The economy of Fort MacMurray depends on several things, and one of the biggest economic sectors in the region is oil production and refining because of the Athabasca oil sands close by. There are a number of oil and energy companies with plants and offices in this area. These companies include Nexen, Syncrude, Shell, CNRL, and Suncor Energy. Natural gas exploration, development, and recovery plays some part in the economy, and so does the necessary pipelines for oil and gas that must be installed. Forestry is also an economic player in Fort MacMurray because of the abundance of forest land and the remote location of the city. One factor of the local economy is tourism, which may seem surprising because of all the oil production, but visitors who have been in the region can quickly understand how tourism can offer economic support because of all the natural beauty.
The housing market in Fort MacMurray is somewhat expensive, especially when the remoteness of the city is considered. The demand for housing has skyrocketed in recent years, and some of the oil companies have had difficulty attracting qualified workers because of the higher than average home and cost of living expenses. Food costs are also a little higher than other remote areas, in part because of the extra transport costs and the other additional expenses involved. The robust economy in Fort MacMurray is going strong, and few economists predict that this will change any time in the near future because of the oil sands and the petroleum industry.