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The oil producer is spending millions on a modernization project intended to safely land the workers who will build and operate decades worth of new oil sands projects, wresting hundreds of millions of barrels of crude from the earth.

Staff from Devon load a North Cariboo Aircraft at the new Devon airport near Conklin, Alta., October 28, 2011.

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A North Cariboo plane flies over the Devon oil sands plant near Conklin, Alta., October 28, 2011.

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Employees work at the new Devon airport near Conklin, Alta., October 28, 2011.

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Electrician Johnny Moloney works on the wires for the landing lights at the new Devon airport near Conklin, Alta., October 28, 2011.

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Electrician Vincent Calkins works on the wires for the landing lights at the new Devon airport near Conklin, Alta., October 28, 2011.

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Electricians Vincent Calkins (left) and Johnny Moloney work on the wires for the landing lights at the new Devon airport near Conklin, Alta., October 28, 2011.

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