Northern British Columbia and Alberta's Oil and Gas Industry Vol. 3 Issue 4 • dist: 18,000
APRIL/May • 2013
h t r No
in this issue:
• RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN ENERGY AWARDS • MANUFACTURING MENTALITY - INNOVATION ON DISPLAY AT GROUNDBIRCH • WILD SPACE INVADERS - FIGHTING NOXIOUS WEEDS IN NORTHEAST B.C. R001424250
THIS PICTURESQUE SCENE IS JUST A SMALL PART OF A DAVID THOMPSON CORRIDOR AT THE HEART OF A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN SUNCOR AND ALBERTA PARKS - ALBERTA PARKS PHOTO
• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION - HAPPENINGS
APRIL 19, 2013
industry news MAKING CHANGE Road regulations get a makeover james waterman Pipeline News North
A new Oil and Gas Road Regulation (OGRR) will take effect in British Columbia as of June 3, 2013. The BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) announced the change that will see all roads built, modified and used for activities related to the oil and gas industry fall under a single regulatory framework on March 22. “Even before OGAA (Oil and Gas Activities Act) came into force, there were multiple ways that roads could be authorized in the oil and gas sector,” explained Trevor Swan, general counsel with the OGC, noting that that remained the case after OGAA was enacted. Industry roads have been approved through various pieces of legislation, including the Petroleum Development Road Regulation, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act and the Land Act. “The regulatory framework for each of them is slightly different,” said Swan. “They tend to be harmonized a bit through conditions that are put into permits, but they ultimately hang off of different authorization mechanisms. So, the idea here is to bring them all under one roof, under the Oil and Gas Road Regulation, so that the construction, maintenance, deactivation standards are all the same [and] the road use rules are all the same.” The responsibilities of the producer companies and the OGC aren’t expected to change significantly with the new regulation. “It still hasn’t changed in the sense that the OGC is authorizing the roads and the industry is responsible for everything associated with those roads. That basic concept hasn’t changed,” said Swan. “However,” he continued, “the
mechanism by which it’s done has changed, which improves the level of certainty for both parties. The OGC will still issue the permits to authorize the construction. Once the person’s authorized, then the construction standards are set out in the regulation. They’ll be more in the regulation than in the permit. The regulation itself requires the maintenance and sets out the maintenance standards. So, again, there’ll be less in the permit. And then at the end of the life, the person’s required to deactivate the road unless they’re relieved of that obligation.” The regulation does have a new, stronger emphasis on environmental and road safety considerations. “We do have a better set of tools now for ensuring that the roads are in fact necessary for the development,” added Swan. “It’s not a land use planning tool, but it is something that we can see where the other road networks are, and that will improve the utility of the choice of roads and therefore lessen the footprint.” Reducing the road footprint was a priority indicated by the provincial government when the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations (NRO), which is now part of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), was first created in 2010. One goal was limiting the number of roads built by encouraging companies within the same resource industry and across the resource industries to collaborate when building roads so as to eliminate infrastructure that could potentially be unnecessary, redundant or environmentally harmful. “It is not a replacement for that process,” Swan said of the OGRR. “There is still is an initiative of government to develop a Natural
Resource Road Act (NRRA),” he continued. “And that act, since it’s cross-government, has the ability to harmonize the road developments associated with multiple industries. That is still the key tool that will be used by government to promote that cross-industry effective use of the land, to harmonize the standards by which all of those roads are constructed, maintained, deactivated.” The OGRR is an interim step toward that ultimate goal. “Because there is some uncertainty as to when the Natural Resource Road Act will take effect,” said Swan. The OGC has primarily been using the Land Act to authorize roads while the NRRA is still in the works. “Not the best tool for ensuring consistent standards of construction, maintenance, deactivation, nor is it the best for ensuring road use rules on those roads, nor is it the best for ensuring the public consultation,” Swan said of the Land Act. “Bringing those all under the Oil and Gas Road Regulation, we get a much better set of technical standards for construction, maintenance, deactivation.” Elements of the act also ensure that the public has better access to information about those roads through notification and consultation protocols. Enhanced environmental protection is another feature. OGC has been working with the oil and gas industry players in B.C. to ensure they are aware of the new legislation and understand the changes. “We’re also in contact with them to ensure that there’s a smooth transition for moving from the current framework into what will happen under the new regulation on June 3.”
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
special feature 11 Responsible Canadian Energy Awards 24 The tricky business of transportation
industry news 4 Energy East - TransCanada 5
begins open season on oil pipeline project Super-producing it - Canada has energy to spare
profiles 8 Manufacturing mentality - innovation on display at Shell’s Groundbirch
environment 6 Wild space invaders - the fight against noxious weeds in the patch
careers & training 9 10
Enform and Petroleum HR Council unite Passing the test - how to earn social license
• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
industry news energy east TransCanada starts open season on oil pipeline james waterman Pipeline News North
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The idea of moving Alberta oil sands bitumen via pipeline to eastern Canada took a big step toward becoming a reality in April with an announcement by TransCanada that the company would be conducting an open season on their proposed Energy East project starting in the middle of the month. The Energy East plan involves converting approximately 3,000 kilometres worth of existing pipeline, which is currently part of TransCanada’s Mainline system that ships natural gas from western Canada to eastern Canada, to carry crude oil from Alberta to eastern destinations. New pipeline would also be constructed to extend that route to oil refineries in Montreal, Quebec City and possibly St. John, New Brunswick. “That’s going to run from April 15 to June 17,” TransCanada spokesperson Grady Semmens said of the open season. The process allows the pipeline outfit to secure long-term commitments from those wanting to ship product through that infrastructure. “To essentially allow us to move forward with developing a project based on what their needs are and what they’re committing to use,” said Semmens. “We obviously don’t build large, multi-million dollar pipelines and then hope to fill them with oil or gas,” he continued. “We need that commitment upfront. And it really helps drive our decisions and planning in terms of what the scope of the project will be.” It isn’t just the fate of the project that possibly hangs in the balance, but also smaller details such as the endpoint and capacity of the pipeline. The potential capacity ranges from 500,000 barrels to 850,000 barrels of oil per day depending on the results of the open season. That would also determine items such as the number of pump stations along the route. “We’ve asked for bids on essentially moving oil from Alberta out to delivery points in Montreal, Quebec City and St. John,” said Semmens. “That will be underway to really lock down what the interest and demand is. And then we can move forward from there with the necessary regulatory applications – looking to file an application with the National Energy Board (NEB) by the end of this year, and then, hopefully, start moving forward from there with a potential in-service date of late 2017.” Semmens doesn’t seem to think that the uncertainty around other oil pipelines that are currently under consideration – including Enbridge’s
Northern Gateway plan to ship oil to the British Columbia coast for export or TransCanada’s own Keystone XL project to move crude to Texas refineries – will complicate matters for TransCanada as they undergo the open season process. That is partly because TransCanada is confident of the feasibility of the plan. “We spent the last year really doing a lot of the background work on this project to determine if it’s technically and economically feasible,” said Semmens. “We know it’s technically feasible because we’ve actually done it before in terms of converting one of the lines in the Mainline to oil service for our existing Keystone pipeline,” he continued. “Economically feasible – we definitely determined that we can do this pipeline at a competitive price compared to some of the other alternatives that are out there, including our own Keystone XL and Northern Gateway.” Semmens suggested that the open season itself is proof that there is commercial interest in Energy East. “Our initial discussions with potential shippers have been very positive,” he said. “So, we’re very confident that we will get enough commitments that will allow us to proceed with the project in some form. “We definitely see this as a project that has a lot of potential demand in the market and is really complementary to the other projects.” Demand for all oil pipeline projects presently in the works is expected to grow. “If you look at the long-term projected growth in oil production in North America and western Canada,” said Semmens, “all of those projects should be required just to meet the growth in production over the coming 20 years.” Until the emergence of the Energy East plan over the past year, the emphasis as far as oil transport in Canada has been moving oil sands bitumen either south in the United States or west to the Pacific Coast. Semmens explained that the eastern option offers unique benefits. “The refineries in Quebec and the Maritimes,” he began, “they don’t have access to the oil that’s being produced in western Canada.” Actually, approximately 80 per cent of the feedstock for those facilities comes from foreign sources such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela. “It’s higher-priced oil,” said Semmens. “Being able to have access to domestic crude oil that is a lower-priced crude oil could potentially benefit them in terms of their margins, as well as, obviously, support our own domestic energy industry, instead of having to import that much oil,” he
added, noting that domestically produced oil moving to eastern Canadian refineries could replace over 600,000 barrels of imported oil per day. “We see that as a big benefit for the industry overall and for the Canadian economy,” said Semmens. Lack of market access for Canadian resources has caused a differential between the Western Canadian Select (WSC) price of Alberta oil at the low end and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent Crude price at the high end. The higher-priced oils have access to world markets via ocean ports. “We haven’t been able to get our oil to places where it can compete on the world market,” said Semmens. “Getting it to an east coast where the refineries themselves are buying oil on the world market will ensure that we get a better price for the oil being produced here, as well as potentially exporting it overseas.” Interestingly, that oil transport capacity exists because natural gas from the U.S. has already eliminated the market for western Canadian gas in eastern Canada for the most part. “The Mainline has seen its volumes drop quite substantially over the last number of years due to the rise of other large gas supplies elsewhere in the continent,” said Semmens. “Particularly out in the east with the Marcellus shale,” he added. “There is underutilized capacity on the Mainline. And this is about trying to reuse some existing assets that are already in the ground, where we already have right-of-way essentially across most of the country, and reuse it for a higher purpose and a more profitable purpose.” TransCanada is encouraged by comments from federal and provincial governments. “We’ve certainly been very pleased with the broad political support that’s been expressed for this idea,” said Semmens. “When we first began discussing it publicly about a year ago, it received very positive support across the political spectrum,” he continued. Alberta Premier Alison Redford and New Brunswick Premier David Alward have talked seriously about the notion as a good economic development for both provinces. “They’re certainly discussing the potential benefits and challenges in Quebec,” said Semmens, adding that TransCanada will be increasing their presence in that province in the near future. “Discussing what the benefits are,” he continued. “The potential for supporting their own refineries and creating more jobs and value for them.”
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
SUPER-PRODUCING IT Fraser Institute report shows Canada has energy to spare james waterman Pipeline News North
Canada in terms of millions of tonnes of oil equivalent Canada ranks very high on the list of energy producing nations. “If you look at it on a per capita basis,” he added, “we rank even higher. We rank ahead of Russia, China and the United States on a per capita basis.” Canada’s ranking on a per capita basis alludes to some of the interesting aspects of energy production in Canada. “It shows that our production is more intensive than the United States, Russia and China, because they have huge populations,” explained Angevine. “We’re a northern country,” he continued. “So, we need more energy per capita just to keep us warm than some countries. But we’re so far near the top. And that demonstrates that we do have a huge potential to export. And we’re pretty much self-sufficient in energy now.” That means that a large amount of Canadian energy production can be for
the export market. “Most the uranium [is for export],” said Angevine. Initially, a good portion of the electricity from new hydroelectric operations will also be exported, according to Angevine. “And most of the gas and oil that’s going to be developed will go to foreign markets,” he added, noting that the associated economic boost will come with a few challenges as well. “One of the things that we wanted to point out in the study is that the policymakers need to be aware that there are potential downsides,” said Angevine. The most serious of those possible side effects is the infamous Dutch Disease. “The success of the energy sector results in higher wages and materials costs that spill over into other sectors,” said Angevine, explaining the phenomenon. continued pg 24
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It may have only been hyperbole. After Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government began using the phrase “energy superpower” to describe Canada’s potential in that arena in 2006, Gerry Angevine and his colleagues at the Fraser Institute began studying the meaning of the term and determining if Canada actually falls into that category. “The term energy superpower, as I understand it, refers to a country that is both able to leverage prices on export commodities and willing to do so for political and economic advantage,” said Angevine, co-author of a report titled Canada as an emerging energy superproducer that was released by the Fraser Institute this March. Angevine cites Russia as a perfect example of an energy superpower because of the manner in which they are trying to market their natural gas and secure contracts for that fuel in Eastern Europe. It is using an abundant commodity to accomplish a political goal. Russia uses their oil and natural gas resources to stay politically relevant – even powerful – in the Soviet Union’s former sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, but Canada doesn’t have a similar history or relationship with their primary oil and gas customer – the United States. “Canada doesn’t have [that] market power,” said Angevine “[Canada] doesn’t have the ability to leverage the price of oil, the price of natural gas or the price of electricity in the markets in the United States, which is our only export market at present for those products,” he continued. “We do export quite a bit of uranium to various countries, but we don’t have the ability to leverage the price in the world uranium market because there are other producers that are eager for contracts. And it is competitive. And if we try to jack up the price, we could well lose long term contractual relationships that we have and are trying to build.” According to Angevine, the Canadian government has neither the desire nor the mandate to follow that path. “So, we’re not an energy superpower,” he said. “We’re not going to be an energy superpower. But if we look at our production, we really do have a strong situation worldwide.” Angevine isn’t certain as to why Harper and his government would describe Canada as an energy superpower, but he admits that there is good reason to think of Canada as a global force when it comes to energy production. “Maybe they didn’t give too much thought to it,” Angevine said of the government’s choice of terminology, adding that superpower can easily hold different meanings for different people. Angevine also noted that Harper’s
rhetoric changed significantly during a recent visit to India when he referred to Canada as a “natural resources powerhouse” in a speech. “That’s a little different than energy superpower,” said Angevine. “I think what they … really mean is we’ve got the ability to grow our production because of two reasons: the extent of our resource of oil, natural gas, uranium and hydro power potential; and then the opportunity to grow exports with all of those commodities,” he continued. Although Canada might not be an energy superpower according to the commonly accepted definitions of that phrase, the nation does have the opportunity to play a considerable role in the global energy market. “We’re well set to grow production because of our resources and market opportunities,” said Angevine. “We already rank pretty high in production compared with other countries,” he continued. “And we are, in a sense, already a superproducer of uranium. We’re the second largest producer worldwide. And one of the largest producers of hydro.” Thanks in large part to the Alberta oil sands, Canada ranks third in proved oil reserves with 173.6 billion barrels of crude. Only Saudia Arabia and Venezuela have larger proved supplies of that resource. Angevine said Canada ranked sixth in terms of oil production in 2011. As for natural gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has Canada sitting in twentieth place in terms of proved reserves, but that only includes conventional natural gas, not unconventional natural gas produced from coalbed methane or extracted from shale reservoirs via horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Actually, shale gas has played a significant role in making Canada the fourth largest producer of natural gas. It should be noted that the U.S. and Russia presently produce over four times as much natural gas as Canada, but the emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) business in British Columbia could help Canada improve its natural gas production numbers considerably. “We’re going to move up the ladder in terms of … production of oil and possibly natural gas, given the outlook for British Columbia as we increase production to supply the LNG plants,” said Angevine. “Uranium production’s going to grow with the opening of the Cigar Lake mine this year,” he added, referring to the Cameco project in Saskatchewan. “If we’re not an energy superproducer now, we are about to be.” Oddly, Angevine isn’t certain that a definition of superproducer actually exists. “But I think what we mean is: highly ranked worldwide in terms of our production of energy commodities,” he said. Angevine explained that by expressing the volume of all energy produced in
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• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
WILD SPACE INVADERS
Industry shown the way to fight noxious weeds james waterman Pipeline News North Scentless chamomile, orange and yellow hawkweed, Dalmatian and yellow toadflax, Canada thistle, oxeye daisy, common tansy: they may have catchy names and pretty flowers, but they are part of a growing problem – literally – affecting northeast British Columbia. That problem is the scourge of invasive plants. It isn’t only a concern for wildlife and the agricultural community, but also for the oil and gas industry, simply because activities ranging from site reclamation to building leases and pipelines – even just traveling from one community to another – can play a significant role in the spread of these weeds. Luckily, the sector now has a new tool to fight the problem. “It’s a best practices guidebook,” said Elaine Armagost, manager of invasive plants with the Peace River Regional District (PRRD). That guidebook is the new Best Practices for Managing Invasive Plants for Oil and Gas Operations that was developed collaboratively by the PRRD, the Fort Nelson
Invasive Plant Management Area Steering Committee, the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) and a pair of oil and gas companies with large operations in the region, Encana and Shell Canada. That group also partnered with the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (ISCBC) to produce the document that was released this April, a pocket book similar to the one ISCBC had created for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for managing invasive plants along roadways throughout the province. “It’s got cost-neutral practices that can be employed in the oil and gas industry,” added Armagost. The key ingredient is awareness. Armagost has been writing letters to producers operating in the region to let them know that the guidebook is available, as well as free training sessions that begin with a class in Fort Nelson on May 3. Fort Nelson is the area of interest for Sonja Leverkus, a landscape ecologist with Keefer Ecological Services in that community, manager of the Fort Nelson Invasive Plant Management Area Steering Committee and a driving force behind the project since it was just an idea
about six years ago. “The Fort Nelson area, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, the Fort Nelson Forest District – we have the fewest invasive plant infestations in the province of British Columbia,” said Leverkus. “It is really important for us to keep it that way and we have a really good potential to do that if we all work together,” she added. Leverkus explained that occurrences of invasive plants being introduced into the Fort Nelson area are often the result of oil and gas industry activities. “They’re introduced along the petroleum development roads and around lease sites,” she said, noting that the culprit is usually contaminated seed mixes used for reclamation. “As well as dirty equipment,” she continued. That includes all manner of trucks and other items such as rig matting coming from other areas of the province. Armagost said that weed seeds and plant parts that can grow are often spread through the movement of soil. Soil movement is very common in an industry that routinely features construction of well pads and pipelines. “This not intentional spreading,” she added. “It
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APRIL 19, 2013
just is. It happens. Because we’re not aware of it.” One problem that had been facing Leverkus and her colleagues over the last six years was the long and arduous process of trying to discuss the weed situation with oil and gas companies, particularly when that could mean talking to Calgary executives, vegetation management specialists and contractors and subcontractors on the ground in the natural gas plays of the province. “In each company, there are so many people that need to know about invasive plant management and prevention,” said Leverkus. It was determined that a guidebook was the best method of sharing best practices information with those companies, partly because it also allows those companies to so easily share that information internally. “We’ve tried to prepare this guidebook so that it’s easy to use,” said Leverkus. For example, it is the perfect size and shape to fit in a pocket. “And then there’s the training that’s associated with it,” she continued. “We’ve really tried to develop a product that we know and we feel that the oil and gas industry will be able to use. It’s got provincial and national support behind it. It’s in line with all the regulations and the legislation. “For us up here in Fort Nelson, we really are relying on it as a tool to prevent introducing any other invasive plants, as well as potentially eradicating those that are here.” Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) is concerned about how invasive plant infestations might adversely affect their traditions. “Invasive plants – they wreak havoc on berry-picking sites,” said Katherine Wolfenden, an environmental technician with the FNFN Lands Department and a member of the Fort Nelson Invasive Plant Management Area Steering Committee. “Lots of the culturally important sites,” she continued. “So, it’s really good that now industry is going to be able to be more aware of the problems that certain invasive plants can bring
and how to treat them. “It’s just a good tool that’s going to help protect the land and make sure that, when First Nations go out there, an invasive plant isn’t overtaking an area that’s important to them.” The concerns are similar in the agricultural community. Armagost explained that the PRRD comprises just 12 per cent of the land base in the province, contains just one per cent of the provincial population, but also features 25 per cent of the agricultural land reserve and produces over 50 per cent of the agricultural products. “That’s an economic value that we want to protect,” she said, adding that the social and environmental value of parks, protected areas and culturally significant places for First Nations are also well worth protecting from invasive plants. “Invasive plants can easily take over,” said Armagost. “Because they’re so smart, they have such amazing adaptations, and they easily out-compete our native and … agronomic species.” Agronomic species include cereal crops and canola. One way of protecting the health of native plant populations is using native plants in restoration and reclamation, a practice that is gradually becoming common across the natural resource sector, including the oil and gas industry. “I firmly believe in using ecologically and culturally appropriate methods in restoration activities,” said Leverkus. “I really believe that there are positive things that we can do on the land ecologically and culturally after industrial development happens.” Using native seeds and native plants also has an economic value. “To accidentally use seed that’s contaminated with invasive plants, that’s going to have an ecological cost, a cultural cost, but it’s going to have an economic cost, because they’re going to have to come back in and continually treat those invasive plants,” said Leverkus. “But if we’re using local materials, and we’re doing it in a good way, with science behind us, than that can prevent that long-term economic cost to a company.”
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
Common tansy is one invasive weed that can be spread by vehicles that have been in areas infested with the plant. It can be toxic to livestock if animals eat large quantities.
ELAINE ARMAGOST PHOTO
Residents of the region frequently see many of the invasive plants of concern in northeast B.C. “The wild caraway and the hawkweeds,” said Wolfenden. “The hawkweeds are the main issue. We really want to make sure that we don’t get them here just because they’ll overtake a right-of-way very quickly. I come from Hazelton. And I grew up thinking they were a native species. “Growing up, I’ve seen how easily they’ve overtaken people’s fields, their pastures, even around the houses. “We’re definitely on the lookout.” Armagost echoed those concerns about orange and yellow hawkweed. “We’ve been on the case of hawkweed since 1994,” she said. “And that’s why we’ve been successful to date in keeping it out of our fine seed industry and off our agricultural lands, whereas other parts of the province have already thrown their hands up and walked away from it. And they’re now infested with it.
So, our job is even harder. “The biggest thing that we’re doing here in the Peace River Regional District and in the [Northern Rockies Regional Municipality] is prevention. Because we are still relatively free of invasive plants.” “Throughout the Peace, I would say that toadflax is one that we share commonly between the Peace and the Fort Nelson area,” said Leverkus, listing a few of the worst offenders among the invasive plants in northeast B.C. “And scentless chamomile. Here in Fort Nelson, we are also very concerned about wild caraway, sow thistle and Canada thistle.” If there are any doubts about the oil and gas industry contributing to the spread of such plants in the region, they could quickly be erased by a science fair project recently presented by a Grade 7 student from Fort St. John by the name of Victoria Platzer. continued pg 26
LEFT: Orange and yellow hawkweeds have become so common in some parts of British Columbia that local residents might not even realize that they are invasive weeds. RIGHT: Sow thistle, long a problem on agricultural land, can also wreak havoc on riparian areas. Decomposing sow thistle can also discourage the germination of native species because of chemicals that are released from the plant during that stage.
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APRIL 19, 2013
profiles MANUFACTURING MENTALITY
Shell innovating their way to sustainability at Groundbirch
Drilling a Groundbirch gas well on March 20.
james waterman Pipeline News North “Manufacturing.” Rej Tetrault admits it might seem an odd word to apply to the process of extracting natural gas from deep below the ground of northeast British Columbia, but he also insists it is an apt one considering the manner in which his team – a small part of Shell Canada with its home base in Fort St. John – goes about their business in the Montney tight gas play of the region every day. “It’s a manufacturing mentality,” said the operations manager of the project simply known as Groundbirch. “We’re using techniques that are employed in manufacturing,” he added. It is about being creative and innovative in order to develop the resource as responsibly and sustainably as possible. “You’re not thinking short-term; you’re thinking long-term,” said Tetrault. “You’re looking at a product and trying to be as efficient as you can to manufacture that product.”
JAMES WATERMAN PHOTO
Tetrault finds inspiration in companies such as automotive giant Toyota that employ production methods commonly known as lean manufacturing, which is basically the mantra that it is wasteful to use resources during the manufacturing process for any purpose but creating value for the customer. “Toyota [is] one of the best,” said Tetrault, who recently did a tour of one of their automotive plants to see their manufacturing principles at work. “Whether you call it lean or you call it a culture of continuous improvement, I think we need to take a page from those companies,” he continued. It is a page that Toyota began writing as long ago as 1930, but is just now starting to creep its way into the oil and gas industry through companies like Shell. “We also can’t do any of our activities without existing support groups like pipeline companies [and] service companies,” said Tetrault. “It’s also working with them to figure out how we can help them become lean. And maybe there’s things we can do to simplify their work processes.”
One example of that relationship with the service sector is the recent story of D&D Insulators in Fort St. John and their offshoot company, D&D Soft Covers. D&D is a supplier of insulating blankets that Shell and other natural gas producers in the Peace Region use to wrap their aboveground pipelines during the cold winter months. “Because the gas has a bit of water in it,” explained Tetrault. “The water will potentially freeze,” he added. “If the water freezes, my gas doesn’t flow.” The trouble was that D&D was ordering those blankets from another supplier not located in the Fort St. John area. “Which everybody in the Peace Region does,” said Darren Peebles, owner of both D&D Insulators and D&D Soft Covers. It was taking D&D as long as six weeks from the moment the blanket was ordered to the moment it was ready for use in the field at the time when Shell really arrived in the Peace Region. “And they weren’t happy with that,” said Peebles. “But that’s the norm. That’s the standard around here. So, they really didn’t have a choice.” That didn’t stop one of the supervisors at Shell from asking Peebles if he could cut that turnaround time down to a week, simply because the six week turnaround wasn’t allowing the company to meet their demand for insulating blankets. The request gave D&D a push in a new direction. “I’ve always wanted to start my own blanket company just for the fact that we use so many of them,” said Peebles. Peebles had always had concerns about moving that direction, too. “You’ve got to know what you’re doing in order to be successful at it,” he said, adding that he had also built a strong friendship with his blanket supplier. Shell provided a sense of urgency that forced Peebles to make a decision. “It’s got to be more of a turnover within days, not a month,” Peebles said of his conversations with the oil and gas company. “That’s what forced me to do this blanket venture,” he added. Peebles decided to involve his supplier. “That way he could train us, he could get us on the right track, and then we could take it from there,” he said. Ultimately, the supplier didn’t really lose business, but actually gained a share of D&D Soft Covers. “Realistically, we couldn’t have done it without him and been so successful.” Peebles purchased a machine that cuts a full table of blankets in about thirty seconds and subsequently hired an AutoCAD expert to transform the blanket patterns into a format that the computer can understand. After the computer work and cutting is complete, the blankets are sewn together and stuffed with insulation onsite. “I would say it takes five days,” Peebles
said of the whole process. “It’s been great for us,” he continued, discussing the relationship with Shell that gave his company the push in this new direction. “It’s helped us in every part of business. How to run our business. How to get more people. How to get qualified people. And Shell – they’re so sticky on their safety. It’s just how to adapt to their safety and move to the next level with them. And that’s what we did. “They never pushed us to get bigger.” Shell just gave D&D an indication of the business that was available in the future and what that could mean for the company. “It was up to us to either meet that [demand] or they’d have to start … looking for secondary suppliers, which they never had to [do] because we answered the bell,” said Peebles. “That machine actually allowed him to increase his capacity,” said Tetrault. “He’s actually selling more product now because he chose to innovate.” The change also achieves what Tetrault encourages with his suppliers and services providers as far as simplifying their operations. Shell has tried hard to simplify their Groundbirch operations by locating every well pad and pipeline in the most logical spot possible, which isn’t easy considering the ongoing work of learning about the reservoir even as they develop the resource. “We’re trying to balance appraisal – which is learning – and development,” explained Tetrault. “There’s still some locations in Groundbirch where we’re drilling appraisal wells to see what the reservoir tells us,” he continued. “And the locations where we’re developing is where we’re really trying to bring a lot of these manufacturing concepts.” Those concepts are evident in the new approach to multi-well pads. “We’re trying to challenge ourselves to take only what we need,” said Tetrault. “Where we used to only drill six wells on a multi-well pad, we can now drill thirty with the same sized pad. And part of that’s innovation – working with our vendors to think about different equipment spacing so we can fit equipment in different locations. “Ultimately, what you do is you work together with your service providers to build a manufacturing process for the wells, whether it’s groups of six or thirteen or more.” Tetrault describes the completions process – which includes the practice known as hydraulic fracturing – as an orchestra where the onsite representative of the fracturing company is the conductor. It is a particularly complex orchestra at Groundbirch because of the way Shell sources the water so necessary to the fracturing operation. “We manage water first and foremost by recycling,” said Tetrault. “We’ve got a dedicated water system that allows us to capture all of the water from all continued pg 28
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A LOGICAL CONCLUSION Safety training meets job market analysis as Enform and Petroleum Human Resources Council unite james waterman Pipeline News North
The Canadian oil and gas industry took a logical step toward saving an important member of its community with the merger of the Petroleum Human Resources Council and Enform on April 1. That appears to be the consensus opinion throughout the sector, as well as a point of view expressed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), as well as that of Cameron McGillivray, the president and chief executive officer of Enform, who has been at the helm of the safety association for the Canadian upstream oil and gas industry for just less than a year. “It will be year in May,” said McGillivray. “I think it’s a great move. It does a number of things for us and for the Human Resources Council,” he continued. “One of our challenges is to look at how the industry’s changing. Part of that is the workforce. Even when we plan our current activities and try and estimate our activity levels, we always look to what the activity in the industry is going to be and how many people will be in need of training. It kind of fits very nicely in with our understanding of the labour force and the training requirements.” The Council is best known for its Labour Market Information updates and its Careers in Oil and Gas website, two key initiatives that the industry was eager to preserve. Enform ensures that workers are ready to meet the health and safety challenges associated with performing the very jobs that the Council identifies and promotes as areas of high demand. “I think it’s a neat marriage,” said Mark Scholz. Scholz has sat on the board of directors for Enform since he began his tenure as president and chief executive officer at the CAODC in 2011, while his vice president of operations, Nancy Malone, has sat on the board of directors for the Council since assuming her position at the CAODC at the same time. “The industry is really struggling for people,” he continued, adding that the drilling and service rig part of the industry that his association represents is no different, although its shortages are more significant in senior level management than with the entry level positions.
Approaching his first anniversary as president and chief executive officer at Enform, Cameron McGillivray now finds himself at the helm of both Enform and the Petroleum Human Resources Council, as those two indusry organizations have merged as of April 1.
“I think it’s an interesting combination to look at how do we recruit the right people, how do we talk about the industry in a positive way to attract new people into the industry,” said Scholz. “And then, on the other hand, how do we make sure that these new people and these green hands, potentially, are working in an extremely safe environment. “I think it’s certainly an interesting marriage of the two … in terms of one being on the safety side and the other being on recruitment.” Scholz identified the Council’s labour market analysis as a critical piece for his industry. “There’s not really any other organization that focuses just directly on our industry,” he said. “One thing that we felt really important to maintain
was that labour analysis. And sharing that information with our stakeholders and our partners – such as provincial, federal, municipal governments – about what needs to happen in order for us to make ends meet on the labour side.” Scholz also emphasized the value of the Careers in Oil and Gas website. “A really neat website that just focuses on outreach and getting workers paired up and aligned with the right employers based on their interests and their skill set.” “Those two things are what we were really focused on and we think bringing them in under the bigger umbrella of Enform is just a good move for the industry,” said McGillivray. continued pg 30 R001424176
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PASSING THE TEST
Social license in an unconventional age james waterman Pipeline News North Social license certainly isn’t a new concept. “I don’t know that we call it social license,” said Brett Harris of Alberta oil sands producer Cenovus. “It’s really doing the right thing and being a good neighbour and being a responsible operator in the areas where you operate,” he continued. “But it all boils down to the same thing.” Although social license and its value to producing companies might still be the same as always, the process of earning that public trust has changed as the Canadian energy sector has gone through a rapid transition from the days of conventional oil and natural gas wells to a new era of unconventional resources. It is the time of shale gas and those Alberta oil sands, not to mention the innovative methods of exploiting those resources that include the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing and the in situ bitumen extraction process known as steam assisted gravity drainage or SAGD. “I wouldn’t say it’s become more difficult for us,” said Harris. “The oil sands sector and the oil and gas industry in general are certainly under the microscope a lot more than they used to be,” he continued, alluding to high profile issues such as climate change, water management and the sagas of the embattled oil pipelines known as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway. “There’s a lot more scrutiny, which is good,” said Harris. “It keeps everybody honest and working towards the right goal. But I wouldn’t say, overall, it’s more difficult. “Cenovus has a reputation as a responsible operator. And we’re recognized even internationally as an environmental leader and a leader in corporate social responsibility. There are a lot of different aspects to social license to operate. It’s not just one thing. I would say, for the most part, it’s pretty much business as usual. If you take it seriously and it’s important to you, than you’re always doing it. “In the environmental sphere, it’s a lot more under the microscope. And so those are the kinds of things where we’re working harder to get our message out and to do a better job.” Although Harris and his Cenovus colleagues might not think much has changed with the emergence of unconventional resources, Jaime Lawrence of Quicksilver Resources is proof that there are a few differences when it comes to earning social license these days. “The title of the position is community and aboriginal relations representative,” said Lawrence. “Basically, that job boils down to acting as sort of a bridge or conduit between communities and individuals and Aboriginal groups and the company. I provide information, do consultation, do face-in-the-community type stuff – the whole kit and caboodle.” Lawrence explained that his job involves proving to communities that Quicksilver is sufficiently responsible to work in their neighbourhoods, as well as bring comments back from the communities to the company to ensure that the character of the community is well understood at the head office. As is apt for the age of shale gas, a resource that Quicksilver is mining from the Horn River Basin region of northeast British Columbia, it was an unconventional path to the oil and gas industry for Lawrence. “That’s a funny story,” he said. “I don’t actually have any background in oil and gas,” he continued. “My background is all international development. Before I worked in oil and gas, I was working in Africa doing community development work, like
Supporting energy literacy efforts such as Energy in Action, which attracts volunteers from oil and gas producers and the service sector every spring, is an important way for the oil and gas industry to gain the public trust and earn their social license to operate. Encana and Quicksilver Resources have been active participants in the program.
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doing community education programs, building water wells for people.” Lawrence even has a graduate degree in that field. Apparently, that is a perfect background for a community relations professional in the shale gas industry, particularly as new regulations and growing community interest in the sector have put additional pressure on companies to prove their social license to operate. “Over the last ten years,” said Lawrence, “there’s been a really big push, not only for oil and gas companies, but all industry across the board, to demonstrate that they have the capacity to have a social license to operate. As a result of that, over the last ten years, I think companies started looking outside the norm of having engineers do this type of stuff. And looking for experts in the field of social science. How to talk to people and how to listen to people and how to develop programs.” Lawrence said that the lessons learned in his previous career have proven valuable in the oil and gas industry as well. “No matter where you work in the world, one of the key things in going into any community is listening to that community,” he explained, adding that one of the biggest failures of international development work is attempting to apply a blueprint approach to different communities without trying to truly understand each community separately. “You really have to listen to those communities,” he continued. “You really have to spend time in the community and listen to people before you start developing any sort of messages or programs. “That applies to oil and gas, too.” Lawrence believes a producer has failed if the first interaction between that company and the community is through a surface landman. “People should know who you are before you come asking for something,” he said, noting that has been a priority for Quicksilver.
When Quicksilver announced in 2008 that they had acquired land in the Horn River Basin near Fort Nelson, B.C., the company immediately established a temporary office in a local hotel and a community relations presence that included Lawrence. Lawrence has been spending about six months of the year in Fort Nelson since the end of 2009. The road to community relations was quite different for Brian Lieverse, who serves as community relations advisor for Encana’s Cutbank Ridge business unit in Dawson Creek, B.C. “Prior to doing this community relations role, I spent close to twenty years with Encana in the production side of the things,” said Lieverse. That term included stints as a plant operator, as a field operator and as a production coordinator in northeast B.C. “We also had a lot of interaction with landowners,” he said of his time as a production coordinator. The company saw his potential as a community relations professional during that period and decided to offer him a change of careers. “They had seen how I handled difficult situations,” said Lieverse. “How I handled community events.” While Lawrence has benefited from his experience working with communities at a development level, Lieverse has benefited from his depth of knowledge of oil and gas industry operations. “Whether that’s how we produce gas, how we drill our wells, how we complete our wells,” said Lieverse. “The background knowledge is a big part of my community relations role,” he added. “Because, a lot of times, when people contact us, they’re looking for information. “They want to know what the risks are, what are the benefits, what’s in it for them.” Lieverse explained that one of the most significant continued pg 29
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RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN ENERGY CAPP program recognizes the best in Canadian oil and gas james waterman Pipeline News North
Steve Meakin believes it is a testament to the creativity of the oil and gas industry in Canada. The manager of corporate responsibility with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) was speaking of a Responsible Canadian Energy Awards program that recognizes and celebrates industry achievements in the areas of environmental, social and health and safety performance every spring. This year, the Responsible Canadian Energy Advisory Group (RCEAG) had the hard task of considering a diverse array of nominated projects ranging from Canadian Natural Resources’ efforts to relocate beavers and muskrats away from their Horizon Oil Sands development in northern Alberta to Shell Canada’s use of treated sewage from Dawson Creek for their hydraulic fracturing needs in the Montney tight gas play of northeast British Columbia. “There isn’t one solution to any given issue,” said Meakin.
“Our members are creative enough to apply some really good thinking and come up with varying approaches to addressing similar challenges.” Meakin explained that the awards program measures progress in the Canadian energy sector, which hasn’t been easy to do in the past considering the typically Canadian modesty exhibited by the oil and gas companies operating in this country. “It’s the typical Canadian thing,” said Meakin. “We’re not very good at tooting our own horn.” That is exactly what CAPP asks its members to do when they request nominations for their awards every fall. “We’re not going to toot your horn if it’s a pretty mundane, expected thing,” Meakin continued. “And companies know that. So, they submit things that they truly believe are leading practices and programs. Some of them are more in the development stage. Others are really showing positive, long-term results.” Meakin cited Suncor Energy’s contribution to David Thompson Visitor Services Program, which began in 2009
and resulted in the company earning the Social Performance Award this March, as an example of the latter type of project. “Some other ones that have shown positive results are brand spanking new,” he added, mentioning the SkyStrat drilling rig that has been developed by Cenovus, which allows the company to drill test wells any time of the year, even in regions that are usually too difficult and environmentally hazardous to access in the summer due to soft and wet conditions in areas of muskeg. That rig can be transported by helicopter. “That was an innovation that they only just implemented in 2012, but it was so leading edge,” said Meakin. “It was felt by the Advisory Group that that’s the kind of thing they wanted to acknowledge right away, because it was truly innovative, took technology from hard rock mining, adapted it and actually put it into the field, and did it all in [about] a year.” Nominations for the Health and Safety Award included the Safety Essentials for Supervisors and Managers (SEFSAM) training program that was introduced
by Enerplus in 2011, efforts taken by ConocoPhillips to address ergonomic risks that result in injuries to workers performing repetitive tasks through their Take-A-Break campaign and a Shell Canada program educating the public as to how they should respond in the event of a sour gas leak. “One submission was a shelter-inplace program,” Meakin said of the Shell initiative. “Educating the public that if you smell gas or if you smell something you’re not sure about, don’t go running away,” he explained. “Actually get into your house – and it’s called shelter-in-place because you’re better off doing that – and they developed online instructional tools for local residents and stakeholders to understand how to do it.” The Health and Safety Award went to Chevron for their Beaufort Sirluaq Seismic Program during which workers spent three months in the remote Arctic without incurring a single health or environmental incident. The Environmental Performance Award continued pg 23
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special feature RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN ENERGY Encana doing their best for their communities and the environment
Angela White, a surface landman with Encana in Fort Nelson, and Lorraine Gerwing of the Northern Rockies Social Planning Council. The two organizations have teamed up to sort recyclables from Encana’s camps in the Horn River Basin in a way that helps the Fort Nelson community and the environment. It was one of three projects that earned Encana a President’s Award nod at the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards this year.
james waterman Pipeline News North Recycling bottles and cans from work camps deep in remote northern forests, fighting hunger in communities across the westernmost provinces and avoiding harmful chemicals when they perform their hydraulic fracturing operations – just another day at the office for the men and women of Canadian natural gas producer Encana. The most recent reward for those efforts was recognition from their peers and other industry stakeholders in the form of a President’s Award that was given to the company on March 20 as part of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ (CAPP) Responsible Canadian Energy program. “We believe it validates our mandate of continuous improvement,” Encana spokesperson Doug McIntyre said of the award, one of a handful of prizes rewarding industry achievement in social, environmental and health and safety performance that were presented that evening. “Responsible development takes many forms – environmental, safety, community involvement – and this is a fairly diverse three projects that were recognized here.” One of those three projects is a Horn River Basin Recycling program that aims to keep recyclable waste produced at Encana’s work sites in the northeast British Columbia shale gas play from being incinerated or piling up in the local landfill, a program that brings both social and environmental benefits to the nearby community of Fort Nelson. “It goes back to 2009 when we had our first large camp open in the Horn River,” said McIntyre. “And, in those cases, a large volume of waste, including recyclable materials, would have had to have been incinerated or directed from the camp to the local landfill. So, our camp manager began saving the containers which were eligible for refund under British Columbia’s deposit and refund program.” That collection quickly grew into a 52-foot trailer full of recyclable containers that was subsequently given
to the Fort Nelson Aboriginal Friendship Society, which helps First Nations people transition into urban communities, so that they could sort the materials and return them for refund. “After receiving several trailers, the Friendship Society was forced to discontinue … just due to the logistical challenges of managing such large volumes of containers,” said McIntyre. “Meeting the challenges of the program really included finding a location where this trailer could be parked and coordinating staff to sort the material, sourcing vehicles to haul the waste away and establishing appropriate facilities,” he added. “It was just all about timing,” said Angela White, a surface landman with Encana who works and lives in Fort Nelson. “I’d been dealing with the trailers for probably over a year,” she continued. “And because of their size, it was getting harder and harder to find groups that had the manpower to deal with them. I mentioned this to the coordinator of the [Northern Rockies] Social Planning Council, Lorraine Gerwing, just in conversation.” “We were talking one day,” recalled Gerwing. “And she mentioned the fact that she had trailers coming in with for-deposit containers. And it was getting harder and harder to find groups to sort through them. “They’re 52-foot trailers that come in … and they’re filled right from the floor to the ceiling, just packed with for-deposit containers. And it’s dirty, stinky work.” Gerwing told White that she had seen a facility in Manitoba a number of years ago where virtually any member of the community could sort for-deposit recyclable containers and claim the refund. It was quickly decided that a similar program would be the best course of action in Fort Nelson. They began discussing the plan with potential partners, including the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) and local waste management and recycling company Wide Sky Disposal, and developing a business plan. It hasn’t been a simple process.
“We thought we had a fairly decent building lined up and it didn’t turn out that the building was going to be suitable for what we had to do,” said White. “We didn’t really know what we were getting involved with just in terms of the amount of liquids involved with all the bottles. It makes quite a mess. And so that building didn’t quite work out.” The delays were brought to an end when a community member offered the use of an empty truck bay, but it was only available until the fall of 2012, as the owner had agreed to lease the bay to another party at that time. “And so we started up there in September and ran into October,” said White. “We thought that it would be difficult to find individuals and groups who would be interested in sorting because that had been her experience,” said Gerwing. “You need so many people to get through it,” she added. The reality is that bringing together a sufficient number of sorters hasn’t actually been a problem so far. “We have run six or seven sorting days,” said Gerwing. “We run ten tables at each time. And you can fit four to five people at a table. And we’re full. Every time we sort, we’re full. So, all ten tables are running for at least four hours.” That wouldn’t be the end of the challenges facing the program, however. “Our next problem that we encountered now is, because we don’t have a bay large enough to store the trailer to thaw the product out, we haven’t been able to sort because everything is still frozen,” said White. That is simply the reality of storing large quantities of wet recyclables in a trailer during a frigid northern Canadian winter. “We’re still trying to line up a bay where we can thaw the trailer out,” said White. “Quicksilver [Resources] has kindly offered a bay that they have,” she added, “but it’s not big enough to park a trailer in. We can sort in it, but we just can’t thaw a trailer in it.” Regardless of the challenges, Encana and the Social Planning Council are excited about the potential of the project and the social and environmental benefits it can offer the region. “What’s really innovative of this project is that it brings together industry and not-for-profits in providing a service for our community,” said Gerwing. “This keeps tons and tons and tons of product out of the landfill,” she continued. “It would be much easier for Encana just to take their waste and put it in a landfill, but they do have a commitment to the environment and so they do store that product at their own cost and then they do truck it into the community. And then that’s when we take over in getting it sorted. “It’s developing that relationship between industry, the not-for-profits in the community and the community as a
White is barely visible behind a mountain of recyclable containers collected from Encana’s camps.
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Guests at Encana’s annual Community “Parder” BBQ in Dawson Creek get a chance to enjoy a few World Professional Chuckwagon Association races. Encana and the WPCA have joined forces on a Fight Against Hunger campaign to raise funds and food for local food banks in Encana’s operating areas.
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whole, providing an opportunity for anybody who’s interested in sorting or is interested in keeping this product out of our landfills. And that’s another really, really great part of the project. Because if you are sorting because you need the money, there could be a stigma attached to that. But we have people sorting for all different types of reasons. Some are sorting because they have an environmental concern. We have high school students that are sorting because they can’t keep down a regular job because of their academic schedule or their sports schedule. “We have transient people that are coming through our community that just need enough to get a bus ticket to the next place. We have had a municipal councilor out to sort. “People from all walks of life and all ages are sorting. And so there’s no stigma attached at all.” “I think it’s had a fairly positive impact just in terms of we can reach so many more people now, whereas before it was one or two groups that could handle the volume of material,” said White, noting that a number of smaller groups had wanted to get involved, but lacked the capacity to do so until now. “Not just groups, but also individuals who are just concerned about the environment and want to keep this material out of the landfill,” she added. “And it keeps the money for all for-deposit containers essentially a hundred per cent in the community,” White concluded. “It’s directly benefiting community members.”
“It’s a win-win situation,” said McIntyre. “We always strive to be active in the communities where we operate and we want to be a good corporate citizen in those communities where we operate,” he continued. “To be able to do something that has a community benefit and an environmental benefit really speaks to responsible development in action.” Gerwing views the program as proof that Encana is truly part of the Fort Nelson community. “Not only do they have an address, they have people that live and work in this community, and I think that’s very key,” she said. “It is a really good example of how companies that are working in our community can make a difference in our community,” she added. “Encana is really, really good at that.” “It’s not just writing a cheque to the town, but it’s contributing continuously to the town,” said White, reciting a remark that was made during the award ceremony. White noted that a lot of workers who stay in the camps collecting the recyclable containers don’t live in Fort Nelson. “But it’s giving them that opportunity to know they’re giving something to the community as well,” she added. “It’s kind of linking them to Fort Nelson. And I think it really demonstrates that Encana takes this seriously. And it’s important to them to have representatives that live and work in the community as well. Because we’re part of it. I’m as impacted as everybody with oil and gas development. “I think it makes you more relatable as
a company.” One reason White is so happy to earn recognition from her industry peers for the recycling program is that the award adds credibility to a project that she obviously believes to be very important. “Because we worked so hard and have had so many obstacles along the way,” said White. “And are still facing a few challenges in terms of finding a heated bay. And we’ve got Canada Revenue Agency questions we’re still trying to get answered. But it just keeps you motivated to keep going. And it’s so nice to be recognized. “Also, I really want other companies to see the opportunity that’s available and take our model and incorporate it into their communities. Or if there’s other social enterprises who want to do start doing this, we want to share that.” The President’s Award also rewarded Encana for their efforts to help local food banks in Alberta and B.C. through their Race Against Hunger partnership with the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA). “Encana is always working really hard to engage with the community and to do everything they can to give back,” said Mike Bernier, mayor of Dawson Creek, the small city at the centre of Encana’s operations in the Montney tight gas play of northeast B.C. Encana holds their Community “Pardner” BBQ at the fall fair in Dawson Creek every August. The company invites residents to enjoy a good dinner and the excitement of a few chuckwagon races in exchange for donations of cash or food
items to the local Salvation Army food bank. Encana agrees to match every cash donation dollar for dollar and contributes two dollars for every food donation. The campaign also made stops in Grande Prairie, Ponoka, Strathmore and Calgary last year, as it follows the chuckwagon racing circuit. “It’s something that’s been quite successful,” said Bernier. “I think it’s really important from the community level that companies like Encana recognize … that they need to engage people and … work with people in the community.” “It’s really received overwhelming support from local businesses and community members,” said McIntyre, adding that the campaign raised over $100,000 and almost 12,000 pounds of food in 2012. Dawson Creek contributed $11,285 and over 1,000 pounds of food to that total. “That’s fairly significant,” said McIntyre. “And just being able to help these community organizations, which ultimately make those communities better places to live, is really key for responsible development,” he continued. “It certainly requires a full contingent of staff in all our operating areas to ensure engagement and involvement. And it’s certainly been well received in those communities.” The third piece of the President’s Award puzzle is the Responsible Products Program that Encana developed in response to stakeholder concerns around chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing. continued pg 14
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special feature Encana’s social and environmental programs earn President’s Award That program began in 2010. “We began to develop a fluid product assessment and management program,” said McIntyre. “We certainly had numerous measures in place to ensure the safe handling and use of the fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, [but] we certainly believe there’s always room for improvement,” he continued. “The program was developed in conjunction with third party toxicologists. And it’s designed to not only help mitigate and address those stakeholder concerns, but also improve our operational practices and manage environmental and safety risks. “We involved experts throughout our operations as well.” Hydraulic fracturing fluids routinely contain chemicals such as biocides that kill harmful bacteria, surfactants, friction reducers and corrosion inhibitors. “What we really wanted to do was to be able to assess the additives that we use to ensure that they’re as safe as possible,” said McIntyre. The company used information from
Environment Canada, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) when determining how to classify additives available for use in hydraulic fracturing. “The components include collecting the product data and information about the product mixture, then assessing those additives and screening out those we don’t allow,” McIntyre continued. “And from there we classify the products and identify and implement any required operational practices and controls to ensure that they’re being used responsibly. And, in some cases, eliminating certain products completely from use.” Encana is proud to report that none of their fluid products contain heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury. “We’re committed to ensuring that none of these constituents will be used in our operations in the future,” said McIntyre. “What’s key here is that we’ve really been able to refine our product awareness within our procurement and completions operations. And that obvi-
cont’d from pg 13
ously has been a result of significantly … and talk about environmental stewimproving communication with our supardship in action and how the energy pliers,” he added. industry is proactively trying to do McIntyre also noted that this work exactly that and mitigate its impacts and stems from hydraulic fracturing prinproduce as responsibly as possible – ciples and practices that have been being able to show that to young people published by CAPP over the past year is invaluable,” said McIntyre. or so. The principles and practices “Being a responsible producer is really largely involve hydraulic fracturing just a way of doing business now. It’s a fluid management, including disclosing smart business decision to be a responchemicals used in the process, as well sible energy producer,” he added. as freshwater conservation through “In the Ducks Unlimited situation, the recycling and reuse. wetlands mapping project, not only does “And we’ve since it [have] the envishared this program ronmental benefit of “Being a responsible wetland preservation, with CAPP as a potential tool for the but also, in areas industry to proactiveproducer is really where we have oply address stakeerations, our staff are holder concerns,” just a way of doing able to have readily said McIntyre. “And available information we’re working with where sensitive business now. It’s of them to facilitate an areas are.” industry-wide rollout. The idea that a smart business And, actually, in the responsible energy States as well. production makes decision.” “There’s also been good business discussions ongoing sense is evident with the American in the way En– Doug McIntyre, Encana cana – a natural Exploration and Production Council gas producer – is (AXPC) on the viabilpromoting the ity of a similar approach.” use of natural gas for transportation This isn’t the first time Encana has and high horsepower applications, been recognized by CAPP for their partly because of the greenhouse gas work in the area of water management (GHG) emissions benefits of using and hydraulic fracturing. Their Debolt the lower carbon fuel instead of tradiWater Treatment Plant joint venture tional gasoline or diesel. with Apache was similarly rewarded two “We currently have about 49 per cent years ago. That plant treats saline water of our rigs fuelled by natural gas and drawn from a deep underground aquifer about 26 per cent of our fleet vehicles,” in the Debolt formation so that it can be said McIntyre. used for hydraulic fracturing in the Horn “And that demonstrates to other busiRiver Basin. nesses – commercial fleet providers, “Shale gas production is a water municipal fleets – the economic benefits. intensive process and we acknowledge Encana saved well over $10 million last it’s our responsibility to … [seek] water year from the use of natural gas.” alternatives for operations where posMcIntyre also pointed to the environsible,” said McIntyre, discussing the mental benefits where carbon dioxide Debolt water initiative. emissions can be reduced by 20 to 30 “We have another [similar] project in per cent, carbon monoxide emissions the Farmington area,” he added. can be reduced by 70 to 90 per cent and Farmington also falls within Encana’s sulfur dioxide emissions can be almost Montney operating area. completely eliminated. “[It] would also use saline water for our “As well as huge reductions in smog operations,” said McIntyre. causing particulate matter,” he added. “We expect [it] will be completed “Being able to demonstrate the ennext year.” vironmental benefits, obviously, is key Encana also demonstrates their from a business perspective in terms of commitment to responsible energy creating new markets, but also just in development by working with CAPP on terms of using a more environmentally their Energy in Action energy literacy friendly fuel.” program and helping organizations like It is all part of being an energy proDucks Unlimited with important enviducer in an age of heightened social and ronmental efforts such as the wetland environmental awareness and McIntyre mapping project that took place in the believes the Responsible Canadian EnHorn River Basin. ergy program does a fine job of pushing “Energy in Action really just presents a companies in the right direction. great opportunity to connect with stu“We have to be responsible stewards dents in terms of energy literacy and the of the environment, we have to operate responsibility of environmental stewardsafely and responsibly, and this really ship,” said McIntyre. provides a benchmark to show what A team of Encana employees took part industry is doing,” he said. in the program at Devereaux School in “It’s constantly striving to improve. the heart of their Montney operations in Continuous improvement really is the Arras, B.C. last spring. mandate and the mantra in terms of “Being able to interact with students responsible development.”
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN ENERGY Forethought puts ARC Resources ahead of the game
james waterman Pipeline News North When ARC Resources began designing a plant to process the natural gas from their Montney formation assets around Dawson Creek, British Columbia, they knew it had to be a facility that would stand the test of time. It wasn’t simply a matter of building a plant that would be reliable, efficient and economical, but also a matter of constructing a facility that would be a good fit for the community and the environment of the northeast corner of the province for the long life of the operation. “We realized we had a very large resource in place with a very long reserve life. So, immediately, we thought longterm,” said Al Roberts, vice president of production with ARC. “We knew that we wanted to build the cleanest plant that we possibly could,” added environment and regulatory manager Jeff Wickens. “We knew we were going to be in the area for many years. We had a big resource. We had neighbours. And we [made] that decision early on that building clean was going to be a priority for us.” “We were very deliberate about our decisions,” said facilities manager David Kehrig, who led the team designing and building the plant. Those decisions included opting for total electrification of the plant through connection to the BC Hydro power grid, as well as utilizing technologies such as high efficiency motors that now help ARC reduce their carbon footprint at that site by 60,000 tonnes per year compared to a similar plant without such greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions features. “It makes sense to have something that’s very reliable, very efficient, clean, uses a minimal amount of our sales product – our fuel gas,” Kehrig continued. “We were very deliberate in the way we thought long-term and about what we have to do to achieve success in the long-term.”
“We were able to achieve that not just through the equipment that we put in,” Wickens said of the carbon emissions reduction. “But we’re also injecting all of our acid gas stream into the ground. So, we’re not having emissions there. And that leads to higher reliability. There’s less downtime. Less odors [and] emissions right across the board.” A significant result of their efforts has been recognition by their oil and gas industry peers and other stakeholders in the form of a Chair’s Award, one of the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards presented by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) on March 20. The program recognizes industry achievement in the areas of social, environmental and health and safety performance on an annual basis. “This plant was very well-designed,” said Roberts. “Even our employees who work there are proud of this plant and enjoy taking people through it – because it is an amazing place.” Roberts noted that the level of engineering and the amount of capital involved in successfully completing the project were substantial. “Receiving this award is … confirmation that we did all the right things,” he added. The City of Dawson Creek has also noticed ARC’s achievement. “Dawson Creek has always been at the forefront, looking at ways to reduce our carbon emissions,” said Mike Bernier, mayor of Dawson Creek, adding that his council has sent that message to the industry players in the region. “When I meet with them – with these companies – they’re always understanding the community, where our direction is going, and they’re always trying to do their part,” he continued. “So, it’s great to see that ARC is looking at the new technologies that are out there to help the industry do their part around environmental emissions. “We want to continue promoting this.” Roberts explained that working with communities where ARC operates is simply part of the culture of the company.
ARC RESOURCES PHOTO
Parkland gas plant, which is under construction,” said Kehrig. Parkland is another ARC operation in northeast B.C. “We’re basically doing it again,” said Kehrig, “using self-generated power to bridge us through until we can get connected to the BC Hydro grid.” Kehrig believes the steps taken to complete the project, particularly the process with BC Hydro, serve as a good example for other producers that are considering similar projects. “Start early,” said Kehrig. “If you’re going to be connecting to the BC Hydro grid,” he continued, “BC Hydro needs to know early on so they can work that into their long range planning and their development of their system and grid. You need to understand their business processes and build some good relationships with them.” ARC believes that sharing knowledge of this kind is an important aspect of the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards program. “It’s incredibly valuable,” said Wickens. “We’re a mid-sized producer,” he continued. “And it shows that we can compete with the big players on a level playing field. If we can do it, why can’t everybody? We could have taken the easy way out and done it cheaper, but we didn’t. We thought and planned ahead. “We think we’ve built a world class facility.” “It’s not just a one-off,” added Roberts. “We’re virtually cloning a phase of it at Parkland today. “We are following our own footsteps.”
ARC Resources won the Chair’s Award at the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards this year on the strength of their new low-emissions gas plant in Dawson Creek.
“ARC and our employees take pride in being more a part of the community, rather than just in the community,” he said. “It’s important to be able to work with your neighbours out there,” said Wickens. “We’re in the middle of an agricultural community,” he continued. “It’s not remote by any stretch of the imagination. So, it’s important to understand what’s important to the community at large. And often those are things like odors and noise. “Being able to take this approach with the facility has allowed us to have improved reliability, less downtime, less odors, less noise. Just a whole gambit of things. And being able to demonstrate that commitment to the community makes it easier for us to do our business going forward in the community. Because there’s some trust and belief in what we say.” However, the plan to electrify the plant was not without its difficulties. “We started talking to BC Hydro,” said Kehrig. “And it became apparent very early on that their infrastructure design and build could not be completed in the same timeframe as ARC desired for getting our plant up and running.” Consequently, the company sought the expertise of a consulting firm with relevant experience with BC Hydro to help them with the process of connecting to the BC Hydro grid. “That was very successful,” said Kehrig. “At the same time,” he continued, “we initiated procurement of two 4-megawatt, gas-fired turbine generators from Solar Turbines. … The turbines allowed us to start a phase one plant in the late spring of 2010. And then BC Hydro’s connection was subsequently completed in the spring of 2011. And that enabled us to start up the phase two plant. That was the way we bridged through that difference in our timelines.” Those turbines have been put to good use again since they were shut down at the Dawson Creek plant site. “We just recently relocated those same turbines to our
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APRIL 19, 2013
special feature RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN ENERGY Chevron turns Arctic adventure into award-winning health and safety performance james waterman Pipeline News North The days of Sir John Franklin are long gone. Centuries since voyagers of his ilk set out from Europe in search of fame and glory as discoverers of a northwest passage to exotic lands, marine journeys through the Canadian Arctic no longer need be tales of hopelessly icebound ships, stories of desperately lost explorers or grisly accounts of cannibalism by British sailors. Actually, Chevron has shown that the northern expeditions of today can be award-winning testaments to the rigorous planning and careful execution that are now characterizing the modern Canadian oil and gas industry and its efforts to be a safe sector in which to work. The company was facing the challenge of conducting a three-dimensional (3D) seismic program in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of the Northwest Territories after purchasing an exploration license in that region in 2010. “This is an exploration block, which means that there’s very little in the way of data covering it,” said Kevin Williams, exploration operations manager with Chevron. “There was some older 2D (two-dimensional) data, but we went up there with the intention of capturing a 3D data set,” he continued. “We wanted to get a data set that would allow us to evaluate the subsurface and the geology on the license and to make decisions moving forward.” The trouble is that it can be difficult to plan for work in the remote north. “The unpredictably of the ice and weather,” said Williams, outlining the key concerns with the project. Chevron sought the help of satellite data and weather services to put together a forecast for their summer in the Arctic. “But when it comes right down to it, you really can’t forecast very accurately which way ice is going to move or what it’s going to do,” added Williams. Historical data dating back to 1996 was used to model various ice scenarios. Through that process, the company determined that a typical year would offer about 55 days of ice-free conditions. It was also determined that a particularly good year would offer about 67 ice-free days and the area would only be ice-free for about a month in a particularly bad year.
A troubling discovery was that there had been one A significant part of that challenge concerns fuel. year during the past decade when the area wasn’t ice“How do you refuel if it can’t come into port?” said Williams. free for even a single day. One solution is simply the choice of vessel. “You need ice-free, open water,” Williams said of “We selected a vessel that could go for 85 days,” the necessary conditions for performing 3D seismic he continued. data acquisition. “It had an 85 day-endurance without refueling. There “Because the equipment is fairly sensitive and it just was actually a chance that we could get through the doesn’t take well to impact,” he added. “So, it can’t hit entire program without ever refueling.” anything, including ice.” Still, the team opted to send a supply vessel into TukChevron devised a handful of contingency plans in toyaktuk, N.W.T. to obtain fuel late in the program just to preparation for an array of possible ice conditions. play it safe. “On the way up, things looked pretty normal,” said Williams. “The vessel managed to go pretty much the whole “We arrived at Point Barrow, which is on the northern season with very limited refueling,” said Williams. point of Alaska,” he continued. “That’s right where the “And, of course, one of the reasons you don’t want to polar ice cap pinches in on North America. So, that’s sort refuel is because, when you refuel, you could potenof the last place to open up and tially have a spill. So, you can “You really can’t forecast eliminate that possibility comthe first place to close. And so that’s our entry and exit point. pletely by just not refueling.” And so we keep a very close Important to the success of very accurately which eye on that all summer because the mission was the strong relathat’s what allows us to get in between Chevron and way ice is going to move tionship and out. the six aboriginal communities of “When we arrived there in Inuvialuit Settlement Region. or what it’s going to do.” the“We, late July, things were lookduring our consultations, ing quite typical. And we had visited all six [communities] to slow down for a day or two numerous times,” said Williams, – Kevin Williams, Chevron getting past Point Barrow. noting that those consultations However, once we got into the included discussions with local Canadian Beaufort, we were hunters and trappers, the Inumet with pretty much wide open water and it stayed vialuit Game Council (IGC) and the Inuvialuit Regional wide open for the entire summer.” Corporation (IRC). It was a long journey for the ship from start to finish. “It’s part of the environmental assessment process, The vessel left West Africa on June 20, traveling which is part of the regulatory process,” he added. across the ocean, through the Panama Canal and along Consultation began in the summer of 2011. the Pacific Coast of North America, arriving in Vancou“We’re still concluding some of our wrap-up consultaver, British Columbia on July 18. tions now,” said Williams. “We did our port call in Vancouver,” said Williams. “That’s During the consultation process, Chevron outlined where we kind of get everybody on the same page.” their plans and their projected timelines for the program, The ship didn’t see port again until it arrived in Halifax, while also listening to questions and incorporating local Nova Scotia on October 22. concerns into their plans. The vessel saw Point Barrow on July 31 and sailed “It also gave us some exposure to local people who onto the exploration license on August 3. The data acqui- are obviously interested in contracting and employment sition that was the goal of the 3D seismic program began opportunities,” said Williams. on August 8 and concluded on October 8. “The front end of the oil and gas industry, which is “The vessel didn’t come into port a single time during often seismic, we’re there for a fairly short duration and that duration,” said Williams. it’s a limited program,” he continued. “Opportunities are “That’s not that unusual for a seismic operation, but to limited, but there certainly are some.” be out in the open water in a place that remote for that For example, Chevron hired six Marine Environmental long certainly is a challenge,” he added. Observers (MEOs) from the local Inuvialuit communities.
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
The ship known as Western Neptune that Chevron used to conduct their seismic program in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of the Northwest Territories last summer. It was a risky venture considering the obviously remote and desolate Arctic environment in which the crew had to work for three solid months, but the project was such a great success that the company was recognized with the Health and Safety Award at the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards ceremony on March 20.
“They are lookouts for things like marine mammals and polar bears and birds,” said Williams. “We got some people on the ship in various capacities working over the summer,” he added. “And many of the contracts that we issued actually went to northern companies.” The firsthand knowledge of the region was also invaluable to Chevron from a health and safety standpoint. “They call it traditional knowledge,” said Williams. “Call it whatever you like, it’s people that understand the land. They understand the fish and the animals that live up there. And they have decades of local knowledge. We definitely try to listen to that and incorporate that into our plans. “Chevron’s been active in the Arctic since the [sixties]. And, more recently, we did a bunch of work onshore in the Mackenzie Delta from about 2001 through 2007. So, we’ve had a fairly longstanding relationship with the Inuvialuit. And, I think, a fairly good understanding.” All the hard work has paid off for Chevron. Not only were they able to successfully complete their seismic program in
the Beaufort Sea without any incidents things right,” he continued. “We were of harm caused to people or the environconsulting with the local communities and ment, but they also took home the Health following our own sound health, environand Safety Award presented by the Cana- ment and safety procedures. dian Association of Petroleum Producers “One of the things we really did right (CAPP) on March 20. is we invested a tremendous amount The award is part of a Responsible Caof time into the planning and engaging nadian Energy the people, and program that recthis went from “It was a really ognizes industry the leaders of our achievement contractors right in the areas of down to the frontambitious and social, enviline workers.” ronmental and The port call in challenging project.” health and safety Vancouver was a performance. good example of – Kevin Williams, Chevron “It’s a really big those efforts. honour,” Williams “That was a five said of the award. day affair where, “We submitted what we thought was a fundamentally, we just got everyone very strong candidate, but clearly there on the same page,” said Williams. “We were other strong and worthy programs made it very clear to them what our viin there, but we were selected. And it’s sion and goals were. And that included always an honour and a thrill to be recogincident free operations, no harm to nized by your peers.” the environment. The nature of the project emphasizes “They all understood that they could the value of the award for Chevron. stop work any time they saw some“It was a really ambitious and challengthing that either looked dangerous or ing project,” said Williams. even just looked out of the ordinary,” “We knew all along that we were doing he added.
“Everyone felt comfortable talking about these issues and stopping work when necessary.” It will still be some time until the results of the seismic program are really known, as it takes about a year to analyze the data. “It won’t be processed until some time into 2013,” said Williams. “After that, we probably have a period of a year or two of interpreting and analyzing the data, seeing if it shows us something we like or something we need to think about.” However Chevron chooses to proceed in the Beaufort Sea, they will strive to ensure that the work is done responsibly. “One of the credos that we work by here is that we’re not the owners of this land,” said Williams. “It belongs to other people. We just license it. We certainly want to leave it exactly the way we found it. “And in the North, people live off subsistence hunting and fishing. So, anything that you can do to keep the environment exactly as you found it allows them to live their lifestyles the way they want to. “I think we accomplish that goal.”
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APRIL 19, 2013
special feature RESPONSIBLE CANADIAN ENERGY Suncor celebrated for partnership with Alberta Parks
The David Thompson Corridor between Banff National Park and Red Deer, Alberta certainly has a few remarkable sights to offer travellers driving along that stretch of highway. A partnership between Suncor and Alberta Parks is helping Canadians discover the ecologically and culturally rich region through a David Thompson Corridor Visitor Services Program.
ALBERTA PARKS PHOTO
james waterman Pipeline News North Just northwest of Rocky Mountain House there is a spot where Albertans can catch a glimpse of sandhill cranes and boreal owls as they make their way through beautiful wilderness trails on bicycles, skis, snowshoes or simply a pair of hiking boots. That spot is Crimson Lake Provincial Park, one of many attractions along a route known as the David Thompson Corridor, the highway that winds its way from the eastern edges of Banff National Park in the west to Red Deer in the east. The Ferrier Gas Plant belonging to Suncor Energy sits next to Crimson Lake. The company also operates well sites within the park boundaries. That activity in the area is one of the key reasons Alberta Parks has had such a
strong relationship with the company and its predecessors throughout the past fifty years. “The operations there have been around since the [sixties],” said John Karkhoven, a senior advisor with Suncor’s stakeholder relations team, adding that the operator has always had to deal with Alberta Parks as a result. “And we always got along with them quite well,” he continued. As an example, one of Suncor’s predecessors built a trail around the perimeter of Crimson Lake in the late eighties. “There’s been an evolving relationship, which has always been a good one,” said Karkhoven. That relationship led to a five-year partnership that began in 2009 whereby Suncor provides funding to
Alberta Parks for a David Thompson Corridor Visitor Services Program. “The mandate of the program is to connect people to Alberta Parks,” said program supervisor Graham Thursfield. “We do that by reaching out to as diverse an audience as possible,” he added. That includes field trips and environmental education programs for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 that occur throughout the year, as well as interpretive programs for summer campers and guided hikes through front and backcountry environments. “We do winter programs. We take people out snowshoeing and talk about winter ecology,” said Thursfield. “We also have what’s called our inclusion program where we’re trying to get persons with disabilities, both physical and mental, out into parks,” he continued.
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PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
The David Thompson Corridor Visitor Services Program, sponsored by Suncor, tries to reach a wide audience through a variety of interpretative and educational programs that teach visitors about ecology and the natural wonders of the area.
ALBERTA PARKS PHOTOS
“Because often there’s too many obstacles, whether it’s trail conditions or whether it’s just lack of transport. We work with service providers to break down those obstacles so that they can come out and enjoy our parks system. “We also have programs in place for new Canadians who are just new to our country. And, of course, as Canadians, we all identify with our wilderness areas as part of our identity. We work to try to instill that sense of place in new Canadians by bringing them out to our parks and doing things like immersing them in nature, getting them comfortable with nature. “And then we also do outreach programs to urban environments, trying to get more and more urban people out into our parks.” “We provide financial support to Alberta Parks to basically implement the program,” said Karkhoven, noting that sponsorship is an important part of Suncor satisfying the corporate stewardship goals of their stakeholder relations policy. “Which include providing economic and social benefits to the communities in which we operate,” he continued. Karkhoven suggested that establishing partnerships like the one with Alberta Parks is often the best way to accomplish those goals. “They have the wherewithal at a local level to do it on a much more comprehensive basis than we would necessarily have,” he explained. “They’ve got a great program here. And we’re more than happy to support it.” Karkhoven said that is partly because the corridor offers such an interesting and diverse experience ranging from agricultural land around Red Deer
to a pair of First Nations communities near Rocky Mountain House to the subalpine forests on the border of Banff National Park. “The region is incredibly rich in cultural and natural history,” said Thursfield. “One of the areas of Alberta that you can still go to and have a true wilderness experience,” he continued. “And within that we have multiple parks and protected areas that we look after, ranging from provincial parks to ecological reserves, which preserve an incredible diversity of plants and animals, as well as hold cultural history gems that lots of people across the province and across Canada really come and enjoy.” Suncor received the Social Performance Award from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) in recognition of their contribution to the David Thompson Corridor Visitor Services Program on March 20. The award is part of a Responsible Canadian Energy program that recognizes industry achievement in the areas of social, environmental and health and safety performance. “The award is proudly placed in our lobby,” said Karkhoven. “It’s right front and centre,” he added, remarking that during his acceptance speech he said he wants to “set up a joint custody agreement so we can share it with the Parks folks.” “It raises our profile,” Thursfield said of the award given to Suncor. “This is a good way of giving back. It just balances the equation,” added Karkhoven. One aspect of the partnership that Karkhoven really enjoys is the scope of the program that Suncor is funding. “Their outreach extends beyond the specific local community,” he ex-
plained. “It goes from within the local area, which is around Rocky Mountain House, to the regional area, which is the David Thompson Corridor, and beyond that to the provincial level. Because everybody is welcome to come and share in this. “It’s not just specific to given special interest groups.” “Our programs do reach such a diverse audience,” said Thursfield. Suncor’s support makes that possible. “It means a lot that they’re willing to go beyond what’s necessary of them to help out with the Visitor Services Program through financial sponsorship to make sure that it does happen,” said Thursfield. “They recognize the importance of it. They recognize the importance of connecting people to the parks. And they recognize the social benefit of it all.” Karkhoven said that the Social Performance Award helps spread the message that community involvement at that level is an important role of industry. “Providing benefit to the communities in which you operate is something that’s valued,” he explained. “It’s not just a matter of making money,” he continued. “These days, we also have to be very cognizant of
impacts on the environment. … And safety’s always important. But the social aspect is important as well. And I think an extra value here – and I think this is important here – is that the nature of the partnership with Alberta Parks is probably unique to this award. And it’s a great way of doing things.” Thursfield is hopeful that the program will be able to continue on its own after the funding partnership with Suncor comes to an end in 2014. “The program’s going to continue if the program is sustainable,” he said. “And it’s just continuing to grow. We’re looking to expand our program base. So, offering more new programs, looking to reach out to new audiences to bring them into our parks. And eventually we’re looking at putting in some infrastructure … to help us deliver our programs. “We certainly would appreciate continued sponsorship, but certainly this five years of sponsorship commitment has … helped the program get on its feet. Because we started from scratch five years ago. There was nothing here. There was no person hired to do the program. … There were no programs in place. “It was just building it from scratch up to what it is today.”
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APRIL 19, 2013
special feature responsible canadian energy Cenovus soars to new heights with SkyStrat drilling rig
Successful oil sands developments such as Cenovus’ Foster Creek operation can only happen after the company obtains geological information about the region. The work of drilling stratigraphic wells to gather that data is often done in remote areas with rough terrain that is inaccessible during the summer because of soft muskeg. Cenovus has found a way around that problem, adapting technology from the hard rock mining industry to build a drilling rig that they can helicopter into those tough spots throughout the year.
james waterman Pipeline News North When Cenovus went looking for a solution to a common problem plaguing the oil patch of northern Alberta, they found inspiration in the work of their natural resource sector cousins in the hard rock mining industry. The problem was how to prolong the season for drilling stratigraphic wells in a region where the ground is only hard enough to support the constant transportation of drilling rigs for a few months of the year. The solution was a helicopter. “The SkyStrat drilling rig is a pretty exciting project for Cenovus,” said Cenovus spokesperson Jessica Wilkinson. “Cenovus and everyone else in the industry drill stratigraphic – or strat – wells to gather more information about the resource underground,” she explained. “It’s understanding the geology, getting
core samples, really mapping out where the resource is. “We use that data to plan our … oil sands development.” The challenge of that job is the amount of muskeg across the northern Alberta landscape. “It’s pretty sloppy,” said Wilkinson. “A lot of the drilling has to take place in the winter.” That drilling activity amounts to about 400 to 500 strat wells per year. “And the challenge is that we have to get those done within, really, a three month drilling season in a good winter,” said Wilkinson. “Trying to get that volume of wells finished in that short amount of time, there are some logistical challenges,” she continued. “And the reason that we have to get it done before then is, once it thaws, the ground is too wet to support any equipment. So, there’s a really hard deadline. “Mother Nature’s deadline on how long
we can drill.” Cenovus began searching for a way to drill strat wells throughout the year without adversely affecting an environment that is so easy to impact during the warmer months. The solution they discovered was a drilling rig that can be transported by helicopter to the rough terrain of remote locations where the hard rock mining industry does its work. “On the side of a mountain,” said Wilkinson, offering an example of those difficult conditions. “Working with some expert fabricators, mining companies and the regulators, we came up with a prototype that would allow us to transform a conventional oil and gas stratigraphic drilling rig,” she continued. The result is a heli-portable drilling rig about two-thirds the size of a conventional drilling rig. “And because of the way we had to put things together to make everything fit and
heli-portable, operations are a bit different,” said Wilkinson. “That said, most drillers and rig crews work really hard in the winter and then they kind of get the summer off. And that creates a lot of uncertainty. And so by being able to drill year round, we’re able to give them long-term job opportunities. As a result, because they stay on the rig longer, they’re able to come back to the same rig, we think it’s ultimately going to result in a safer operation. The more comfortable they are with the equipment, the better operations are going to go.” The environmental benefits of the SkyStrat drilling rig we recognized by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) when Cenovus received their Environmental Performance Award for the project on March 20. The award is part of a Responsible continued pg 23
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10507 88 St
Check out this one owner custom built home w/3500 sq.ft. of htd living space incl. vaulted ceilings, lots of hrdwd, tile, custom cabinets, huge mstr bdrm, and great RR with a second kit. Located just 15 min from city and offers lots of tree’s, large storage shed, chicken coop and a great well. Lots of extra’s in the home, wood heat and F/A, wired for sound on the main and basement, cold storage cellar accessible from the basement, concrete drive and large attached garage. MLS# N224975
Great price for this home located close to Matthews Park. Three bedrooms on the main floor, two bedrooms in the basement and a new kitchen are just some of the perks of this home. The backyard is gorgeous with a gazebo, large deck and detached garage big enough for a full size pick up. MLS# N225136
Immaculate 1 owner home close to the city. Gorgeous home boasts 4 bdrms, lots of new tile, oak laminate & paint, 12” walls for super savings, ng furnace, electric baseboards and a woodstove. Lots of tree’s on this 5 AC parcel & 30X50 finished shop. New shingles on the house in 2007 and the shop in 2006, new hot water tank 2011, and pressure tank in 2010. One look at this property and you will be amazed by the pride of ownership throughout...don’t just take my word for it... come and check it out. Measurements to be verified if buyer deems important. MLS# N224898
Enjoy condo living in this twenty four unit strata. Lots of newer updates such as windows, siding. All measurements are approximate. MLS# N224149
Just under 1400 sq feet, oak laminate flooring, lots of tile and a maple kit. 3 bdrm, 3 bath home. Corner lot, gorgeous landscaping and a great location. Watch the fireworks on Canada day from your DR, and snuggle by the FP on chilly nights...this one has it all, but act fast. MLS# N224424
Check out this renovated three bedroom, two storey half duplex with new siding, windows, new flooring, new bathroom and oak kitchen. Fenced yard and backs onto Sureus Ball Park. MLS# N224885
SOLD 8406 87 St
10704 108 Ave
15203 259 Rd
11728 97 St
10607 106 Ave
12478 Rimrock Dr.
What’s better than brand new? How about two years old and all the hard work has been done for you? This two storey 1300 square foot home offers lots of hardwood, espresso cabinets, tile splash, three bedrooms and three baths. The landscaping is all done, the fence is up (including a gate for ATV’s) and a concrete driveway. All appliances are included as is the remaining home warranty. Call this great home your own for Spring. MLS# N225016
3800 sqft 5 bdrm, 4 bath home. Over 1800 sqft of Brazilian Walnut hardwood accented by custom laid tile, new paint, marble bathrooms and a one of kind country kit with granite counter tops, high end S/S appliances looking over the eating area and deck while the kids go out the back gate to CM Finch Elementary. This home has amazing street appeal with fresh updates to the stone work and classic wood finishing, oversized att garage and huge, fenced well manicured yard. Call today to get in and see this one...before it’s gone. MLS# N225085
Looking for an incredible working farm within 16 minutes from the city of Fort St John? This great 1/4 section has a large house with a 24x30 living room, full basement with bedroom, bathroom and rec area. Large 30x60 shop with a concrete floor, detached garage for the car in the chilly nights. Three steel grain bins, one large wood one, lots of fencing and cross fencing, three dugouts around the property, barn, 90 acres in hay, 50 acres in pasture and as if that wasn’t enough ...$5400 a year oil revenue as the cherry on top. Your mortgage payment for this property after the oil revenue could be as low as $1700.00 per month...wow.. MLS# N225067
Incredible cared for one owner custom home located in popular Evergreen Estates close to the walking trail, college, Kin Park & Bert Ambrose. Full suite in the basement with outside basement entry. Lots of hardwood & tile, vaulted ceilings, attached double garage, fenced & landscaped. MLS# N224897
This 4 bdrm home features many kitchen updates including flooring, countertops, tile backsplash, 5 new appliances, large living room & dining room with hardwood floors & round wood fireplace & vaulted ceiling, 10x17 heated sun room with vaulted ceiling & skylight with patio doors to sundeck, master bdrm has walk-in closet & 2 pc bath, large family rec room with bar & gas fireplace, 12x24 4th bdrm, 4 pc bsmt bath with jet tub & separate shower. Fenced yard with back alley access. New shingles 2011.MLS# N224066
Looking for an acreage? .35 an acre bordering the creek just off the Alaska Hwy. The home features 3 bdrms, huge mud room, vaulted ceilings, new appliances. Built in hot tub, and great spot for a shop or garage. Lots of gravel make for a quick dry driveway in the spring. MLS# N224298
SOLD 9219 91 St
8716 112 Ave
#8 9709 99 Ave
Very well cared for home with immaculate finishings including espresso kitchen with quartz countertops, lots of new paint, wood flooring through the main, and new pvc windows. Finished basement with a huge rec room great for the kids. Large rear fenced yard with room for a detached garage, great street appeal and located close to schools. MLS# N225150
Great custom built home located close to the new hospital, close to schools and parks with easy access to everywhere. This home features big windows, three bedrooms up, two baths, mocha cabinets, wood flooring and a partially finished basement offering a large rec room and space for more bedrooms and and bathroom. MLS# N222965
This brand new strata development is a first in Taylor. Offering two bdrm main & top floor units at affordable prices and quality finishing. Situated in front of Lone Wolf Golf Courses. Purchase price includes 10 year warranty, fridge, stove, dishwasher, a $150 credit for window coverings and ask about a one year golf membership. Square footage range from 1015 sq ft to 1348 sq ft of luxury, affordable living. MLS# N223034
Call today for your FREE HOME EVALUATION and find out why my Guaranteed System works over the others!
9624 118 Ave
9216 105 Ave
#89 9207 82 St
Enjoy all the finer things in life and have the options to do so. This custom built home offers 3000 sf finished full of 9’ ceilings, lots of natural light with huge windows, as well as kitchen right out of a magazine. But that’s not all, this one of kind property has 6 bedrooms, three bathrooms, its zoned R2 for a suite and the outside entry is in and ready. Attached double garage, brand new asphalt driveway going in and this will not last long in the FSJ market. MLS# N221735
This price in this location offering more than most, you must be thinking it’s a mis-print...but it’s not. Very affordable, very cute and all done up ready for you to move in. Two bdrms, nice flow through plan, newer laminate flooring, updated kitchen, all new double pane PVC windows, new high eff. furnace, new hot water tank and a double detached garage with a concrete floor. To top this good buy off is the nice large fenced yard and great location, close to schools. Call on this one before it is gone. MLS# N224151
3 bdrm home in popular Southridge. Features tile floors in kit, laminate in LR, updated windows & trim, and new drywall throughout. Mstr bath has been completely renovated with tile floors, and a deep jetted soaker tub. A must see! Home is on Lg lot with/10x14 insulated and wired shed. A nice east facing sun-deck & paved parking completes this perfect starter home w/room for the whole family! Call Mike today to book a viewing. 250-794-1511 MLS# N222398
11307 108 St This is one New Years resolution that should be on the top of your wish list. Only 24 years young, this traditional two storey boasts lots of newer updates like paint throughout, brazillian hardwood, two fireplaces, finished basement, attached double garage, all with lots of windows and lots of sun sitting on a large lot in Finch..call today.. MLS# N224009
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250.787.TREV www.trevorbolin.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The 1# Realtor
Independently Owned & Operated 101, 9711 100 Ave, Fort St John, BC
Quadrant Backing onto walking trails & the creek. This amazing subdivision will offer: • A large man-made lake • access to trails • Park space • R1 lots Call 250.785.6275 for more info
• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
Elections BC encouraging camp workers to vote this spring james waterman Pipeline News North
With the provincial election less than a month away, the Peace River North chapter of Elections BC is hopeful that British Columbians working in the oil and gas industry in the northeast corner of the province take the time to vote, even if they are in camp when election day rolls around. “The Province is trying to do its best to get the word out,” said Bill Lindsay, district electoral officer for Peace River North, noting there are concerns about election results actually representing a constituency when a significant portion of the population doesn’t vote simply because they don’t know how to do so from their work camps. To ensure that doesn’t happen, Elections BC is offering a few options to those working in the energy sector. “The mail-in ballot might be an option for them,” said Lindsay. Workers can register to vote and request a mail-in ballot online. “We even put a stamp on it,” Lindsay said of the mail-in ballots. Another option is visiting the Elections BC office in Fort St. John or the advance polling stations in Fort Nelson, Taylor and Hudson’s Hope starting April 16. “They can vote outside their area,” said Lindsay. “If somebody lives in Nanaimo, [but is] working out here, he or she can cast a ballot for a candidate in Nanaimo as well.” Lindsay noted that his office has had some difficulty and their share of bad luck reaching out to the oil and gas industry to encourage workers to vote on May 14. “We were talking to a staff member in Talisman about getting the word out,” said Lindsay. “This was back in January. And she was quite keen on assisting us. … And then they laid off about 100 people. She was one of them on the list.” That was the end of the conversation with Talisman. It is also difficult to know how many voters might be affected by being in camp at the time of the election, considering there are over 1,000 camps in the region, but many workers could be Alberta residents, and spring break-up could drastically reduce the number of people staying in those camps on May 14. Still, Elections BC is doing their part to make sure nobody is left out of the electoral fun, as polling stations will be located not only in Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Hudson’s Hope and Taylor, but also in the smaller communities of Buick, Cecil Lake, Montney, Prespatou, Baldonnel, Wonowon, Pink Mountain, Toad River and Liard.
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
Cenovus receives Environmental Performance Award for new rig cont’d from pg 20 Canadian Energy program that recognizes industry achievement in the areas of environmental, social and health and safety performance. “Being able to fly it in and fly it out means that we’re really reducing our surface footprint,” said Wilkinson. “When we’re conventional drilling, we build temporary roads, which have an impact on the environment,” she continued. “And the challenge is that, if you’re drilling in an area, you’re [building] temporary roads as a way to get X number of wells done in a set amount of time. It’s not really a planned development. And then you come in and use those roads to plan your larger development, but they may not make the most sense. So, we’re able to eliminate the need for temporary roads by just flying equipment in and flying it out. “If we find out that the resource maybe isn’t that strong in the area or there is no resource, we don’t have to disturb it. It’s kept pristine.” The program began in 2010 and the company has drilled 18 wells in the Alberta oil sands region since that time. The first wells were drilled at their existing operations simply to test the new rig. “Make sure everything was working properly. Making
sure it was going to be a safe operation. And we found that was really successful,” said Wilkinson. During the spring and summer of 2012, Cenovus drilled an additional 11 wells in their Steepbank assets. “Which is an emerging oil sands area north of Fort McMurray,” said Wilkinson. “There’s really nothing there,” she continued. “That was the first time we were really able to test the heliportable capabilities of the rig. We used helicopters to fly all the equipment in. And then did our crew changes on helicopter as well.” Wilkinson did remark that there are limitations to the utilization of SkyStrat. “The rig is really designed for really remote areas where there’s no existing infrastructure,” she explained. “When you’re using a helicopter in that amount to drill an area where there are roads, the economics are not as clear. But that said, Cenovus has a huge opportunity in the oil sands in a lot of areas that don’t have a lot of infrastructure yet.” Cenovus is set to launch a second drilling program with the original prototype this May. “And we’re also working on building a second rig right now, which we’re hoping will be ready to go before the
end of the year,” added Wilkinson. SkyStrat is only one example of how Cenovus is using technological advances to be a responsible energy producer. “Technology is key when it comes to reducing our environmental impacts,” said Wilkinson. “We have more than 140 technology projects on the go right now,” she added, noting that the majority of those efforts concern reducing environmental impacts and improving efficiency in their operations. Winning the Environmental Performance Award for SkyStrat helps validate that work. “It’s definitely exciting, especially for the project team,” said Wilkinson. “They put their heart and souls into turning this rig into reality,” she continued. “It literally went from a whiteboard concept to an actual, physical rig in short of two years. So, it’s nice to give those guys the recognition that they deserve. “And the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards are a good opportunity for everyone in industry to get together, share some of the innovative things that everyone’s working on in a number of different categories. “It’s definitely something that we’re very proud of.”
Peers and stakeholders award industry players for strong performance cont’d from pg 11
Wood Stoves & Fireplaces
nominees included a pair of projects by Devon and Shell both using treated sewage water for their operations, as well as the winning project, the SkyStrat drilling rig developed by Cenovus. Canadian Natural Resources was nominated in that category for their efforts to reduce conflicts with bears in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta. A total of 145 bears has been euthanized in the area in 2011, but initiatives such as building fences, managing garbage bins, conducting bear awareness training and banning outdoor cooking and food consumption in high risk areas resulted in 215 bear sightings and zero incidents involving those animals in 2012. One of the nominated projects, the new natural gas processing plant in Dawson Creek owned and operated by ARC Resources, won the Chair’s Award on the strength of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. “It was based on business, climate change, environmental footprint implications,” Meakin said of the ARC Resources project. “Instead of having gas-fired equipment, it’s electrified [and] tied into the BC Hydro grid,” he added. “The outcome is that they’ve reduced GHG emissions and water use and all sorts of things quite substantially.” Social Performance Award nominees included PennWest Exploration’s response to the forest fires near Slave Lake, Alberta and Suncor’s award-winning contribution to the David Thompson Corridor Visitor Services Program, as well as two Encana programs, Horn River Basin Recycling and Race Against Hunger, which led to the natural gas producer earning the President’s Award. Many of the social projects simply involved quality stakeholder engagement. “If they feel engaged and empowered
in that discussion, it makes a huge difference,” said Meakin, adding that the program helps the industry prove its social license to operate. “Each year, we receive more and more positive feedback around the process that we have in place,” he continued. “As the criteria to win an award gets tougher and tougher, and the information around the project is more transparent, the credibility of it goes way up. And credibility is the first step towards getting social license.” Meakin suggested that the membership of the RCEAG also demonstrates the credibility of the program. ARC Resources’ new low-emissions natural gas plant in Dawson Creek took home the “They represent the not-for-profit secChair’s Award at the Responsible Canadian Energy Awards on March 20. It was one of five tor, finance, banking, labour,” Meakin said awards recognizing environmental, social and health and safety performance. of the RCEAG. ARC RESOURCES PHOTO “Legal as well.” members of the ten-person group that comments. And then we have a face-toThe membership is as diverse and also includes former Enbridge executive face meeting where, collectively, as a interesting as the nominated projects. Bonnie DuPont and Nature Conservancy group, they review all that information that The chair of the group is environmental of Canada president and chief executive I’ve compiled and consolidated. And then policy consultant Ken Ogilvie, who also they choose the award winners.” serves on the board of the Pembina Institute. officer John Lounds. “All pretty highly respected individuals The RCEAG received a record number Anne McLellan now has her fingers from across Canada,” said Meakin. “And of submissions this year with 33 nomiin the natural resources sector as a they are the ones who actually review all nated projects split evenly between the board member with Nexen, Agrium and of the submissions. We have a meeting in three categories. Cameco, after serving as Liberal MP for February and they submit their results to “Which has never happened before,” Edmonton Centre for just over twelve me. And I compile it all. said Meakin. years and holding various cabinet posts, “They provide comments. I put together “It was great because it made the job of including minister of natural resources a table with all their scoring and their judging more difficult.” and deputy prime minister. Cameron McGillivray is the president and chief executive Kingman, Blaze King, officer for the RSF Energy, Canadian Ardent Energy, Vehicle Rentals Sales Leasing upstream oil Valley Comfort, and gas inJotul, Hearthstone dustry safety • Up to 20 Hrs Burn Time • Heats up to 1500 sq.ft. association • 86.4% Eﬃcient known simply INTRODUCTORY PRICE 9415–100 Avenue, Fort St. John as Enform. only $2,395 They are www.drivingforce.ca Monday - Friday: 9am-6pm • Sat: 9am-5pm just three
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• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
ON THE ROAD AGAIN Transportation a tricky business in northern Canada james waterman Pipeline News North
When talk turns to transportation issues for the Canadian oil and gas industry, it isn’t all about navigating icy highways and muddy gravel roads, nor is it all about moving Alberta oil sands bitumen and shale gas from northeast British Columbia to market by any means necessary. Transportation issues in the natural resource sector of western Canada include everything from new roads to highway upgrades, railroads to air travel, labour movement to labour retention. One transportation problem found a solution this February with the announcement that WestJet would be serving Fort St. John, B.C. as of June of this year, but piecing together the rest of the transportation puzzle is still a work in progress. “That’s going to be huge for the service industry,” said Art Jarvis of Energy Services BC (ESBC), discussing the arrival
of WestJet in his hometown. “We have been lobbying for many years for a direct flight to Calgary,” he continued. “And so this is huge leaps and bounds in the right direction.” It isn’t just about the availability of flights for Fort St. John residents, but also the lower cost of flights to major centres such as Calgary and Vancouver compared to the ticket prices charged by Air Canada. Jarvis believes this will help the local oil and gas industry attract and retain employees in Fort St. John. “Not only will they have a better opportunity to get to the city or get to their relatives when they have time off, when they have a break,” said Jarvis, “but if they’re busy working, it has now become so economical for their … relatives to come and visit them.” It can also help the service sector in Fort St. John build important business relationships with oil and gas producers in Calgary. “It will be easier and less costly,”
said Jarvis. “You may actually be able to fly down in the morning and return that same day,” he added, explaining that attending meetings in Calgary could now be a one-day affair, not a two-day trip with a mandatory layover in Vancouver. There is a safety element as well. “There’s no doubt in my mind that WestJet coming to Fort St. John is going to ultimately save lives,” said Jarvis. “Because it’s going to take some of the automobile traffic off the highway between here and Grande Prairie, which is such a congested highway.” A lot of that traffic is large trucks. “It will save lives by taking people off of there,” he continued. “Because if you have to drive to Grande Prairie [early] in the morning, you may not be alert, or coming home after midnight, you may not be as alert.” Bill Streeper, the mayor of a Northern Rockies Region Municipality that includes the natural gas town of Fort Nelson, is similarly pleased with WestJet
choosing Fort St. John as one of their new destinations. “We do have a flight from here that does go to Fort St. John,” said Streeper, adding that the city isn’t too far to drive to catch a flight either. “We’re not restricted to the Air Canada world,” he continued. “We can now have the Air Canada world or we can have the WestJet world. Wherever we want to go.” Streeper is hopeful that Fort St. John is just the first step into northeast B.C. for the airline. “They’ll crawl before they run,” he said. “It may be long-term before anything changes in Fort Nelson,” said Jarvis. Jarvis also echoed Streeper’s view of the value of WestJet’s presence in Fort St. John to travelers from Fort Nelson. “It will enable people from Fort Nelson and remote areas outside of Fort St. John to drive as far as Fort St. John and catch a plane instead going all the way to Grande Prairie and catch a plane.” continued pg 27
Canada among top energy producers cont’d from pg 5 “Also, the success of the energy sector could result in further strengthening of the Canadian dollar,” he continued. “So, inflation and a stronger dollar could make it difficult for the manufacturing sector and other sectors outside of the energy resource sector. “You could have so much inflation, so much appreciation of the exchange rate, that you’d have a contraction of employment and economic activity in other sectors. So, the net effect could be less growth than otherwise and perhaps even negative growth. That’s not likely, but it’s a possibility. So, the government needs to act to make Canada as immune as possible from socalled Dutch Disease. And there’s different things they can do in regards to that.” The study outlines nine policy considerations to ensure that Canada benefits economically from its energy sector, not all of which are concerned with the specter of Dutch Disease. The authors suggest that governments leave energy investment decisions to the professionals, as the companies in that sector truly know and understand the markets, as well as the technologies. Governments are also warned against increasing spending along with increasing resource royalty revenues because those revenues tend to decline along with energy prices, which would put governments in a tight spot financially. A key consideration in terms of Dutch Disease is helping the manufacturing sector by encouraging technology investment and education in the fields of science and engineering so that those technologies
are best put to use. “There are a lot of opportunities around the world for manufacturing,” said Angevine. “One thing governments can do is to assist manufacturers to gain entry into the foreign markets,” he continued. “The main thing is to ensure that the manufacturing sector remains competitive with … other advanced economies. There you need some … policies in place to make investment in state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and equipment as attractive as possible. “It’s one thing to invest in new equipment, state-of-the-art equipment, but you’ve got to have people that are available to operate the equipment and help you deploy it to your advantage.” Another policy consideration in that vein in encouraging student enrollment in skilled trades that are necessary for both the energy and manufacturing sectors, as well as making it easier for skilled workers from other countries to bring their talents to Canada. Still, Angevine noted that Canada might not always be the ideal location for certain manufacturing sector enterprises. “Canada believes in free trade,” said Angevine. “Investors are free to locate plants where they can get the highest return [and] the most economic benefit in a global sense,” he continued. “If you force people to manufacture certain things in your own country when it’s not economic to do so, you’re not really benefiting anyone in the long-term. “We like to think that there are things that we could do to ensure that [Canada’s] manufacturing sector remains as
robust and competitive as possible. We’re not saying that the people constructing bitumen production facilities and upgraders have to buy Canadian components, but we like to think that the Canadian manufacturing sector [will start] to understand the requirements of the oil sands industry more. And look at opportunities to, for example, manufacture components, equipment, machinery and other things that are the needed in bitumen processing [and] upgrading. “In the end, those things will be produced where it’s most cost effective to do so.” Although Canada is climbing the ranks of energy producers worldwide, Angevine cautioned that Canada isn’t on the verge of becoming the top energy producer in the world, particularly with Russia poised to hang onto that title for the foreseeable future. “We’re one of the top and becoming more even more significant,” he said, adding that Canada sits in the top six worldwide. “We’re one of the major energy producers and we’ve got one heck of a potential given what we have in the oil sands and with the applications of new technologies.” Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been the key. The only problem is securing market access for the massive volumes of fuel Canada is extracting from unconventional resources such as the Alberta oil sands and shale gas reservoirs across Alberta and B.C. The report includes policy considerations around government assisting the energy sector in reaching foreign markets. “We have a huge potential and the market is there,” said Angevine.
“If we can’t build pipelines to the U.S., we will sooner or later build pipelines to one coast or both … to allow us to get oil to other countries,” he continued, alluding to projects such as TransCanada’s Keystone XL that would move Alberta oil to Texas refineries and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion that would transport that same commodity to export points on the B.C. coast in Kitimat and Vancouver, respectively. TransCanada is also looking at converting one of their natural gas pipelines to eastern Canada so that it can carry oil to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. Pipelines and liquefaction facilities that would allow the export of Canadian natural gas as LNG are also important. “Huge potential there,” said Angevine. “What’s critical is that those developments get put in place sooner rather than later so that we can establish a foothold in the LNG market in Southeast Asia.” Angevine understands why the government – and Canadians – might want to know their country as an energy superpower. “Maybe they want Canadians to realize that we could become super-something,” he said of the government. “Maybe the word super is appealing to some people,” he continued. “They’d like to think Canada is a super-something. And so then there are advantages to becoming that super-something because of the economic benefits. “Trying to put a positive spin on that to make people realize that we are on the brink of something positive – it’s good politics. It makes people feel good about their country.”
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
GET THE POINT
Little technology could be big for pipeline industry james waterman Pipeline News North Pipelines are a hot topic in Canada these days. Whether plans to ship Alberta oil sands bitumen to the west coast via Enbridge’s Northern Gateway or the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain, the east coast via reversed oil pipelines or repurposed natural gas pipelines, or Texas refineries via TransCanada’s Keystone XL, everybody seems to be talking about the potential social, economic and environmental impacts – both good and bad – of the most common and efficient mode of transporting oil in the world. Pipeline leaks and oil spills are top of mind after high profile incidents such as the Plains All American Pipeline spill near Rainbow Lake, Alberta in May, 2012 and the Enbridge pipeline leak into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River the previous year. “These types of spills are rare,” said Darin Barter of Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) at the time of the Rainbow Lake spill. Speaking during the Growing the North Conference in Grande Prairie, Alberta in late February of this year, Philippe Reicher of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) explained that the pipeline industry in Canada is about 99 per cent reliable, but the coverage of oil leaks and spills creates the impression that such incidents are extremely common. “Must be a systemic problem,” said Reicher, depicting the public reaction to media reports of pipeline accidents. Combating that perception and the factors that contribute to rare occurrences of pipeline leaks was behind CEPA’s decision to launch their Integrity First program aimed at improving the industry’s performance and how the sector engages with the general public. Quality of training and communication with the public are two key aspects of the initiative, particularly in terms of attracting, training and retaining a skilled workforce and maintaining and discussing pipeline integrity. Interestingly, a computer technology developed in Youngstown, Ohio is currently helping the Utah Pipeline Association tackle those same issues. That technology is TurningPoint by Turning Technologies. “We started our association in May of 2010,” Utah Pipeline Association chairman Clifton Tholl, explaining how his organization began using TurningPoint. Tholl had first heard about the system from Teresa McGrath of the Montana Liquid and Gas Pipeline Association. “And in 2011, we partnered with Blue Stakes of Utah, which is the one-call organization in the State of Utah, and we went together and bought the Turning Technologies,” said Tholl. TurningPoint makes presentations – such as PowerPoint presentations – interactive. “You download our software,” explained Ron Smrek, vice president of corporate and government sales at Turning Technologies. The presenter or instructor plugs a receiver into a USB port on their computer and the presentation participants, whether they be students or employees, are given clickers known as response cards. “The instructor can ask questions and get immediate results in real time on that presentation,” said Smrek. “PowerPoint, in its very nature, is rather passive,” he continued. “Bring it up. People sit back. Okay, I’m going to listen to an instructor talk for a while. Whereas here you imbed these questions into your presentation and you can ask various questions.”
Smrek noted that the product has become quite popular as a training tool in the oil and gas industry since the company emerged from a business incubator eleven years ago this January. Tholl has seen its value in other areas as well. “We got together to get our public awareness message out,” Tholl said of the Utah Pipeline Association. “In the past, when we we used to hold our public awareness meetings, we handed out a paper survey and we would go through a list of questions,” he continued. “And these folks would answer the questions. And then, after our twelve statewide meetings were over, I would sit down and literally spend forty man hours tabulating all the results from those paper surveys.” Pipeline operators in the United States are required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to show continuous improvement in their public awareness program. It is necessary to sift through all the data and develop a plan for ensuring the public understands the industry. “The problem with the paper surveys is, once I come up with that information, it’s too late,” said Tholl. “Those folks are long gone. I’m not going to see them again until next year. “I can’t correct the problem when they don’t understand the questions. With Turning Technologies, it’s real time. They answer the question as a group. The responses show up on the screen. If people are getting the
information wrong, we can correct it right there at that time with that group of people.” It can also be used for what Tholl calls tabletop scenarios. “Throughout that tabletop scenario, there are questions,” he explained. “Where would you place the boom? Where would your command post be? Those types of questions. “We can correct wrong responses at the time, rather than letting those folks go home not knowing whether they got it right or wrong. They know when they left there what the right answer is.” Tholl said the potential training applications are almost endless. “It gives you capability to get immediate results in real time,” said Smrek. “So, you can gauge the knowledge and retention level of the folks in the room right then and there. And so if you can see thirty per cent of the room isn’t getting the answers right, it’s time to revisit rather than just move on and assume they have it.” Smrek noted that he has seen the product at work throughout the oil and gas industry in anything from safety and compliance training to drilling rig orientation. “We have seen significant growth in that arena because there are more and more rules and regulations being put in place,” he said, adding that studies have shown that the use of response technology improves the level of material retention thirty days after the presentation by forty per cent versus traditional methods.
The Utah Pipeline Association is showing the value of the TurningPoint presentation technology as a training tool and a method of improving public awareness about the industry.
KINDER MORGAN PHOTO
• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
Fort St. John student identifies link between industry and invasive weeds cont’d from pg 7
“I wanted to figure out if the seeds from invasive plants travel in the dirt on vehicles,” Platzer said of the project. The young scientist was inspired by a story out of Texas about uncertainty around how invasive plants had infiltrated that state. “It got me thinking about how much dirt there really is on vehicles,” said Platzer. “Sometimes, when they pass you, they’re just covered. I thought it was very possible, since the seeds are so small and there’s so much dirt on them, that the seeds could easily get mixed up in there.” After waiting patiently through a particularly dry summer, Platzer finally had the necessary wet and rainy conditions through late September and early October to carry out her plan to visit the parking lots of five different companies and scrape dirt from the muddiest parts of the trucks into plastic bags. Over a period of just two weeks, Platzer found 948 potential seeds on just 51 trucks. “There’s a few things I think we should be doing,” she said of the problem. “I think we should have wash stations,” she continued. “It’s really simple. It’s just boards of wood. And vehicles just drive up. It’s just powered water. And they just wash off and then they drive away. And then somebody scoops out the dirt.” Platzer suggests such wash stations be
located at all provincial and national borders. “We should have them at weight scales because the trucks already have to stop.” Leverkus has long been advocating for a wash station on the Alaska Highway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, preferably at Pink Mountain. “Some of our best management practices include cleaning and washing equipment,” she said, adding that companies can set up their own wash stations. Workers should also try to avoid parking in areas infested with invasive plants. “The other thing is using native plants and knowing that sometimes you might not have to reseed an area,” said Leverkus. “Sometimes, the natural vegetation may be strong enough to come in by itself.” Wolfenden believes the industry is really starting to see the value of protecting against invasive plants. “At the beginning, I think it was just a lack of education or really understanding why it’s important to control these plants,” she said. “And I’ve definitely noticed, over the past couple years working up here, that there’s a lot more interest from industry to become active partners. “They really do value the work that we’re doing here. And there are some companies that are involved that have been involved developing this guidebook as well. That just shows how important this is becoming to companies and how seriously they’re starting to take it.”
Victoria Platzer, a Grade 7 student from Fort St. John, has proven that invasive plant seeds do travel in dirt on trucks used by the oil and gas industry in the Peace Region. Platzer suggests that large car washes for trucks and other equipment is the best solution to this noxious weed problem.
JAMES WATERMAN PHOTO
ArcTech Welding & Machining gets automated james waterman Pipeline News North ArcTech Welding and Machining is introducing the Peace Region to the new age of automated steel fabrication this spring. The company has added Voortman’s V808 coping system to its facilities at the north end of Fort St. John, becoming the first and only welding outfit in the area to offer the automated fabrication work that the machine can do. “This is a major investment of about $800,000 for the machine,” said Dean Thom of ArcTech. “There’s no company here in town that competes with us, that can do that type of investment.” The capabilities of this new equipment are impressive, not to mention a significant step forward in terms of efficiency. “It’s going to enable us to increase our volume that we produce to our customers. The time that it takes to produce product is going to be reduced. And, ultimately, once we find our feet, reduce our costs as well,” said Thom. “It cuts material to length, whether it be a square cut or an angle cut of any size,” he continued. “It will cut holes in any face of steel, whether it be vertical or horizontal or an incline face. It will cope or cut a section of something out. It will mark an item with an actual assembly mark that is recognized onsite for erection purposes. It will mark where things need to be welded.” The plan has also meant adding an extension to their existing facility.
Installation of a Voortman V808 coping system at ArcTech Welding & Machining this winter. The machine will help ArcTech improve their capabilities and efficiency.
JAMES WATERMAN PHOTO
“We’ve been talking about this since January, 2011,” said Thom. “All of the owners had to agree that they wanted to move in that direction,” he continued. “Once that decision was made, then [we had to] decide what product or machine we were going to use. We looked at three, but only two seriously. One of them was a Canadian-based company from Ontario. And then the other one was a company from Holland, being Voortman. “And we decided to use Voortman because that company provided us with the … capability so that we can physically cut a piece of square tubing on all four faces,
whereas the Canadian product would only cut on three.” The decision to carry through with the plan was ultimately based on the projected need for steel work in northeast British Columbia. “The demand was what we could see coming down the pipe with the oil and gas industry up here,” Thom explained. “And then also adding onto the hydro side of things with the proposed Site C dam. “Having this installed also opens up other markets to us,” he added. “Basically, processing of steel work for other companies that don’t have the luxury of going out to buy a piece of equipment like this.”
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
Improved air and road travel critical to resource sector success Considering the projected natural gas industry activity in the three shale gas plays near Fort Nelson – Horn River Basin, Liard Basin and Cordova Embayment – that is expected to increase with the growth of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) business in the province, Fort Nelson could be on WestJet’s radar. After all, Jarvis believes LNG played a role in their decision to move to Fort St. John. Dan Dibbelt, executive director of the Northwest Corridor Development Corporation (NCDC), still has concerns about air travel in B.C. and Alberta, however. “The Northwest Corridor Development Corporation has been around for about fifteen years now,” said Dibbelt, explaining that the organization grew out of a report released in 1997 that discussed issues around moving natural resource commodities through the Port of Prince Rupert. NCDC members include provincial government representatives in Alberta, as well municipal governments in B.C. and Alberta, and industry partners such as CN Rail. “The role is to advocate for transportation corridors in the north,” said Dibbelt. “I don’t just mean roads and rail,” he added. “That includes air. It includes pipelines. It includes water. Communications. Anything like that.” Dibbelt is based in Grande Prairie, Alberta, where WestJet has already offered low cost flights to Calgary for some time. The challenge facing Dibbelt concerns traveling to points in a northwest B.C. region that is becoming so important with the recent resurgence in the provincial mining industry and the prospect of exporting both Alberta oil sands bitumen and British Columbian LNG from communities such as Kitimat and Prince Rupert. “In my case, I have to stay overnight in either Vancouver or Edmonton,” he said, describing the process of traveling from Grande Prairie to Terrace for the Minerals North Conference this April. That is also an issue for labour that might be traveling from that corner of the province to work in the natural resource sector of northeast B.C. and Alberta. “If they’re already spending two days just commuting back and forth to get to work, that’s a bit of a challenge,” said Dibbelt. Air travel woes are an ages old story in northern B.C. and northern Alberta. “I used to live in Peace River,” said Dibbelt. “I used to work for the Government of Alberta. And we had a small commuter plane.” Round trip flights to Edmonton were $750 for what is a five-hour drive each way. Dibbelt said the other option was driving for two hours to get to Grande Prairie and fly either WestJet or Air Canada to Edmonton, a journey that would ultimately take five hours as well. NCDC is working with the airports in Grande Prairie and Terrace to hold a symposium to discuss such air travel issues
this May. Dibbelt is hopeful that Prince being proposed by G7G would create Rupert, Prince George, Peace River and a corridor between Fort McMurray and other airports will also get involved. Peace River. “And with that we’re advocating for “What that would potentially develop is Grande Prairie to be declared a port, a road that would lead from Fort McMurwhich would allow them to have customs ray to Peace River,” said Dibbelt. services in Grande Prairie,” he said. “Right now, to get from the Peace River Grande Prairie would be able to accept area to Fort McMurray is about a seven to international flights in that case. eight hour drive. The drive is completely “That’s a major issue when you’re tryon two lane highways.” ing to do labour attraction,” said Dibbelt. That road is commonly full of transports “Northern B.C. and northern Alberta and logging trucks. both suffer from a huge challenge when “It can be a bit harrowing at times,” it comes to attracting professionals like said Dibbelt. doctors, lawyers, engineers – whoever it Dibbelt added that road transportation might be,” he continued. is an even bigger problem in northeast “If they can live in a community that’s B.C., particularly because of the number a couple hours from an airport that has of windy, two-lane highways. border services, then they know, if they “Alberta is far more connected than want to go to Vegas for the weekend northern B.C.,” he continued. or Mexico for the weekend or Phoenix, One highway project that NCDC has it’s a direct flight. So, they don’t have to long supported is a direct route between worry about getting to Prince George or Fort Nelson and Rainbow Lake, B.C. Vancouver or Edmonton. They can get a “Right now, Rainbow Lake’s kind of like direct flight. the end of the road,” said Dibbelt. “This “It’s also an advantage for industry,” would be connecting two municipalities.” he added. The idea is that it would improve the “If they’re shipping products in, they movement of labour as well as products. don’t have to go through customs else“As an example,” Dibbelt continued, where. We can bring them right into a city “in the High Level area, if they want to like Grande Prairie.” get something by rail to the coast, they When it comes to transportation probhave to go all the way to Edmonton lems affecting small communities in the first. And that’s approximately eight north, the solutions must include both air hours by road.” and road travel, according to Dibbelt. The trip is much longer by railroad. “It isn’t just about economic develop“If we can get it to Fort Nelson and get ment,” said Dibbelt. “When you’re lookit onto rail through there, it would actually ing at some of our communities, access expedite the shipment of goods.” to and from is challenging. And in the However, the idea is a perfect examevent of a major fire, like what happened ple of how municipalities on either side in Slave Lake last year in Alberta, ensurof the Alberta-B.C. border don’t always ing that there’s good road access so see eye-to-eye. people can safely leave the community “I do not see any advantage at all to is important.” having a route between us and Rainbow Dibbelt recalls a discussion with an Lake,” said Streeper. individual who lives in Comox on Van“I can’t see where our economy would couver Island, but works in the natural benefit anything from it at all,” he continresource sector in Tumbler Ridge, just ued, suggesting that the opposite would southwest of Dawson Creek. actually be true if business was slow in “He has to fly in,” said Dibbelt. “It’s a the oil patch on the Alberta side, as Alchallenge for him because he has to fly berta drilling rigs and workers would likely from Comox to Vancouver to Edmonton just move into northeast B.C. to Grande Prairie, where he gets in a car “The only proposal I will look at and and then drives to Tumbler Ridge. will study and will want to discuss is “The improvement of road corridors is something that’s going to bring B.C. and also beneficial because it ensures that we northeastern B.C. ahead.” can get our labour in and out.” Streeper holds a similar view of a That concern likely played a role in proposal by an organization of oil and NCDC offering their support to a plan by gas companies known as the Horn River a group known as Generating for Seven Basin Producers Group to build a new Generations (G7G) to ship crude from road that would offer direct access into the oil sands near Fort McMurray to Alaska by railroad. “We’ve For information on Membership met with G7G and we’ve supplied them a letter of support for their contact Art Jarvis, Executive Director initiative,” for contact information see said Dibbelt. www.energyservicesbc.org The route R001424280
cont’d from pg 24
the basin from Fort Nelson. “To make a road that’s in there faster to cut the travel time down for truckers … is a good idea as long as it’s British Columbia truckers,” said Streeper. “I said, ‘If you are supporting out of province truckers, I do not support your road.’ I said, ‘A B.C. road paid for in B.C. … is a good road to build as long as it’s for B.C. trucks.” Jarvis has his own concerns about road transportation in northeast B.C. The crux of the issue is that the natural gas producers are urging the service sector to move larger pieces of equipment in single loads, instead of breaking that equipment down into smaller loads. The service sector has trouble keeping pace because of the cost and availability of equipment necessary to perform those tasks. “It’s hard on the infrastructure,” added Jarvis, referring to the damage to roads associated with transporting such large weights. “That is an issue that has been brought up to us by some trucking companies,” he continued. “That they’re being pressured to move these big loads. Instead of taking more trips, they’re expected to [do fewer] trips, bigger loads.” The solution is simple. “Break these loads down and haul a reasonable weight and size on each unit,” said Jarvis. “We’ve got more axles now on the ground than we’ve ever had before. Every decade, we’re moving larger loads for around the same or maybe even less money per pound. The service industry is buying and developing the best equipment they possibly can, but that equipment has to get X amount of hours per year in order to justify owning it.” Jarvis is concerned that valuable members of the local service sector could disappear as a result, particularly if the cost of new equipment drives up the cost of services, and the producers choose to use lower-cost alternatives from Alberta instead of trucking companies located in northeast B.C. “We’ve seen it before when the oil companies come here and everything’s stretched to the max because we don’t have the services that we did a decade prior,” said Jarvis. “We need all these companies to flourish here.”
• PIPELINE NEWS NORTH
APRIL 19, 2013
profiles New ideas the secret to Shell’s success at Groundbirch cont’d from pg 8 of our producing wells,” he explained. “We recycle all of our water. So, a water molecule might be reused many, many different times.” Fracturing is also performed in a cyclical manner so that Shell isn’t stimulating their wells on a daily basis, which means that the demand for water to pump into wells isn’t constant. Recycled water is only the base load. The rest of the water required comes from the Dawson Creek Reclaimed Water Project, a joint venture between Shell and the City of Dawson Creek that allows the company to use wastewater from a sewage treatment facility for hydraulic fracturing at Groundbirch. “Pipeline and pumps,” said Tetrault, explaining how Shell ensures that sufficient water is available for completions when the handful of storage tanks at the site doesn’t hold enough water for the full operation and not a single water truck can be found at the location at any time during the process. “At our water hubs, where all our water gets recycled and collected, we have pumps,” he continued. “And our water gets pumped from those water hubs – it can be 20 or 30 kilometres in underground water pipelines – to those locations. You don’t have to actually physically have a truck haul that water.” Determining when to pump water from the storage tanks for the actual fracturing and when to pump water into the storage tanks from the water hub for use later in the operation is one of the most complex parts of the complex orchestra. The circumstances around adding sand into the mix are similarly complex. “When do you need to top with sand?” said Tetrault. “And it needs to be carefully orchestrated so that you’re very, very efficient,” he added. “We’ve come a long ways, but we still have more opportunity to make our process even more efficient.” It is all about innovation, and sand management is one of those areas where new ideas are improving the process. “When you’re offloading sand, you get a lot of dust, which is why the workers in that area were wearing those dust masks,” said Tetrault. “Very fine dust,” he continued. “Very fine mesh sand. And it was as simple as a question to the right person: Wouldn’t it be great if somebody had a dustless system?” Calfrac Well Services, a company that performs the hydraulic fracturing operations for Shell at Groundbirch, has played a significant role in improving the sand storage and delivery facet of the process. “Silicate dust … has really become a huge occupational health and safety concern with employees,” said Gene Dallas, divisional operations manager for the northern region with Calfrac. Depending on weather conditions, dust can be a problem for the entire job site,
but Calfrac has developed a system to reduce dust considerably. “Older-style equipment has a lot more agitation, typically,” said Dallas, noting that the traditional method of moving sand was pneumatically with an apparatus known as an air can. “When you introduce air and pressure and all that stuff, sand dust is usually apparent,” he continued. The new system not only reduces dust, but also the noise associated with the blower used to unload sand from the truck. “The decibel readings on those units are huge,” said Dallas. “Actually, now, when we’re out there, the only thing you hear is the engines.” Calfrac now unloads sand using their Telebelt equipment. The efficient technology can unload three or four tonnes of sand per minute whereas an air can unloads sand at a rate of just half a tonne per minute. “We’re reducing the time on location for sand trucks,” said Dallas. It helps the operation run more smoothly overall. “Some of these jobs, we’re pumping a huge amount of sand,” he continued, noting that those volumes of sand can be as large as 20 trucks with 30 tonnes of sand per truck. “If you can’t unload more than one at a time, then you’re going to be behind the 8-Ball.” The sand travels from the delivery trucks to large storage trailers known as sand masters in the Calfrac dictionary. The sand masters can hold up to 170 tonnes of proppant, which can be divided into different compartments to allow for storage and measurement of different proppants. Sand moves from the sand master to another belt that transports it to a blender. The blender contains an auger that mixes the sand into the fracturing fluids. “Any time you have a change of direction or [you are] going from one sand master to the belt, there’s a dust issue,” said Dallas. That is one of the reasons Calfrac now uses another unit known as Sand Storm. “There’s lots of advantages,” Dallas said of the technology. “There’s a weight scale on the unit so, when you fill the unit up, you know exactly how much sand is in it,” he added. “If you need to pump just so much sand, you can go off the weight scale.” Other methods involved estimating the volume of sand to use based only on a visual. “The whole system is enclosed,” Dallas continued. “It comes out of that Sand Storm onto a belt. That belt is all sealed up. And then it goes to the blender. So, if there’s high winds, there’s no dust coming out of it. The only dust you’re going to see is right at the blender where it comes out of that belt and into the hopper of the blender. “That’s the only dust you’re going to see.” That fine sand isn’t the only proppant
that goes into the well. “We’ll pump just regular, natural sand,” said Tetrault. “And at the end of the frack, we’ll pump our resin-coated proppant. And it’s a ceramic proppant, which is manmade material. “It’s the last bit of sand that goes into the reservoir,” he continued. “And the reason we do that is that, when we flow the wells back, the resin-coated proppant tends to stick together. It almost forms a bit of a glue to keep the sand in place. “You’ve just invested all this energy to put the sand there. You want to keep it there.” Tetrault admits that many of the new ideas and new technologies at work at Groundbirch exist not because Shell is constantly innovating, but because Shell put the questions to their suppliers and service providers, and it was those companies that found the solutions. “They’re innovating new technologies to suit the business,” he said. The example of sand management is one that Tetrault uses to explain the true importance of industry innovation. “That actually helps worker safety onsite, because now it’s not dusty in that location,” he said. “A lot of the innovations that are out there help us with cost,” he continued, “because it potentially could be an opportunity to make a process more efficient or quicker. Or might also help with quality. “I look at innovation helping improve safety, cost and also quality. And you can get all three by combining different technologies or different innovations. The key there is that we do it together by working with our service providers.” Tetrault believes the companies that innovate to address those three factors will be the companies that really prosper in the future. “And that will help the community,” he said, “because demand for their product or their services will increase.” The innovative nature of the industry is not as well known among the general public as Tetrault would want it to be. “It is very dynamic,” Tetrault said of the energy sector. “What excites me about this job is, as I go to different locations and I watch our business, I continue to see these innovative projects and these new companies popping up to suit different needs,” he added. “And it’s exciting to see entrepreneurs. I think, in the next ten to twenty years, we’ll see businesses here that weren’t here before, servicing needs and helping the industry grow.” The necessary ingredient is a culture of allowing failure in the interest of innovation. “Allowing people to try different things,” said Tetrault. “So,” he continued, “I’m going to take a chance on a new technology that we hope might improve our quality, but maybe it doesn’t work. And we have to be content with it failing. But you’ve got to try different things.” Tetrault thinks that culture is growing
with an influx of young people into the industry who tend to question and challenge the tried and true practices. That also comes with new staff from different parts of the country and different parts of the world. “That’s the opportunity for the North Peace,” said Tetrault. “Combine some of that diversity and those different ideas to come up with different solutions to improve the businesses.” Although new ideas are strongly encouraged at Groundbirch, successful completion of the daily business still hinges on careful planning and consistency. “The key advantage to our business is that it’s a manufacturing business,” said Tetrault. Consistency in a manufacturing setting such as the natural gas production model at Groundbirch allows workers to achieve a high level of proficiency at a task very quickly because the process remains the same from day to day. “Consistency of those tasks is important, which is why we sequence our activities in particular ways,” said Tetrault. Tetrault uses drilling surfaces holes as an example of what consistency can bring to an operation. “The rig … might drill eight surface holes in a row,” he explained. “And by that seventh or eighth one, they’ve learned something about that particular location and they’ve improved even in that one small part of the asset. “It’s upfront planning and letting the team focus on executing the work.” One danger of consistency can be complacency among the workers. “Complacency is something you always have to be concerned about,” said Tetrault, noting that complacency can lead to incidents that could cause injury to onsite personnel. “You combat complacency by giving a variety of different challenges,” he added. “And you also encourage and motivate the team to come up with new ways and more creative ways of doing the work.” That idea should even apply to new staff. “You need to make sure that worker feels empowered to share their idea and that it will be heard.” Tetrault is proud of what his team has accomplished at Groundbirch to date. “I feel that we’re building … an important business in the region,” he said. “I’m proud of the team that we’ve built – we’ve got some really excellent people working for us right now. I’m proud of our office. I’m proud of the relationships that we’ve formed with our many different stakeholders.” Part of that pride comes from his team openly talking about the natural gas industry and the Groundbirch project with the public. “That’s extremely important to me,” said Tetrault. “I want people to be just as proud of our business as I am. And I can only do that by sharing the goods things that I think that we’re doing with others. “And communication is key in all that.”
APRIL 19, 2013
PIPELINE NEWS NORTH •
Community involvement key to earning social license
cont’d from pg 10 differences between the old days of purely conventional oil and gas development and the new age of unconventional resources is all about intensity. “I grew up in a conventional gas field,” he said, noting that those activities would typically feature a month of drilling and a few additional weeks to perform the completions operations, the site connected to pipeline infrastructure within three or four months of the start date. After that point, residents would only see an individual operator visiting the well once or twice a week. “You would wave and talk to the operator when he came by every few days to check the well,” said Lieverse. “Unconventional is quite different,” he continued. “Because now we set up a larger pad. We don’t drill one well. We quite often drill groups of four. And we might drill as many as 24 wells off of one pad. “Even coming in to drill a group of four, we’re there for four months with the drilling rig, we’re there for another two months with the completions activities, and then building the facilities. And then we’re going to come back two, three years down the road and do it all over again. So, the level of activity, the number of pick-ups, the amount of traffic, is just so much higher. “The intensity’s a lot higher and the longevity of the project is that much more.” That explains why one of the most frequently asked questions in the community concerns how long the producer will be working at that site. “Conventional wells – most of them were fracked too,” said Lieverse. “But the frack sizes were smaller and it was only one frack. Now when we come onto a site and do a horizontal leg of three kilometers, we might do anywhere from ten to twenty, maybe even up to thirty fracks, just on that one wellbore.” Lieverse suggested that the thirst for knowledge of the industry is at an all time high, but he also noted that that information is now easier to obtain than ever. “Sit down at a computer for ten minutes and type in the word frack,” he said. “Type in the word drilling or unconventional. And you can just find oodles of information. People are a lot more knowledgeable. And access to knowledge is a whole lot different. “There’s two sides to every story,” he continued. “They also want to talk to somebody face-to-face.” That is particularly the case when residents hear stories out of shale gas regions in the United States such as Pennsylvania and New York where a great deal of the media coverage has been fairly negative. Lieverse said those individuals want to know how those experiences in other jurisdictions compare to the reality in northeast B.C. “We can’t control the misinformation,” he cautioned. “We can make sure there is true information and hope that, when people are searching, they will look at the whole picture, not just one side. We also make people like myself available for the general public to call and get the full picture.” Harris suggested that the reality of the oil sands just isn’t very interesting to the average citizen watching the evening news or reading the daily newspaper. “If you take a picture of one of our oil sands operations, it looks pretty boring,” he explained. “And for us, boring is great. But it doesn’t sell stories. So, that’s part of the problem. And I’m not blaming anybody for that. I’m just saying that’s a challenge for us.” A big part of that challenge is the fact that the oil and gas industry becomes a greater mystery to many Canadians the farther they live from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. “People who live in Alberta have a much greater understanding of what’s going on in the oil and gas sector,” said Harris. “Across the country, that drops off pretty dramatically. And then across the continent, it drops off even more. And so what they hear is what they hear in the news, which tends to be the information provided to them by oil sands critics who don’t really have an interest in getting the whole story out there.
“That’s the biggest challenge.” Harris and his colleagues prefer a proactive approach to the problem. “We have a pretty robust communications process,” he said. One aspect of that process is advertising in venues where oil sands producers rarely think to tread, including movie theatres and magazines along the lines of Chatelaine. “Where you wouldn’t typically see an oil sands company advertising,” said Harris. “And we’ve gotten pretty good feedback from those.” It is all in the interest of making sure all Canadians know what Cenovus and its employees do every day. “When we’ve got stories, we don’t just sit back and let people call us,” he continued. “We have a good relationship with the media and we give people a call. “You have to do this from an investor relations point of view as well. People across Canada own shares in Cenovus. They don’t necessarily – outside of Alberta – know that much about what we do. So, you also need to constantly be letting your investors know what is really going on, as opposed to what they’re hearing in the news. “We try to make ourselves as available as possible, whether that’s to journalists or to people who call in. And we have a lot of that information up on our website.” Cenovus also routinely schedules site tours for individuals such as journalists and government officials so that they can get a firsthand look at oil sands production in action. “That really seems to have the biggest impact,” said Harris. “It’s tough because you can only take a handful of people at a time. But we do a lot of tours. And I’ve never done a tour yet where people don’t come out saying, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that.’” Lawrence indicated that there has been a big shift in how oil and gas companies spread their message about the good work they do as energy producers and community members. “Companies take a more active role in communities,” he said, noting that companies no longer simply sign cheques for community programs. “The money is still behind the programming, but you’re really seeing companies participate more in events,” he continued. When Quicksilver was approached by a school in Fort Liard, Northwest Territories for funding to transform a vacant room into a woodworking shop, the company not only paid for the necessary equipment, but also supplied wood from trees cut down at their worksites and subsequently purchased items produced by the woodworking students at the school. “Now they have a little business going,” said Lawrence. Quicksilver and Encana have also participated in a Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) program known as Energy in Action. That program helps elementary school students learns about energy production and conservation, as well as environmental stewardship. “That’s a great way for us to start to show some of our young people some of what we do in the oil and gas industry,” said Lieverse. Cenovus recently had an interesting community involvement idea when they were moving into their new Calgary office. GAS LINK INDUSTRIES LTD. Facility Construction Company Has an immediate opening in Fort St. John for a PROJECT MANAGER
“We had a whole bunch of surplus furniture,” said Harris. So, the company set up a display of their furniture and computers, allowing non-profit organizations apply to receive some of that merchandise. “From a community relations standpoint, we’re in pretty good stead,” said Harris. “Obviously,” he continued, “it’s not something you do once and then just walk away from. It’s a constant commitment. I think one of the things that helps for us is that … our local community relations advisors live in the communities where we operate, as do many of our workers. “I think the biggest challenge is on the environmental front. And it’s really just trying to counter a lot of the misinformation out there that’s being spread. That’s the biggest challenge, is really getting the facts out and telling people what’s actually happening on the ground.” Lieverse believes honest dialogue is always beneficial. “Last month, we did a couple of community information sessions where we talked specifically to what our plans look like over the next couple years,” he said. “We had an information session in Farmington and one in Arras. “We can talk about how we drill our wells, where some of our planned projects are going to be over the next few years.” “Your goal shouldn’t be to have everyone love you,” said Lawrence. “Because you’re never going to get that. There’s people that are going to hate you and there’s people that are going to love you. I think the goal for social license, in my view, is to get the people that are undecided or that have a genuine interest in knowing the right information – the correct information. And providing that information. And then having them give you the thumbs up. “You have people that call you that want you to drill on their lands. Then you have people that say, ‘I don’t ever want to see you.’ But it’s the people in the middle – I think those are the torchbearers for the social license. Those are the ones holding the scepter saying, ‘I grant you permission to operate in our community because you are an ethically sound company and you listen to this community.’” “It really comes down to your corporate culture and what’s important to you,” said Harris. “It’s really about being part of the community,” said Lieverse. “And being accepted as being part of the community.”
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Must have valid class 5 drivers license, also have or be willing to obtain H2S ticket. Looking for someone that has plenty of experience using airless spray equipment and is familiar with epoxy coating internal linings in tanks, vessels, buried pipe etc. Excellent wages & perks! Contact us TODAY! Apply with resume, to 9905-85 Avenue, Fort St. John, BC Call 1-250-262-4455 for an appointment or fax resume to 250-262-4457.
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APRIL 19, 2013
Enform-HR Council merger expected to benefit industry
cont’d from pg 9
she added. “The Human Resource Council was determined that Funding challenges necessitated the move. it would be a better fit if it was a part of Enform,” said “The Petroleum Human Resources Council had a McGillivray, adding that such a merger had been considlarge amount of its core base funding that came from the ered in the past as well. federal government,” said Scholz. “It had been looked at a number of times as a good However, the government had chosen to remove fit,” he continued. “And I think now was just a timely the funding from the Council and a handful of other manner in which to do it.” similar organizations. McGillivray noted that “So, it was a move that reuncertainty around funding is ally needed to happen in or“We are becoming a more one of the biggest challenges der for the industry to sustain facing any small non-profit some of the really important focused organization.” organization. pieces of business that [the “If the nature of the funding Council] did,” he continued. changes, that exposes you to “And so, as a member of – Cheryl Knight, the board of directors for En- Petroleum Human Resources Council challenges to survive and keep going,” he said. form, we said, ‘Look, there’s “By bringing it in under elements of the Petroleum Enform, we have some things that we can share in HR Council that we want to preserve because they terms of support services,” he continued, adding that are extremely important.’ And so we basically sat those services range from human resources to mardown with [executive director of the Council] Cheryl keting and communications. Knight and her team and put together an acquisi“We can share those systems and benefit the former ortion of assets and a merger proposition. And it was ganization as well as this new organization,” he concluded. received well. And now the organization is moving as The new organization should feel very familiar for a single entity.” those on both sides, particularly with Knight remaining “This is a positive initiative for Canada’s oil and gas as executive director of the Council segment of the new industry,” said Knight. entity and McGillivray continuing to lead Enform, includ“We are becoming a more focused organization,” R001424278
Working with industry to help eliminate work-related incidents and injuries Enform is the safety association for Canada’s upstream oil and gas industry. Established by industry for industry, Enform helps companies achieve their safety goals by promoting shared safety practices and by providing: » Effective training, including courses on general and operational safety programs and petroleum fundamentals » Expert audit services » Professional advice Our vision is no work-related incidents or injuries in the upstream oil and gas industry. Contact Enform today for more information.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Fort St. John 250.785.6009 Toll-free Toll-free 1.855.436.3676 (855.4ENFORM) Email email@example.com Fort St. John 250.785.6009 1.800.667.5557 www.enformbc.ca www.enformbc.ca
ing its new labour market department. “There will be some transitional growing pains as what was two organizations form into one,” said Scholz. “Although I don’t think it’s going to be that significant just because of the fact that the Petroleum HR Council actually was in the same office building as Enform. Actually, Enform rented the space out to the [Council]. The faces are all the same. It’s not like they’re going into an entirely new organization. I think that certainly will help with the transition.” “We’ve been doing some work with the Human Resources Council for the past several years,” said McGillivray. That collaboration includes Enform training industry experts on how to assess the skills required for occupations and careers identified by the Council as areas of high demand. “Also understanding the nature of the labour force that we’ll be looking at as we move forward and the quantity of labour that we need,” he continued. “It helps us to think about new challenges that we may face in training those individuals. “For example, we work with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS), largely with new immigrants coming into the workforce, and help them with some of their training. So, this is something that we do and have done. “This [merger] just completes it in the sense of giving us a better understanding of those needs.”
APRIL 19, 2013
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Northern British Columbia and Alberta’s Oil and Gas Industry •
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