Canadian Natural believes that business development within the areas where we operate will lead to sustainable community development. We promote local and regional business opportunities through the procurement of goods and services. We actively engage with community and business leaders to facilitate and identify local and regional economic opportunities. In doing so, we support communities to build their capacity to participate in our operations through new and existing businesses.
Aboriginal businesses, (including community owned, individually owned, and joint venture owned) were awarded more than $280 million in contracts in 2013, an increase of 12 per cent of $33 million from 2012. Specifically, over $95 million in business development opportunities were created with First Nation communities around the Cold Lake region.
In 2013, we also developed a plan with Fishing Lake Métis Settlement that matches our upcoming drilling program with their capacity for business development. This will allow service providers to recruit and train community members to meet future demand for positions. Business and employment opportunities include; fresh water hauling, drilling waste management, cement hauling/busting, temporary cement pit construction and removal.
We continue to work effectively with local contractors and vendors in an effort to prequalify them for upcoming project work and ensure they meet our requirements. With the goal of increasing eligibility of Aboriginal people and businesses in contracted supplies and services, we register contractors on our ComplyWorks database.
Through these efforts, Canadian Natural is creating shared value by supporting the development of successful businesses in the community while enhancing our supply chain.