Business of Energy - December 2019

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Pat Ottmann & Tim Ottmann

Top Priority for New Federal Government

by Cody Battershill

2020 – Kick It Up A Notch!

by Chuck Bean

04 05 06 09 16 19

Why Alberta Needs Accurate Oil and Gas Employment Data 2019 FEBRUARY by David Yager

Cover: Getting the Message Out by Melanie Darbyshire

Grande Prairie Defying the Odds by Jamie Zachary

Profile: Caliper Inspection Celebrates 35 Years by Rennay Craats


Melanie Darbyshire


Lisa Johnston, Nikki Gouthro


Jessi Evetts




Courtney Lovgren


Nancy Bielecki

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS Melanie Darbyshire Rennay Craats David Yager Chuck Bean Jamie Zachary Cody Battershill


Evelyn Dehner Chris Miller Leslee Rycroft

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COVER 3 • Business of Energy • December 2019

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Cody Battershill | Top Priority for New Federal Government: Keep Your Promise, Build TMX




s you’re reading this, a new minority Liberal government is installed in Ottawa. And it seems likely that decision-makers there are, right now, thinking about pipelines. After all, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau endorsed the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX), campaigned in favour of it through the fall, and even arranged for taxpayers to purchase it. So, I was encouraged when the newly re-elected prime minister, shortly after election day in late October, stated he’d move quickly to build the long-delayed TMX. From the perspective of a non-partisan grassroots group that advocates for the energy and natural resources economy, I’d argue the importance of TMX is more crucial today than ever. For Canadian families, communities, indigenous and non-indigenous groups and for the country at large, it’s vital the PM keeps that commitment – and makes it the national priority moving forward. According to the International Energy Agency, oil demand worldwide is expected to increase to nearly 112 million barrels a day by 2040, driven primarily by China, India, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. But Canada’s supply is hamstrung by a lack of sufficient pipeline capacity to global markets. Because Canada ranks at the top of global energy suppliers in terms of environment, health, safety and human rights, and because pipeline, tanker and tug technologies are state of the art in Canada – as are extraction and refining – Canada is the ideal global supplier.

we need more pipeline access to tidewater. We need the completion of the TMX program expedited. Ironically, B.C. whale-watching traffic grows each summer, ferries and cruise ships ply our waters and, as the National Energy Board observed in its report on TMX, Vancouver and Victoria release “about 700 million litres of untreated and undertreated wastewater into the Salish Sea per day.” Meanwhile indigenous support for the energy sector continues to increase (48 of 51 indigenous groups on the TMX route have mutual benefit agreements in place with the company). That’s why the prime minister really must act on his TMX commitments and move the project ahead urgently. Reports placed the value of crude oil imported into Canada at nearly $20 billion last year alone. Canadians just can’t afford to export those jobs to other, less-regulated regimes. Given our technological, social and environmental leadership within the global oil and gas sector, Canada should be the last remaining global supplier in the pool. Let me break that message down to its simplest, most essential form: our country needs new pipeline capacity to move our industry to the B next level globally, and we need it now. OE

Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder/spokesperson for, a volunteer-built organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.

So, it’s time to remove the bottleneck and get our product to global markets where it can finally realize its full value. For that to happen,

4 • Business of Energy • December 2019

2020 – Kick It Up A Notch! | Chuck Bean

2020 KICK IT UP A NOTCH! by Chuck Bean


t came to me years ago that running a business is like swimming in the ocean. There are waves, tides, storms and sometimes tsunamis. You must first learn to swim a lap, before you can swim a mile and if you are good at swimming, you can stay in the water a long time. The key to being good is to stay above the waterline. Learn to stay above and you will survive the difficult swims. Business is no different. We must learn to do things well and keep our head above water. New years often mark a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. We reset our plans, hold our annual kick-offs, regroup and start anew. There’s nothing wrong with this thinking and in many cases the occurrence of a new year provides an excellent time of change for many. There is no better time to do business than now. Energy sector performance in Canada is off its mark; therefore, this is a time for long-term thinking. Now build costs will be low and attention to efficiency and detail will be at its best. What are you doing to capture opportunity? Do you have a growth strategy? Are you managing by impulse or by plan? The organization that aligns itself with values based on maximizing their significance during a regrouping of an economy will always win out. The next year or two will be an outstanding growth opportunity for corporate leaders who are serious about their visions, and a time of uncomfortable change for those who are not. A relevant but older read, the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins states “a major contributor to the success of your corporation will be its ability to determine what it is that it can be the best in its space at, and to steadily work towards that vision.” This makes perfect sense and is a common attribute of the world’s finest companies.

A solid strategic foundation for gaining positive business growth, is represented in these next points. Get the Right People - The key to success in ensuring that your organization can grow even during stormy times, is having the right people. The best organizations are aligned with people who want to be there and are A-players willing to play an A-game. They are interested in being on or leading the team, and will stick around while weathering more difficult times. Entrench a Process - Whether it’s a go-tomarket strategy or a method of shipping boxes, you must have a process that is failure proof, duplicable and can be accelerated. It must deliver better than average results before ever looking for an automated solution. Remember, if your method delivers lower than average results, speeding it up will get you to your losses faster. Understand Your Environment - Perhaps the most significant factor in Alberta’s energy success will be a strategic understanding of our business environment and how it shapes our future. Watch your competitors and steal their wind. Look for breakdowns that can be exploited. Be sure that your offering is suitable for now and future times. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can just carry forward regardless. Embrace Technology - Technology enhances. If you have the right people, process and have a grip on your business environment, introducing technology to gain success faster, is a no brainer. Alberta’s oil industry is competing on a global level like never before. Emulating the characteristics of world class companies is essential. The turn into 2020 provides an B excellent time to tackle this great opportunity. OE

5 • Business of Energy • December 2019

David Yager | Why Alberta Needs Accurate Oil and Gas Employment Data



ow many people work in Alberta’s oil and gas industry?

With the future of Alberta’s largest economic contributor under siege from climate change alarmists and indifference or hostility from too many federal and provincial politicians, you would think this would be vital information all Alberta politicians could recite in their sleep. Regrettably, the most obvious source of current, accurate and granular oilpatch employment information – the Alberta government – doesn’t know. Instead, Edmonton releases incomplete and misleading federal jobs data every month.

The root of her concerns was Kenney’s aggressive defence of the oil and gas industry after millions of voters demonstrated they were much more concerned about climate change than Alberta’s economy. Thomas continued, “We Albertans should ask ourselves how far we are prepared to let our provincial government push this polarized partisan narrative in our name.” Because, Thomas wrote, “…relatively few Albertans work directly in oil and gas (6.1 per cent in 2017).” Employment data was the foundation of her assertion that Kenney’s position was more politics than economics.

The trigger for this column was a commentary in the October 25, 2019 edition of the Globe and Mail titled, “Albertans must not let our government push a polarized partisan narrative” written by native Albertan and University of Calgary associate political science professor, Melanee Thomas.

Where would Thomas get a ridiculously low number like that? From the Alberta government! Each month the province issues a report titled Alberta Labor Force Statistics. Seventy-two years after the Leduc discovery transformed the province, the Alberta government still relies on Statistics Canada for oilpatch workforce data. And it’s wrong.

Thomas questioned Premier Jason Kenney’s tone after the re-election of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals October 21. She wrote, “…Kenney described the idea of a Liberal minority government as a ‘Frankenstein’ scenario, in which non-Conservatives pose an existential threat to Alberta.”

Alberta’s report reveals the job figures for September 2019 were 2.52 million in the labour force – 2.35 million working and 166,200 or 6.6 per cent unemployed. Unemployment in Edmonton and Calgary was at 7.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively.

6 • Business of Energy • December 2019

Why Alberta Needs Accurate Oil and Gas Employment Data | David Yager

To report how oil and gas is doing, Alberta publishes one line titled “Forestry, Fishing, Mining, Oil and Gas” – the broad bucket for all raw and unprocessed resource extraction. In September, the total was only 138,600 jobs or 5.9 per cent of working Albertans. We all understand Alberta’s commercial fishing is struggling (climate change or geography?) and forestry and mining are not large. But this means oilpatch employment is even lower. Which explains why people who don’t understand Alberta’s economy would justifiably wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, the report reveals there were the same number of people working in “Manufacturing” and nearly 100,000 more – 236,300 – working in “Construction.” Under “Services-Producing Sector” there were 333,700 reported as working in something called “Trade,” 138,100 employed in “Transportation and Warehousing,” while 187,100 had jobs in “Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.” “Accommodation and Food Services” employed 146,500 while “Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing” had 105,200 on the payroll. The biggest employer is the public sector. Total employment in education, health care, social services and public administration was 577,500, or almost 25 per cent of all those working. This was only 10,000 jobs less than the entire Goods-Producing Sector. Based upon these statistics, direct oilpatch employment – while not insignificant – is hardly cause for righteous political indignation or justification for Albertans to push for separation from the rest of Canada. This information reported this way is not only damaging but inaccurate. Repeated without research or question by the national media, it causes many to conclude most Albertans (those who voted UCP) are whining dinosaurs clinging to fond memories of past oil booms and unreasonably reluctant to make the economic adjustments the “climate crisis” demands. Wrong data like this also allows too many to opine about how easily unemployed Alberta oil workers could make a “just transition” to “cleantech” as solar panel installers, building insulators or wind turbine maintenance technicians. I have been crusading for years for better employment data as the foundation for more intelligent discussions about the significance of carbon resources for Alberta’s and Canada’s economy. It was a key purpose of my book, From Miracle to Menace – Alberta, A Carbon Story. Because Alberta without oil, gas and coal is Manitoba with mountains. Relatively few people live in this cold, remote and underpopulated region of North America. Massive deposits of fossil fuels are the primary reason as many people live in Alberta as in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana and North Dakota combined. As chairman of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) in 2009/2010, I helped create a more accurate picture of how many people the oil and gas industry employs – directly and indirectly. PSAC contracted the Canadian Energy Research Institute and we took apart the StatCan input-output model which provides granular GDP and employment data from hundreds of industrial sub-sectors. Here we learned that refining, bitumen upgrading and petrochemicals reside within manufacturing, as does building oilfield equipment for domestic and export markets.

7 • Business of Energy • December 2019

Why Alberta Needs Accurate, Oil and Gas Employment Data

StatCan places every job in the country into only two categories: Goods-Producing Sector and Services-Producing Sector.

David Yager | Why Alberta Needs Accurate Oil and Gas Employment Data

Construction to support the oilpatch is huge. This is where all the jobs in building upgraders, pipelines, natural gas liquids processing facilities and petrochemical plants reside. Construction includes those required to build and maintain the massive road network providing year-round access to hundreds of thousands of oil and gasproducing wells and field-processing facilities. Over 300,000 people work in “Trade.” Considering most of the oil, gas and petrochemical products Alberta produces are exported, a lot of these jobs are derived from fossil fuels. How many of the finance, insurance, real estate and leasing jobs wouldn’t exist without the massive oil and gas industry? The oilpatch supports tens of thousands of those working in professional, scientific and technical services. Where are pipelines? Where is trucking? By dissecting the complete oil and gas supply chain in this manner, in its second study in 2014, PSAC reported that in 2009 the oil services sector alone (which supports oil and gas development and production) employed over 680,000 people across Canada directly and indirectly. Over half of all the economic activity on a GDP basis took place in Alberta. To illustrate what Alberta would look like without oil and gas and to reinforce the number of oil jobs, I hired a bright University of Calgary economics PhD graduate to “decarbonize” Alberta’s economy using detailed StatCan data. In the book I wrote:

“Support industries (for fossil fuels) include Statistics Canada classifications such as ‘support activities for oil and gas extraction,’ ‘oil and gas engineering and construction,’ ‘petroleum and coal manufacturing,’ ‘pipeline transportation of natural gas,’ ‘crude oil and other pipeline transportation,’ ‘petroleum refining,’ ‘transportation construction engineering,’ ‘basic chemical manufacturing,’ ‘plastic product manufacturing,’ ‘machine shops, turned product,’ and ‘other chemical product manufacturing.’ In 2017 the GDP contribution of these sectors was $108 billion, 35% of the provincial total of $305 billion. Using this methodology and adjusting for the fact some of these businesses would exist in other provinces but in a much smaller form, Alberta without oil and gas would see its 2017 GDP

decline by 32% from $305 billion to $206 billion. Big numbers. Statistics Canada also includes jobs using what is called the ‘employment IO (input output) multiplier.’ Using the same categories for employment in Alberta in 2014, the result would be the loss of 355,352 jobs.” That would have been over 18 per cent of all the jobs reported in Alberta in 2014, not six per cent. And that includes none of the secondary support jobs that are larger than they would be otherwise like finance, accounting, law, accommodations, food services, office equipment or IT. Nor does it touch commercial real estate, residential housing or automotive and truck sales and service. That’s a lot of solar panel installers and windmill technicians to redeploy. Decarbonization as envisioned by some Canadian climate change alarmists would result in the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people and collapse the economy. There are other data sources. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers reports that in 2017 there were 528,000 oil and gas jobs across Canada. That’s 3.3 per cent of the entire Canadian workforce including 62 per cent of the total population that resides in Quebec and Ontario. With the exception of a tiny amount in Ontario, they produce no fossil fuels. Shutting down the oilsands would be devastating. Fort McMurray and area – 112,000 people in 2018 – would shed tens of thousands of jobs. Operating costs and sustaining capital expenditures for oilsands totalled $33.5 billion in 2018. Pull that out of the Alberta economy and be assured that far more than 6.1 per cent of the workforce would quickly be unemployed. A consistent and reasonable complaint about climate change is that it is increasingly driven by emotion, not facts. Surely the Alberta government should be the most credible source of accurate oilpatch employment data. These are numbers Canadians can and must understand. And are in no way partisan. If Alberta wants to patriate something federal to play tough with the rest of Canada, let’s start B with employment and economic data. OE

Living in Calgary, David Yager is an oil and gas writer, energy policy analyst and author of From Miracle to Menace – Alberta, A Carbon Story.

8 • Business of Energy • December 2019

Getting the Message Out | Melanie Darbyshire




by Melanie Darbyshire

n the contest to gain Canadians’ favour, Alberta’s energy industry is hardly a winner. Unlike other major Canadian industries – manufacturing, fishing and tourism, to name a few – which garner little disdain from the country’s citizens and politicians, the oil and gas industry often incites at the very least a belief that it must improve (read transform to clean energy) and at the very worst a unique, guttural abhorrence. For many, Alberta’s energy days are numbered. The reasons for this are many. A well-funded, highly-organized and strategic environmental movement singularly focused on Alberta’s oil and gas industry; the widely-held view that climate change is the issue of our time; misinformation about Alberta’s energy industry; deep-seated regionalism across Canada; and, a lack of advocacy on the part of industry.

Indeed, industry has been slow to the fight. While it was busy trying to do the business of providing energy, these various factors aligned, along with detrimental government policy at the federal and provincial levels, to pull the rug out from under it. Now in dire straights, it is finally fighting back. A number of industry initiatives – Canada Action, Modern Miracle Network (MMN), Buffalo Project, Canadians for Canada’s Future (CCF) – have been recently formed. With the purpose of advocating on behalf of Western Canada’s natural resources sector, these groups are hoping to sway reasonable Canadians to their favour. The task, to be sure, is not easy. “The industry has been so badly beaten up and our people feel so negative and under attack for numerous reasons,” says Jeff Tonken, CEO

9 • Business of Energy • December 2019

Melanie Darbyshire | Getting the Message Out

of Birchcliff Energy Ltd. Tonken and Birchcliff are founding members of CCF, which released a widely-circulated, two-and-a-half minute video in support of the industry in August. “But we are really proud of the industry. And nobody is speaking about it. Nobody is taking the time to reflect back on what energy has accomplished and created for Albertans and Canadians. So we made the video to do that.” “It has been extremely well received,” adds Mike Rose, CEO of Calgary-based Tourmaline Oil Corp, co-founders of CCF. “I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from it.” The video’s message is unapologetically clear: Canada’s regulated, environmentally-focused and strictly-monitored energy sector benefits the comfort, health, prosperity and overall quality of life of all Canadians. The world will continue to require significant amounts of oil and gas for the foreseeable future and without access to emerging markets, a streamlined regulatory system and competitive tax structure, Canada will continue to suffer a massive net loss of capital investment, jobs and economic benefits for Canadians. “It’s about getting the proper message out,” Rose explains. “Fossil fuels will continue to be used around the world and that use is growing, not shrinking. Canada produces the net cleanest hydrocarbon molecule so we should, logically, if you’re concerned about the global atmosphere, produce as much of the world’s hydrocarbons as possible. Otherwise they get developed in other jurisdictions which have weaker emissions standards.” Rather than focus only on Canada’s 1.6 per cent contribution to worldwide emissions, Rose urges, focus on the 98.4 per cent of emissions that originate outside our borders. “And we are still working on our own 1.6 per cent,” he adds. “We’re actually beating our industry targets,” Tonken says. “We were supposed to be down 30 per cent by 2030 [according to Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement], and we’ve actually beat that target.” “Over half of the money spent every year on environmental performance improvement by all industrial sectors in Canada is spent by our sector,” Rose continues. “And that doesn’t

include what is called cleantech, which is the collaboration within our industry on the technology development side for environmental performance improvement.” The oil and gas sector is the largest investor in cleantech research and development in the country, investing an annual aggregate of $1.4 billion. Industry partnerships like Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and the Natural Gas Innovation Fund (NGIF) bring all the major players together to focus on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil and gas industry. Through collaborative funding, action and innovation, numerous advancements have already been achieved, with many more in the works. “But the real target,” Tonken says, “if you really want to make a difference, are the emissions occurring elsewhere in the world. That’s why we want to build all the pipelines, create jobs here and end up with a net cleaner environment in the world.” The exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG), for example, has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions in other parts of the world. “Would it raise GHG emissions here?” Tonken asks. “Yes: Canada’s emissions will go from 1.6 per cent to 1.6 per cent, because they’ll go up by 0.00001 per cent. But guess what, we can knock out three per cent on the other side. We could knock out 34 coal-fired plants, which is 52 megatons of GHG emissions.” Clean and cheap Canadian energy has the potential to improve the standard of living for billions of people in developing countries, thereby improving their environmental performance as well. “When people have water and food and electricity they’ll also start to think and care about their own environments,” Rose says. Far from rejecting clean technology and renewables, the solution lies in developing both. “We’re not fighting renewables,” Rose says, “it’s fossil fuels and renewables.” Jobs – hundreds of thousands of them – from coast to coast and support for indigenous populations, in the form of employment and training, monetary backing, education and selfsustainability, have been and will be lost as the industry continues to suffer.

10 • Business of Energy • December 2019

“I know we both feel pretty righteous about what our industry can do,” Tonken reflects. “We have the ability to use Canadian energy to help clean up the world’s environment, create employment for citizens here and help indigenous peoples across the country. It’s our hat trick and we want to talk about it.” “I know we both feel pretty righteous about what our industry can do,” Tonken reflects. “We have the ability to use Canadian energy to help clean up the world’s environment, create employment for citizens here and help indigenous peoples across the country. It’s our hat trick and we want to talk about it.” The conversation thus far, however, has not gone in their favour. “We got outflanked,” Rose admits of the foreign-funded environmental groups. “They organized to target Canada and the oilsands. But we know they get reclaimed and that from an emissions standpoint they are no different than any other oil development, but we got outflanked and we’ve been playing catch up.” “We also did a poor job on advocacy,” Tonken adds. “We never educated Canadians properly and didn’t get into the schools. I’m talking 10, 15 years ago. Canadians have lost the connection between turning on the lights and what energy companies do. I can tell you that when I have open-heart surgery, I don’t want windmills or solar. I want natural gas to make sure the lights don’t go out.” When the attacks started to come, they say, many of the large foreign energy companies which industry looked to lead the pushback didn’t do so. “Instead they quietly sold their assets and left,” Tonken says. “They took the position that they’re not getting involved in foreign politics. Add to that we had both a provincial NDP government and federal Liberal government that did not like Canadian energy. Climate change became a very public issue and when the commodity price cycle in 2014 crashed, everybody came to their knees at once. All of a sudden we had not a little problem, but a giant one.” For Rose, the climate change factor has been enormously frustrating. “Being a scientist [he is a geologist by profession], I’ve been following since it was called global warming. The problem the planet has is we’re going from seven billion to nine billion people. We’re polluting the planet and we need to address all forms of pollution – air, land and water.” “The climate has always been changing,” Tonken continues. “Are we contributing to it? Probably, to some extent. Are we polluting the world? Absolutely. So let’s go after pollution.”

11 • Business of Energy • December 2019

Getting the Message Out

Getting the Message Out | Melanie Darbyshire

Melanie Darbyshire | Getting the Message Out

In addition to CCF’s video, advocacy efforts include ad campaigns, talks and presentations across the country. “We’ve been speaking to universities, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, business groups, on television and radio, trying to get our story out,” says Tonken, who is also chair of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), where he is joined by Rose as a member and spokesperson. Modern Miracle Network’s (MMN) purpose is to inform Canadians across the country about the multiple advances – from the combustible engine to the many medicines that have extended human life – made possible by Canadian hydrocarbons. With the election of a minority Liberal federal government in October, Rose and Tonken’s desires for industry remain unchanged, including that the Trans Mountain pipeline and other pipelines get built. “We need a federal government that supports Canadian

energy development for all the reasons we’ve discussed,” Rose urges. “Investors look at Canada as a place where you can’t get things done anymore. And when you have that perception, it doesn’t take one pipeline being built, it takes four or five to get rid of the perception. We have a long way to come back to gain confidence back into Canada.” Tonken is hopeful for better days. “My perfect world is where we can be proud Canadians and proud of our energy industry,” Tonken says. “Where we’re recognized as the lowest-cost, most-reliable clean energy that we can sell to the world and because of that, our country has enough money to finance all the social things: we take care of the elderly, educate our young, pay for medical care – a flourishing country.” For more information on CCF, go to For more information on MMN, go to B OE

12 • Business of Energy • December 2019

Defying the Odds | Grande Prairie Feature




n the darkest nights, the stars shine the brightest – an all-too-appropriate adage that only begins to illustrate Grande Prairie’s seemingly David and Goliath-like triumph over more than a decade of provincial economic uncertainty, say community leaders. Located more than four hours northwest of Edmonton amid the oil and gas-rich Montney and Duvernay plays, this “little region that could” has seemingly surmounted softness in commodity prices, and instead seen growth where others in the province have seen contraction, investments over withdraws and optimism instead of skepticism. “We have a pioneering spirit. An entrepreneurial spirit. An innovative spirit. We all have the same ethos,” says Bill Given, the third-term mayor of Grande Prairie who was born and raised in the city of more than 69,000. He notes new developments and construction in the region are currently estimated to be around $7.3 billion, highlighted by a $2-billion methanol

Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given.

13 • Business of Energy • December 2019



arry Smith was born in Southern Alberta into a hard working family in the Trucking industry and as such is no stranger to commitment and hard work. He moved to Grande Prairie in the late 1970’s and began a career in the Oil and Gas industry in the supply sector. For the past 34 years he has used his entrepreneurial spirit to raise a company. “We are far from the one room store with two employees that we started with, today.” In fact, I proudly represent the 130 families that are in the trenches daily of our now 14 branch locations across Alberta and B.C.” This is something that has been foremost in the Company culture. The people here are treated as extended family. Baron has stocked its stores with some of the industry’s most sought after specialized experience. “Our people come with an array of expertise across many different aspects of the industry.” We respect that talent and protect it as our most valued commodity.” This has made Baron an extraordinary place to work. Proof of this is in the average tenure of 10+ years amongst its workforce. Not surprising then was the 2012 Employer Of Choice award from the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce. From the beginning Smith set out to distinguish his company as an industry leader. “To successfully do this we focus not only on supplying product but by finding the right balance of empowering our people, teaching them to be proactive in offering problem solutions and always going the extra mile in providing service.”

Smith has instilled his belief that “service” comes first and foremost as the main product offering, in everyone that represents Baron Oilfield Supply. It is his belief that once you master that…. Everything else comes as a result. “We don’t under promise and over deliver” Instead, our promise is to always deliver on customer expectations, which is one of our greatest strengths.” It’s a talent born of not restricting our workforce or putting up internal barriers that sometimes tie the hands of our people.” We recognize that our business may not be one size fits all and that each of our locations face obstacles unique to their respective business area. In that regard, we listen and adjust. Baron operates in large part without Corporate Red Tape.”

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Achieving success requires determination, dedication, loyalty and insight. “There are two very distinct things that set us apart from our competitors. The first is our people, the second is our hands on style of management. Every employee at Baron is involved in daily operations regardless of position, helping to keep a finger on the ever changing pulse of the industry. “Customers don’t just buy Product”. People buy what you believe in”. At Baron, we believe in being the Best at what we do, at being proactive to industry needs, at supplying quality product at fair market value and accepting nothing less than excellence from our trading partners”. Over the past several years Baron has looked inward and focused on streamlining operations. Baron has added a distribution centre for valve product in Edmonton, a Central distribution center for flanges and fittings housed in the Grande Prairie location in support of field locations, set up Project teams in Fort St John and Grande Prairie, added a Central Quotations Centre in Calgary and is currently expanding the Grande Prairie location to include a Projects building and yard area. “We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the cost of ownership and pass this on in savings to our clientele”. Not only in the product we supply but in the manner in which we acquire and distribute.” In fact, it was Smith’s constant search to improve that led to becoming the only North American distributor for CSC Valves Canada inc(CSC). “We realized that to remain competitive in

bidding projects, we had to find a way to supply a quality valve product unique to the market.” Aligning with CSC has not only allowed us to provide a quality valve to market but also fits with our mandate of industry solutions.” CSC is one of the only valve companies able to do application engineering and build a valve to spec within acceptable customer delivery expectations”. Baron is also a proud member of a larger group, the Side Group of companies. “Coming together, banding and marketing what each company inside Side Group has to offer, will make us far more competitive and robust going into the future.” Not only is Baron prominent in the Oil and Gas industry but its sister companies hold their own industry prominence, offering everything from Industrial at Northern Metalic, Fleet Rentals from Visa Truck, Rail services from our Rail Yards, Lubricants from Metalic Lubricant division and even land and building development from Devco Development. “The Oil and Gas industry can be very volatile and while the industry in Alberta faces an unclear future, we are using this time to reposition and become the best possible version of ourselves as an industry contender”. “I’m excited for the future as we grow and mesh our offerings across a multitude of industry.” While Baron remains foremost as Smith’s responsibility, he is also looking beyond its roots with the umbrella of strength that exists through diversity among the wider group.

Phone: (780) 532-5661 | Toll free: (888) 532-5661 |

Grande Prairie Feature | Defying the Odds

facility by Nauticol Energy that will be one of the largest in the world. The facility will convert approximately 300 million cubic feet per day of natural gas into three million tonnes of methanol per year when completed in 2022. “A project that is adding value to what we’re exporting is significant,” says Christopher King, economic development manager for the County of Grande Prairie. “Aside from the tax revenue and the jobs it will create, it creates a bigger awareness globally that Alberta can value-add. And the more we can refine these products, the less reliant we are on pipelines to get those products to market.” Meanwhile, Seven Generations Energy has started construction on a new 60,000-squarefoot headquarters in Grande Prairie that’s

Christopher King, economic development manager for the County of Grande Prairie.

16 • Business of Energy • December 2019

POWERED BY PEOPLE Phoenix Energy is driven to provide impeccable work and an exceptional level of customer service on every job. We place principles over profits. People matter to us, so we strive to listen, learn and understand our clients in order meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

When clients call, we answer. When they visit our offices, we’re there to greet them. We welcome every professional challenge as an opportunity to continuously improve and produce tangible results our clients are completely satisfied with. We aim to be the propelling force

that drives our industry forward, continually raising the bar on standards for workmanship, safety, efficiency and professionalism.

Hard work is what we’re made of. Phoenix Energy was founded during one of the province’s most challenging economic times, and through flexibility, adaptation, and a deep desire to succeed, we were able to push through adversity and thrive. We know what it takes to grow a business, and we never take our clients for granted.

Our services include: Electrical • Instrumentation • Automation • Safety • Compression • Parts Supply the pressure equipment safety authority


Head Office 9602-117th Street Grande Prairie, Alberta T8W 0C7


Field Office 9418 39th Ave NW Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5T9


Field Office Suite 2115 500 4th Ave SW Calgary, Alberta T2P 2V6


Grande Prairie Feature | Defying the Odds

“We’re still a buyer’s market like the rest of the province, but we do have pockets of activity. In many cases, we still have multioffer situations happening,” says Lesley Craig.

estimated to cost $38 million. This comes just three years after Pembina Pipeline opened its new regional headquarters in the city. The ace up Grande Prairie’s sleeve, however, might just be its economic diversity. While deeply rooted in oil and gas, the region also accounts for 13.6 per cent (3.3 million hectares) of Alberta’s cropland. And Grande Prairie is ground zero for northern Alberta’s forestry sector, with four large operators (Weyerhaeuser, International Paper, Canfor and Norbord) combining as the region’s top industrial employers. “Overall, we’ve had a pretty healthy economy – even through these last two downturns,” says King. “That’s not just because of our diversity in oil and gas, but also the diversity into agriculture, forestry and services.” A recently released Vital Signs 2019 report by the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta noted the region’s total market size exceeds $4.7 billion in retail spending due to its growing trade area population of almost 290,000. This year, the city became home to both Canada’s largest Ford dealership (Windsor Ford) and a single-storey Canadian Tire location. In October, Melcor Developments acquired a 283,235-square-foot retail power centre containing 15 buildings for $54.8 million. “It’s one thing for me to be a booster of the community. These kinds of investments speak to a level of confidence in the value of making longterm investments in our community,” says Given, adding a new $730-million regional hospital and cancer centre will also open in 2020. Grande Prairie’s housing market continues to record strong gains, with year-to-date single-

Lesley Craig, president of the Grande Prairie & Area Association of Realtors.

family starts remaining flat and multi-family increasing by 460 per cent. “We’re still a buyer’s market like the rest of the province, but we do have pockets of activity. In many cases, we still have multi-offer situations happening,” says Lesley Craig, president of the Grande Prairie & Area Association of Realtors, noting the average selling price in 2019 has remained relatively consistent year over year at around $305,000. “We still see the Grande Prairie housing market staying pretty steady moving forward into 2020. And while we’ll unlikely see those big jumps in prices that we saw in 2008-09 again, it will B continue to be a safe place to invest.” OE

18 • Business of Energy • December 2019



hen Paul Frederick decided to strike out on his own in 1985, he jumped in with both feet. What he lacked in business experience he made up for in determination, technical expertise and industry knowledge. After a few years operating out of his southwest condo, his company began to grow and earn the reputation for integrity and quality work that it enjoys today. In the heart of a recession, he set out to make his mark in Calgary with Caliper Inspection, and 35 years later he has done just that. “Once we got established, things started to broaden out a bit,” says Paul Frederick, founder and president of Caliper Inspection. “Now we have about 26 administrative and technical staff, with staff inspectors as well as contract inspectors that we use on a regular basis and many others worldwide.” The company has evolved into a full-service business that provides not just welding inspection but full equipment mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, structural and industrial coating inspection for

refurbished and new equipment. Caliper prides itself on staying informed about manufacturing standards and codes to ensure compliance with regulations at all times and in all parts of the world. It is dedicated to educating not only its own staff and contractors but also its clients about important changes in the industry. This once-small local business has grown into a firm with strong ties to corporations across the globe and a scope that reaches far beyond its original welding focus. Today’s Caliper Inspection provides comprehensive expertise before, during and after fabrication, allowing technicians to reduce or eliminate rework. In addition, the Caliper team monitors manufacturing progress to ensure on-time delivery and that the equipment adheres to all standards and regulations. Caliper is a one-stop shop that can assist clients with every aspect of their projects, from weld procedures, drawings and documentation to purchasing and vendor surveys. The company also offers clients quality control assistance by auditing existing programs


Front row from left to right: Paul Frederick, Rica Hilao, Betty McLean, Samantha Werth, Kelly Bowles Back row from left to right: Donna Milman, Annelise Muller, Kelly Geer, Nick Berry, Alicia Rowley, Wayne Zadderey, Theo Muller.

and helping develop and implement quality control programs, manuals and procedures. “And if they come across quality control problems that their staff can’t resolve they can resource us to do specialized quality control services – especially when customers come to them with unique specifications or designs that require special needs for the manufacturing to take place,” says Frederick. More than three decades of experience has positioned Caliper as a leader in equipment inspections, welding consultation, codes and compliance, expediting and quality control. These services save clients time and money while increasing employee safety, and that is precisely why Caliper Inspection has become a go-to company for clients. The team has fostered strong relationships with clients, many of whom have been working with Caliper for decades. In fact, the company’s first job in 1985 was with PanCanadian, and it remains a trusted partner today in the form of Encana. Clients appreciate the quality standards, professionalism and integrity Caliper brings to every job, so when contacts move to different companies or transfer to different countries, they take Caliper with them. “We have a good rapport with clients and we end up working for them over and over again.

They keep bringing us with them wherever they end up being relocated,” he says. “They are very appreciative of the fact that we can get results.” The company is happy to accommodate its clients, offering a global network of like-minded trained and certified contractors to meet client needs while applying Caliper’s high standards. Closer to home, the organization’s main service areas are Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Grande Prairie with the head office in Calgary and a new location in Grande Prairie that opened in January 2019. This expansion was key with the Alberta economy and energy projects in the Grande Prairie area beginning to move forward. Caliper identified a growth opportunity in Grande Prairie that will continue to expand as business there grows. “We saw that there was a missing component in Grande Prairie, so having the local presence of an inspection company like ours utilizing local inspectors is becoming more important,” he says. “There are a number of people setting up manufacturing shops and working in Grande Prairie. When clients are looking for inspectors, there is a limited pool and there was nobody with an office up there to undertake what we do.” Caliper in Grande Prairie, and other locations in Alberta, is available for much more than inspection


CONGRATULATIONS CALIPER on 35 years of Industry Excellence, serving the oil & gas, petrochemical, pulp & paper, power generation, municipal and provincial government agencies. ~ From our entire Team at Select-SAI INC., The Standard of Excellence in Tubular Welding Electrodes.


Select-SAI Inc/Arcos Industries LLC. Tel: 613-361-2223 |

services. It recently obtained certification to start testing welders for the industry so it will be active in ensuring tradespeople are properly certified. This complements Caliper’s Canadian Welding Bureau certification CSA W178.1; Caliper is a rarity in that it has corporate certification along with a large number of certified CSA W178.2 welding inspectors. This allows Caliper to retain its high-quality standards while better serving the diverse needs of its clients. Over the years, Caliper’s projects have been diverse as well. It has been involved with enormous jobs like the Husky Bi-Provincial Upgrader that employed a large number of inspectors in various locations as well as the Encana straddle plant in Empress that saw equipment and materials needing inspection out of Germany, England, Scotland, Japan and South Korea. Caliper has also completed numerous jobs for companies across the province, including many working around Grande Prairie including PETRONAS, Seven Generations Energy, Encana, SemCAMS and Murphy Oil. Whether it’s a job on upstream well-site equipment, a midstream project, bridge or structural steel work, or handling logistics and shipping preparations, Caliper delivers great results to companies in any business requiring manufactured metals. Outside of oil and gas, Caliper is involved with various infrastructure projects that range from the Stoney Trail ring road to sewage treatment work for the City of Calgary, and through its sister company, Peregrine Integrity Management, it can perform in-service inspections on pressure equipment for such industries as oil and gas, refrigeration and food processing across the province.

It’s clear that Caliper has evolved far beyond merely sending inspectors out to look at welds. Being project based, the company addresses the whole assembly, employing specially-trained professionals with a breadth of knowledge second to none in the industry. The company is the first choice of clients with complicated packages that require specialized expertise and execution. Caliper’s knowledge and execution is what makes them different. “When we send an inspector out for a complex piece of equipment like a compressor package, we’re not just looking at the welding. We’re looking at the instrumentation, industrial coatings, the way in which things are being fabricated and installed to make sure proper alignment has been done, and doing the expediting to ensure all the pieces for that package will arrive in time to meet the schedule,” says Kelly Bowles, sales and marketing manager for Caliper. Given its expertise in a wide range of areas and its dedication to exceeding customers’ expectations, Caliper Inspection has become a benchmark for clients locally and around the world. In the end, its services have a negative cost impact; in many cases Caliper saves clients more money than it costs to hire them. And after 35 years, Caliper Inspection is proud to still be saving clients money as it serves the industry. “We’ve been around a long time and it speaks volumes that we have maintained many of our client relationships over decades,” says Paul Frederick. And with a planned expansion to the United States east coast and its new branch in Grande Prairie, Caliper Inspection is set to be around for a long time to come.

Calgary: 406 - 11979 40 St SE, Calgary, AB Grande Prairie: 202B – 8502 112 Street, Grande Prairie, AB 403-543-3232 | Toll Free 833-205-6947 CALIPERINSPECTION.COM CALIPER INSPECTIONS | 35 YEARS | PAGE 4

Syncrude is proud to be a leader in the advancement of reclamation science, technologies and innovation.

3 Billion Reasons to Celebrate Returning Our Mines to Nature In October, Syncrude proudly marked a historic milestone— three billion barrels. We’re especially proud to have reached this achievement as a responsible developer, having reclaimed 3,900 hectares of former mine land and planted more than 10 million trees—and counting. All while generating over $21 billion in royalties and taxes to help fund everything from classrooms to emergency rooms, highways to higher education. None of which would have been possible without the hands and minds behind the barrels—more than 200,000 Syncrude employees and contractors, past and present. Here’s to you and the next three billion barrels. Celebrate with us at

The Syncrude Project is a joint venture undertaking among Imperial Oil Resources Limited; CNOOC Oil Sands Canada; Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership; and Suncor Energy Inc. (with the Suncor interest held by Canadian Oil Sands Partnership #1 and Suncor Energy Ventures Partnership, both wholly owned affiliates of Suncor Energy Inc.).

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