Pipeline company to bolster contract opportunities

Idea is to fully engage local companies with information

Coastal GasLink’s prime contractor for 165 kilometres of its 670-long kilometre pipeline running from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada natural gas liquefaction plant now under construction in Kitimat is going to provide more detailed information for locals on how to bid on contracts.

The suggestion arose following two meetings held last month by Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction (PAPC) in Houston and Burns Lake for local companies seeking work on the project.

PAPC has the prime contract to build 165 kilometres of the pipeline from south of Burns Lake toward Houston and Smithers.

Sandy Stevens, the local contact between PAPC and local companies, acknowledged that a project the size of the Coastal GasLink project comes with contract bidding requirements that might not be familiar in this area.

“Giving everyone the opportunity to understand our business processes and learn how to access opportunities that we make available is paramount,” said Stevens.

The decision to provide more details surrounding bidding follows comment and worries from local companies that contracts going to companies from outside the region.

Stevens reiterated PAPC’s position that providing opportunities for local companies is “paramount”.

“We are committed to local and Indigenous communities neighboring our projects. Our parent company, Bonatti Inc., holds an average local/Indigenous workforce of 97 per cent, with over 7,000 local and Indigenous qualified suppliers,” she said.

Stevens said PAPC will, for example, break out components of larger contract opportunities so that smaller local companies can then bid on the work.

It’s a method that PAPC has used on large projects elsewhere, she added.

“There are different strategies we can undertake so that local and First Nations can become involved,” Stevens said.

And she cautioned that the pipeline project is still very much in its pre-construction phase with many contract opportunities still to come.

“There are going to be a lot more out there,” Stevens said of future contracts.

As it is, PAPC is getting ready to open one of its two major work camps, 7 Mile, south of Burns Lake.

“That’s going to happen the end of the month,” said Stevens.

The kitchen and recreation amenities are now complete and the camp will hold up to 500 people.

PAPC’s other main camp is also nearing the occupancy stage. Called the Huckleberry it is closer to the western edge of the company’s work route and at peak its population will be between 600 and 700.

“The actual numbers at any on time will be determined by the work schedule. There’ll be an ebb and flow as required,” said Stevens.

For employment during the clearing and mulching phase, Stevens said PAPC currently employs 175 people — 140 being subcontractors and their workers hired from within the footprint of the pipeline and 35 PAPC staff.

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