrial Heartland.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

EDMONTON, ALTA.: OCTOBER,28, 2013: —A plume of yellow sulfur coloured smoke billows from the Suncor Energy refinery in Edmonton, Alta. around 2:52pm on September 28, 2013. The refinery is part of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

EDMONTON, ALTA.:      MAY, 11, 2013: —The Tripp family (left to right). Ethan, 22, Rebecca, 18, Teague, 24, Fiona Styles-Tripp and Stan pose for a photo at the front steps of their Edmonton home on May 11, 2013. The family has had to manage over the years with a father who commutes back and forth from the oilsands in Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

EDMONTON, ALTA.: MAY, 11, 2013: —The Tripp family (left to right). Ethan, 22, Rebecca, 18, Teague, 24, Fiona Styles-Tripp and Stan pose for a photo at the front steps of their Edmonton home on May 11, 2013. The family has had to manage over the years with a father who commutes back and forth from the oilsands in Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

ST. ALBERT, ALTA.:      JUNE, 4, 2013: —Heather Fredeen tends to her one-year-old daughter Jordyn in her home in St. Albert, Alta. on June 4, 2013. Her husband Cory is a welder for an oilsands mine in Fort McMurray and commutes back and forth to St. Albert. which is just north of Edmonton. Despite the stresses of working six days on six days off, the family prefers the commute rather than living in Fort McMurray.   (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

ST. ALBERT, ALTA.: JUNE, 4, 2013: —Heather Fredeen tends to her one-year-old daughter Jordyn in her home in St. Albert, Alta. on June 4, 2013. Her husband Cory is a welder for an oilsands mine in Fort McMurray and commutes back and forth to St. Albert. which is just north of Edmonton. Despite the stresses of working six days on six days off, the family prefers the commute rather than living in Fort McMurray. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 9, 2013:   Dr. John O'Connor poses for a photo outside the hospital in Fort McMurray, Alta. on September 9, 2013. O'Connor has spent years as a physician for the northern communities of Fort McMurray, Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan. He has been fighting to get proper cancer studies done on the residents of Fort Chipewyan who have higher than expected rates of rare cancers. The debate has been whether the cancers are caused by pollution from the oilsands industry or other unrelated factors. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCMURRAY, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 9, 2013: Dr. John O’Connor poses for a photo outside the hospital in Fort McMurray, Alta. on September 9, 2013. O’Connor has spent years as a physician for the northern communities of Fort McMurray, Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan. He has been fighting to get proper cancer studies done on the residents of Fort Chipewyan who have higher than expected rates of rare cancers. The debate has been whether the cancers are caused by pollution from the oilsands industry or other unrelated factors. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Interviewing John O’Connor. Two LED lights.

FORT MCKAY, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 25, 2013:  Fort McKay First Nation Chief Jim Boucher poses for a photo in his office in Fort McKay, Alta. on September 25, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT MCKAY, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 25, 2013: Fort McKay First Nation Chief Jim Boucher poses for a photo in his office in Fort McKay, Alta. on September 25, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

chief

Shooting setup for Chief Jim Boucher. I wanted to show his beautiful office. One large LED light helped balance the window behind him.

 

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 11, 2013:  An aerial view of boreal forrest, muskeg and the Athabasca River delta system near Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 11, 2013..  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 11, 2013: An aerial view of boreal forest, muskeg and the Athabasca River delta system near Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 11, 2013.. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 11, 2013:  Fishing boats in Lake Athabasca on the shores of Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 11, 2013.  Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 11, 2013: Fishing boats in Lake Athabasca on the shores of Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 11, 2013. Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

rigney

Interviewing Alice Rigney. The sun was going down so I added two small LED lights for fill.

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Photographing Raymond. Unfortunately I got my 5D Mark-III wet and it short circuited it. Still shoots video but won’t take stills now.

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013:  Metis commercial fisherman and trapper Raymond Ladouceur poses for a photo on Lake Athabasca in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013. Ladouceur says he has seen big changes in Lake Athabasca over the years caused by oilsands industry. He has also lost several family members and friends to cancer which he believes is caused by industrial pollution.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013: Metis commercial fisherman and trapper Raymond Ladouceur poses for a photo on Lake Athabasca in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013. Ladouceur says he has seen big changes in Lake Athabasca over the years caused by oilsands industry. He has also lost several family members and friends to cancer which he believes is caused by industrial pollution. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013:  Metis commercial fisherman and trapper Raymond Ladouceur poses for a photo on Lake Athabasca in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013. Ladouceur says he has seen big changes in Lake Athabasca over the years caused by oilsands industry. He has also lost several family members and friends to cancer which he believes is caused by industrial pollution.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013: Metis commercial fisherman and trapper Raymond Ladouceur poses for a photo on Lake Athabasca in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013. Ladouceur says he has seen big changes in Lake Athabasca over the years caused by oilsands industry. He has also lost several family members and friends to cancer which he believes is caused by industrial pollution. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Catching a boat ride with Raymond and reporter Marty.

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013:  Fort Chipewyan residents walk down MacKenzie Ave. in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013.  Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013: Fort Chipewyan residents walk down MacKenzie Ave. in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013. Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013:  Hundreds of crosses and grave markers with dates spanning centuries in the cemetery in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013.  Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 12, 2013: Hundreds of crosses and grave markers with dates spanning centuries in the cemetery in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 12, 2013. Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: A tarp is raised over a teepee holding wild elk meat during a dry meat making workshop in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 13, 2013.  The workshop was put on by the ACFN to teach residents aboriginal traditions.  Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: A tarp is raised over a teepee holding wild elk meat during a dry meat making workshop in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 13, 2013. The workshop was put on by the ACFN to teach residents aboriginal traditions. Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: Ten-month old Rayelle Marcel sleeps while his mother Raylene Gibot cuts elk meat during a dry meat making workshop in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 13, 2013.  The workshop was put on by the ACFN to teach residents aboriginal traditions.  Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: Ten-month old Rayelle Marcel sleeps while his mother Raylene Gibot cuts elk meat during a dry meat making workshop in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 13, 2013. The workshop was put on by the ACFN to teach residents aboriginal traditions. Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

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Me eating a moose burger in Fort Chipewyan.

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: A sunset aerial view of Edward's Lake and First Lake south of Fort Chipewyan in the boreal forest and muskeg or northern Alberta on September 13, 2013.   (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: A sunset aerial view of Edward’s Lake and First Lake south of Fort Chipewyan in the boreal forest and muskeg or northern Alberta on September 13, 2013. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: Northern lights fill the sky over monument hill in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 13, 2013.     Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta.  (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)  Note this picture was corrected for fisheye lens distortion to keep the horizon straight as it appeared in real life.

FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA.: SEPTEMBER, 13, 2013: Northern lights fill the sky over monument hill in Fort Chipewyan, Alta. on September 13, 2013. Established in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is the oldest settlement in Alberta. (Ryan Jackson / Edmonton Journal)

First Nations dilemma of working in the Oilsands

This was my second favorite video of the series. It will help you understand First Nations concerns about the oilsands and the battle they face between the need for employment and maintaining traditional ways of life.

First nations people in northern Alberta are torn between the loss of their traditional lifestyles and the need for employment in a region where the only remaining employment is an industry that is changing them. Video by Ryan Jackson, edmontonjournal.com

 

You can check out the whole six-week series at edmontonjournal.com/oilsands

1 Comment

Jonas
Nov 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Hello,
I found your photos amazing, describing the awful reality of the oil sands. Thanks for that
I’m Jonas, PhD student in Québec City, studying the environmental impact of Alberta oil sands exploitation. Your picture perfectly illustrate this, and I would like to incorporate one of your pictures in my thesis, would you allow me ?
Of course, I would mention your name and your website.

Thanks,
Regards,

Jonas


 

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