Maintenance on the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has run from Alberta to B.C. and Washington since 1954. Construction has begun on the twinning project and expansion of the Burnaby export terminal. (Trans Mountain)

Maintenance on the Trans Mountain pipeline, which has run from Alberta to B.C. and Washington since 1954. Construction has begun on the twinning project and expansion of the Burnaby export terminal. (Trans Mountain)

Pipeline contractors hiring in tight labour market for Alberta, B.C.

Competition for oil, gas pipeline jobs as skilled workers retiring

While mechanics, welders and specialty equipment operators are in demand for the twinning of the 66-year-old Trans Mountain oil and fuel pipeline, engineering and management expertise is also being sought as the project gears up in B.C. and Alberta.

Coastal Gaslink’s gas pipeline is part of the largest private sector investment in Canadian history, the $40 billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export project bankrolled by a Shell-led consortium to get B.C. gas to Asia. And it begins 2020 in a fierce competition for skilled trades and key management positions with Trans Mountain, the oil pipeline twinning that is ramping up construction at the same time.

Surerus Murphy, main contractor for the B.C. Interior portion of the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning, is also a major contractor on the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project that is setting up camps and clearing sites from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, where LNG Canada’s natural gas export facility is underway.

RELATED: Coastal Gaslink crews stopped by trees felled on road

RELATED: Trans Mountain begins laying pipe for Alberta twinning

RELATED: Contractors picked for Pattullo Bridge replacement

Surerus Murphy currently has openings for a senior project engineer, subcontracts specialist, quantity surveyor and junior pipeline engineer for the Coastal Gaslink project, as well as taking applications for a variety of jobs on the Trans Mountain line.

Trans Mountain’s job page invites applications for a wide variety of jobs, from administration and camp support to engineers, environmental compliance and safety, trades such as welding, pipefitting, carpentry and steel construction, plus truck drivers, mechanics, equipment operators and bus drivers to get thousands of workers from camps to job sites in Alberta and across B.C.

Contractors for Trans Mountain include SA Energy Group, a partnership with Aecon Group, which also just landed the contract to replace the Pattullo Bridge in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

B.C. Premier John Horgan notes that big public projects like the Pattullo and Broadway subway line in Vancouver are after the same pool of experienced workers, especially in senior positions where baby boomers are retiring in unprecedented numbers.

“We have private sector projects like LNG Canada, and potentially the Trans Mountain pipeline, that are going to be taking a whole bunch of workers out of play when it comes to public contracts, and that’s a challenge for government,” Horgan said in a year-end interview with Black Press. “I think there’s plenty of work to go around, and not enough people to do the work.”

Trans Mountain, now owned by the federal government, has moved well past the “potential” stage. The first pipe was laid on the Alberta side in December, and pipe has been delivered across B.C. as site work and hiring gear up.

From the Greater Edmonton section, the Trans Mountain right of way goes to Edson, Hinton, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Wabamun before reaching the Jasper-Mount Robson stretch where twinning was done a decade ago. Entering B.C. in the North Thompson region, the pipeline route goes by Avola, Barriere, Blue River, Clearwater, Valemount and Vavenby, a region where the forest industry has been wound down due to market conditions and loss of lumber to beetle infestations and fires.

From there the Trans Mountain line goes past Kamloops and Merritt, then down the Coquihalla Pass to Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam and Burnaby.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Most Read