JOC ARCHIVES

October 3, 2012

Contracts lead to recruitment drive

A Quebec-based structural steel contractor is hiring new employees after being awarded two new major contracts, including an oilsands project in Alberta and a major hydroelectric project in Ontario.

“I am challenging job seekers, who are looking for a rewarding career and good working conditions,” said Jean-François Blouin, Supermétal president and general manager.

“Due to our sustained growth in Western Canada, we need more office and plant employees, in particular welders and fitters in Sherbrooke and Québec City.”

Supermétal was recently awarded a contract to build the structural steel supporting Phase 2 of the Horizon oilsands facility in Fort McMurray, which is owned by Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL).

The contract requires the supply of 4,500 tons of structural steel for various buildings, in order to satisfy the production increase of synthetic oil to 250,000 barrels per day (BB/d) from the current 125,000.

Production was reduced in 2011 as a result of an explosion and ensuing fire in the coker unit in primary upgrading that occurred on Jan. 6, 2011.

The incident forced CNRL to shut down production of synthetic crude oil for several months.

Full production didn’t resume until the third quarter of 2011.

The company attributed the fire to an error in a valve opening at the top of a coking drum.

As part of CNRL’s staged expansion to 250,000 barrels per day, the board of directors initially planned capital expenditures of about $2 billion for 2012.

The execution strategy for the expansion has been broken down into smaller, more focused projects to allow for greater capital flexibility and increased access to a greater depth of contractors.

As of June 30, several lump sum contracts were awarded and projects under construction were coming in below cost estimates.

At this time, the 2012 project capital for Horizon was reduced by $330 million to $1.55 billion.

The decrease is a result of overall cost reductions and strategic deferrals to achieve greater cost certainty.

In Ontario, Supermétal was awarded a contract to fabricate and install structural steel for the third production unit of the Kipling and Harmon River dams.

Each dam already has two units.

Harnessed to the Mattagami River, their capacity will be increased to 235 MW from 156 and 140 MW respectively.

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