Waschuk Pipe Line Construction

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Waschuk Pipe Line Construction Ltd. was founded in 1966, by Bill Waschuk. The company calls Red Deer, Alberta, its home, and the business is run by the Waschuk family. Waschuk specializes in pipeline, oil and gas production facilities construction, and the team has many years of project management experience. The company offers complete project completion services on oil and gas pipeline systems and production facilities. It is now one of the largest privately owned pipeline construction companies in Canada.

Kevin Waschuk, Vice President of the company, and his siblings grew up with the business, and they started working early. Waschuk says that the company has grown substantially in a short period of time, and currently employs about 600 people. Waschuk has established relationships with some larger clients, making business sustainable during rough times.

New projects in mainline pipeline construction

Currently, Waschuk has major contracts with Enbridge, and they are looking to start other major projects in 2009. In collaboration with Enbridge, Waschuk will complete the Canadian stretch of a pipeline that runs from Saskatchewan through Manitoba, to the United States. The pipeline section in Saskatchewan alone is 345 km, making it a significant undertaking for Waschuk. Waschuk says that “our work ramps up and down, but there is so much potential in the industry right now, and lots of work to come.”

The company completed a 328 km pipeline running from Fort McMurray to Edmonton this past spring, and Waschuk anticipates more of the same.

Environmental impact – a key issue

Although not directly associated with the oil sands of Alberta, Waschuk says that he understands the pressure that the industry is under with regards to environmental issues. He maintains that Waschuk is committed to environmental sustainability and understands the need to be eco-friendly.

“The environment is a key issue for us and our clients – we take it very seriously because of the nature of our business. Some of the scrutiny on the oil sands has not affected us, but has really affected our clients. Yes – we’re crossing long stretches of lands, spanning hundreds of kilometres. But we’re always trying to impact the environments we touch as little as possible. Now, with newer technologies such as directional drilling, there is less of an impact on the land, whereas 50 years ago these techniques weren’t available. I have to reiterate – we always want to minimalize the impact as much as possible. We confine, and try to exceed, all environmental standards in our region.”

With regards to safety, Waschuk feels strongly that keeping a commitment to safety helps keep business going as well.

Safety comes first

“We’re lucky to have qualified people, and every employee receives a safety orientation that is unique to our company. It’s extensive, and intensive, and everyone has to do it. Our standards exceed provincial regulations, and any other regulations for safety.”

The company has four collective agreements with craft unions, and they supply Waschuk’s labour force. What does the future hold for Waschuk? “In 2009 we are going to work more with the bigger players like Enbridge, TransCanada pipelines, and if the timing is right, we’ll be doing work on the Mackenzie pipeline.” Waschuk sits on a committee involved in the Mackenzie Gas Project. He travels to various locations in the north, with representatives from four craft unions on behalf of contractors, taking part in all project discussions. Progress on the Mackenzie pipeline has been hampered by many environmental and social issues, but there will an announcement about possible start times likely in 2009. “We’re a family business – everyone does a bit of everything. But being in the positive position that we are didn’t happen overnight, and keeping good people with us, and keeping our equipment up-to- date is key to our success. It’s been hard work, but we’re happy with where we’re going.”

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