Acquisition of Dunlop Gives Stantec Toronto Presence
Editor’s Note: Doing Business
is a roundup of news and developments about the business
of engineering, geology
By Nordahl Flakstad
Stantec has taken another step toward solidifying itself
as one of Canada’s largest architectural and design
firms, and gained a strong presence in Greater Toronto, by
acquiring Dunlop Architects.
Addition of Toronto-headquartered Dunlop, said Stantec
President and CEO Tony Franceschini, P.Eng., gives his company “offices
in every principal city from Ontario west, and the ability
to work across the country.”
Dunlop, with a 100-member staff, also has a branch office
in Hamilton. It is active in architectural design, project
management, specifications, contract administration, site
review and facilities programming.
Established in 1953, Dunlop is a full-service architecture
firm recognized for work on facilities within the acute and
long-term health care, laboratory, justice, civic and institutional,
post-secondary educational, entertainment and high-tech communication
markets. The firm’s consulting services include architectural
design, project management, specifications, contract administration,
site review and facilities programming.
PCL Team Up
On Husky Project
Under a $290-million turnkey contract, SNC-Lavalin
PCL Industrial Management Inc. will design and build a
major portion of Husky Energy Inc.’s $500-million
Tucker Lake oilsands project near Cold Lake.
The Tucker Lake undertaking, scheduled for completion in
2006, uses steam-assisted gravity drainage to produce bitumen.
PCL Industrial Management Vice-President and General
Manager Ian Johnston, P.Eng., says this as an important project in
establishing the company as a leading contractor in the rapidly
growing industry of SAGD projects.
Athabasca Oil Sands
Makes Up For
Following a dip in output in July, the Athabasca Oil Sands
Project, consisting of the Muskeg River Mine, north of
Fort McMurray, and the Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton,
outpaced its design capacity in August.
The joint venture involving Shell Canada Limited,
Chevron Canada Limited and Western Oil Sands L.P. produced an average
of 121,000 bbd a day in July while in a maintenance mode.
The comparable figure for August was 182,000 bbd, well above
the design capacity of 155,000 bbd.
We ran full throttle in August, setting daily, weekly and
now monthly production records,” said Shell Canada’s
Senior Vice-President Oil Sands Neil Camarta, P.Eng.
Petro-Canada & TransCanada
Link For LNG Project
Petro-Canada and TransCanada Corp. expect to begin construction
in 2007 on a $660-million, liquefied natural gas-receiving
facility northeast of Quebec City. It will produce 500 million
cubic feet of gas a day from LNG shipped from Europe, Africa,
the Caribbean and the Middle East.
The project joins the lineup of proposed receiving terminals
and regasification plants intended to respond to rising demand
and lower production of natural gas in North America.
With De Beers
Montreal-based Majescor Resources Inc. has signed agreements
with De Beers regarding two advanced diamond projects, one
in Brazil and one in Canada. The Canadian Hardy Lake property
is located approximately 350 km northeast of Yellowknife,
between BHP Billiton’s Ekati diamond mine and Rio Tinto/Aber
Diavik diamond mine.
Majescor can obtain a 100 per cent interest in the property
by spending $10 million over the next five years and by issuing
800,000 of its shares to De Beers.
For Nova Chemicals
After three difficult years, NOVA
Chemicals Corp. appears
to have turned the corner, helped by an improved U.S. economy.
The company reported $27 million in net earnings for the
quarter ending June 30, a $7- million rise from the first
quarter of 2004. While second-quarter earnings are below
those for the same period in 2003, the figures at that time
reflected sale of NOVA’s interest in Methanex Corp.
and a Fort Saskatchewan ethylene storage facility.
Meanwhile, NOVA – whose Joffre plant in near Red Deer
is a major supplier of polyethylene to the North American
market – is currently building a 180-km pipeline to
Fort Saskatchewan to better access propane and propane-ethane
Proponents Roll Out
Route, Rates and Risk
Of Northern Rail Route
Proponents of a $2.5-billion rail and
road-improvement project linking Nisku and Fort McMurray
have laid out the geographic
and financial coordinates of their plan ? including recommended
involvement by the Alberta Government.
What’s now the Northeast Alberta Transportation Corp.
has had the transportation corridor proposal ? including
the proposed route and means of paying for it ? under consideration
since the plan was first raised earlier this year.
NEATcor Chairman Jim Gray, APEGGA honorary member, and Team
Leader Paul Giannelia say the project would more than pay
for itself if the oilsands sector continues to grow and switches
much of its transportation ? particularly of heavy components
? from road to rail.
“It’s really a bet on the future of the oilsands,” said
The financing scheme calls for the Alberta Government to
front $300 million toward the project up front with the remaining
being covered by charges to users. However, the government
would retain residual obligations to bridge shortfalls through
reduced royalties to oilsands producers using the railway.
NEATcor’s proposal is expected to save the oilsands
industry through efficiencies offered by a modern rail
system and through improvements to road transportation
resulting from lower traffic volumes on the highway to
An early decision could allow work to start next year and
finish in 2010.
NEATcor Rail Plans
Include Big Bridge
Upgrading plans for the Nisku-Fort McMurray rail corridor
call for some high-level engineering with construction of
a new world-class bridge just west of Fort McMurray.
NEATcor, the proponents of the rail link, are calling for
a 135-metre high, 1.6-kilometre long bridge spanning the
Athabasca River. With those dimensions,
the proposed structure will be larger than Vancouver’s
Lions Gate Bridge, whose towers reach 111 metres and whose
1.5-kilometre deck rises 60 metres above Burrard Inlet.
The length of the proposed bridge is somewhat shorter than
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, but it would be
more than twice as high above the water.
If built as proposed, the new bridge would also be 44 per
cent taller than the Lethbridge Viaduct, the world’s
biggest steel railway trestle and long considered an Alberta
At an estimated cost of $777 million, the bridge would be
the most expensive component of the $2.5-billion NEATcor
Grande Cache Cashing In
As Mine and Mill Reopen
Resumption of production at two key resource concerns has
the Rocky Mountain community of Grande Cache looking toward
a brighter future.
Grande Cache Coal Corp. has resumed production at what was
the Smoky River Coals mine, which closed in 2000. Up to 300
permanent staff are expected to be hired at the mine in the
Also set to resume production later this year is the sawmill
taken over by C&C Wood Products Ltd. of Quesnel, B.C.
Earlier this year, Weyerhaeuser Canada Limited closed the
mill that had employed about 200. The new operator will upgrade
the mill, including installing a new log-feed and debarking
July Floods Prompt
Edmonton to Tap Into
Following storms that severely challenged Edmonton’s
drainage system this summer, the city is looking at ways
to prevent a repetition of the situation that left almost
5,000 homeowners with flooded basements.
The city faced 135 millimetres of precipitation in a 24-hour
period July 2 and 65 millimetres within an hour, much of
it in the form of hail, on July 11.
“It isn’t good enough to say that our system
worked well and then we have 4,000 flooded basements. We
have to look at ways of improving things,” said City
of Edmonton Manager of Drainage Services Kurt Sawatzky, P.Eng.
Immediate steps have been taken to prevent manhole covers
from popping, as happened during the downpours. Furthermore,
the city is hiring consultants to review drainage systems
in the hardest hit areas. They include neighborhoods built
in the 1980s or earlier that don’t have stormwater
Designed New Carwash For
A&E Architectural & Engineering Group Inc. has designed
a 1,350-square-metre car wash scheduled for completion in
January at Edmonton International Airport. The facility,
being built for Rocky Mountain Car Wash, will include one
automated and 10 self-serve bays, as well as quick-lube and
Leak Halts Flow
On Suncor Line
A leak in Suncor Energy Inc.’s oilsands pipeline near
Wandering River halted flow for three days in late August
in the oil pipeline linking Fort McMurray and Edmonton.
About 3,000 barrels of naphtha, used in heavy oil blending,
leaked but there were no injuries or impact on waterways.
Suncor said the temporary pipeline shutdown is not expected
to prevent the company from reaching its 2004 oilsands production
goal of 220,000 bbd.
From Chilean Firm
TranAlta Corp. has reached a 10-year agreement to buy 1.75
million tonnes of greenhouse-gas credits from Agrosuper,
a Chilean agro-food company.
This first international purchase of its kind by a Canadian
company will, says TransAlta Director of Sustainable Development
Don Wharton, help the company deal with the “serious
greenhouse gas reduction obligations” it faces under
still-uncertain Canadian emission rules or the Kyoto Accord,
Lawsuit Looms Over
A lawsuit filed by the Deh Cho First Nation, intended to
halt construction of the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline, appears
not to be having any immediate impact on the $5-billion project
The suit is not directed at the consortium of major oil
companies intending to build the pipeline but rather at Indian
and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental
Impact Review Board.
In the lawsuit, the Deh Cho claim they are being discriminated
against because, unlike other Northwest Territories aboriginal
groups affected by the pipeline, they have not reached
a land-claims agreement with the federal government.
Not Up to Speed
For Axia NetMedia
Axia NetMedia Corp. says it is hurting financially due to
delays by Bell West in completing the high-speed Alberta
SuperNet to link 427 communities. Axia’s subsidiary,
Axia SuperNet Ltd., is to operate the high-speed Internet
network scheduled for mid-2004 completion but now delayed
at least until the end of the year.
“The financial health and business affairs of the
corporation are materially impacted by the prime contractor’s
lack of progress on the Alberta SuperNet build,” said
Axia CEO Art Price, P.Eng.
Asia Sets Sights on
Alberta Oilsands for
Canada’s political stability makes its oilsands an
attractive potential source for oil, the head of Taiwan’s
Petrochemical Industry Association said during a recent Alberta
However, Hsin-Huai Chow said for export of synthetic crude
to the Far East to occur, a new pipeline would have to be
built to the West Coast.
Mr. Chow added that higher natural gas prices also have
triggered interest in oilsands as a source of petrochemical