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

Pioneer Arena is closing for the season. Photo: John Boivin
Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season

RDCK is closing the ice at two of its arenas due to financial concerns related to COVID-19

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read