PLCAC Celebrates Accomplishments, Bright Future

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The Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC) recently held its 55th annual convention at the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel located along the scenic inner harbor of Victoria, BC, Canada. The convention welcomed 280 attendees who enjoyed informative business sessions, fun activities and entertaining evening events.

Highlights included a traditional salmon barbeque and logging show, a M*A*S*H Bash themed around the movie and hit television show, and a gala featuring the PreTenors, with performances by celebrity impersonators Luciano Paparazzi, Placebo Domingo and Jose Whocarras.

Among the speakers was Mel Johnson, project director for TransCanada’s Alaska Pipeline Project. Johnson presented a project overview including historical and background information, project scope, timelines, projected costs, what the project will mean in terms of resources – people, equipment and materials, and what to expect for communication and interaction through the project milestones.

Outgoing PLCAC President Ted Shipka presided over convention activities. New PLCAC officers for 2009 – 10 are: President Teri McKibbon, CEO of Aecon Infrastructure Group; 1st Vice President Kevin W. Waschuk, vice president of Waschuk Pipe Line Construction Ltd.; 2nd Vice President Nick J. deKoning, president of Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited; Treasurer David L. Kavanaugh, president of O.J.Pipelines Canada; Immediate Past President Edward L. Shipka, president of Triple Random Inc.; and Executive Director Barry L. Brown.

Directors include : Donald Cusack, vice president marketing, Premay Pipeline Hauling L.P.; Richard J. Delaney, president, The Link-Line Group of Companies; David W. Johnstone, president, T.W. Johnstone Company Limited; and Michael R. Prior, vice president and general manager, Michels Canada.

Associate directors are: David M. Douglas, manager of Canadian Pipeline Division of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (Canada) Ltd.; and Bernard G. Lailey, National Pipeline Manager, Acklands-Grainger Inc.

In 2008 the association added three regular members (Phillips and Jordan, Knoxville, TN; Pipeline Induction Heat Limited of Burnley, UK; and Rebel Transport of Edmonton, Alberta), and eight associate members (AUT Specialists, Pasadena, TX; Garnett Wood Products Company of West Plains, MO; Hammerhead, Oconomowoc, WI; Hex-Hut Shelter Systems, Calgary, Alberta; McFarland Cascade, Tacoma, WA; Orion Inspection Academy, Chatham, Ontario; Vacuworx International, Tulsa, OK; and Worldwide Machinery Pipeline Division, Houston, TX).

Also during the past year, representatives from both the mainline and distribution negotiating committees completed negotiations for renewal of the Pipeline Maintenance and Service Agreement for Canada with the four pipeline craft unions.

President’s Address
In addressing the membership, Shipka pointed out that “the past two years have been an extremely busy period for the Canadian pipeline construction industry. Most of this has been the construction of larger diameter crude oil pipelines. From 2006 through this past winter we were involved in the construction of approximately 4,810 kilometers of pipeline ranging in size from 16 through 42-inch diameter.

“In 2008 alone,” he continued “PLCAC members reported a total of 7.04 million man-hours worked on pipeline projects in Canada. Our contractors installing gas distribution systems worked a record 1.83 million man-hours during 2008. On the mainline construction side, our members worked 5.21 million man-hours, which was the second highest recorded number of man-hours ever worked in the history of our Association.”

Shipka emphasized that “the amount of work performed in 2008 was a tremendous accomplishment – by both our contractor members – and their partners, the four pipeline craft unions. This was achieved at a time when there was a critical shortage of skilled construction workers throughout Canada necessitating the aggressive recruitment and training of many first time workers to our industry.”

He added that the “work picture for 2009 in the Canadian pipeline industry remains strong. In terms of gas distribution construction work, while the volume of activity in 2009 may not reach the record level attained in 2008, it appears that the majority of the work which may be foregone as a result of a slowdown in residential housing construction will be largely off-set by an increased focus on utility maintenance projects.

“In terms of mainline construction activity, several major mainline spreads will be working this summer and next winter – the Enbridge Alberta Clipper this summer and the TransCanada North Central Corridor next winter. There are some mainline gas pipeline projects in northern BC that are coming out for tender shortly. In addition, our clients have a number of other projects that are continuing to proceed through the pre-construction planning phase in both eastern and western Canada,” Shipka said.

The 2010 convention will be held June 6 – 10, at the Sheraton Hotel in St John’s, Newfoundland.

Despite Near Record Hours Worked, Safety Excels For PLCAC Members

In 2008, the contractor members of the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada reported over 7 million man hours worked on pipeline construction projects in Canada, the second highest level on record. This was achieved at a time when there was a critical shortage of skilled construction workers necessitating the aggressive recruitment and training of many first time workers.

During this period over 60 percent of the members recorded zero lost-time injuries. In addition, it was the lowest level of lost-time injuries ever recorded by the PLCAC members. The Association annually recognizes contractor member companies who have distinguished themselves in respect to exemplary safety performance based on lowest lost-time accident frequency rates and safety records through the James L. Abraham Pipeline Construction Safety Awards Program.

The Safety Awards winners for 2008 were: Mainline – Waschuk Pipe Line Construction Ltd. (Also with zero lost-time accidents in this category were Aecon Infrastructure Group, Michels Canada Company and Robert B. Somerville Co. Ltd.); Distribution – Link-Line Contractors Ltd. (Also with zero lost-time accidents in this category were Aecon Infrastructure Group, Louisbourg Pipelines Inc. and T. W. Johnstone Company Limited); Specialty Contractor, Transportation – Premay Pipeline Hauling LP; Specialty Contractor, Contractor – Other (Maintenance) – Over 20,000 Man Hours Worked – Robert B. Somerville Co. Ltd. (Also with zero lost-time accidents in this category were Aecon Infrastructure Group, Louisbourg Pipelines Inc. and Summit Pipeline Services Ltd.); and Specialty Contractor Other (Horizontal Directional Drilling) – Under 20,000 Man Hours Worked – Michels Canada Company. (Also with zero lost-time accidents in this category were Custom Carriers and Oilfield Hauling Ltd., Lafarge Canada Inc. and McCaw’s Drilling & Blasting Ltd.