Houston and area companies and residents seeking jobs had a chance Feb. 21 to connect with the prime contractors working on sections of Coastal GasLink’s 48-inch in diameter natural gas pipeline south of the community.
“The sessions have been enormously successful and we’ve received positive feedback from both attendees (job seekers and those looking for contracting opportunities) and contractors,” said Coastal GasLink official Suzanne Wilton of the Houston gathering, one of close to 15 held so far along the pipeline route which stretches 670 kiloemetres from the gas fields near Dawson Creek to Kitimat where it will connect with the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas plant now under construction.
She said the Houston session had a significant with high interest from those attending, estimating that 500 individual meetings were held between local companies and workers and the main pipeline contractors and others.
Specialized project work includes right-of-way clearing, gravel processing, access road development, camp and storage site preparation, camp support services, materials hauling, right-of-way grading, welding, installation, site clean-up, reclamation and other activities, Wilton noted of the kind of services being sought along the route.
Aside from the prime contractors who will do the actual pipeline work, Coastal GasLink has also signed contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with Indigenous-owned or Indigenous-affiliated companies along the route.
“Coastal GasLink has made it clear to all of our contractors that priority should be given to qualified local and Indigenous people and businesses, and the project has a team in place to hold them to account on this,” said Wilton.
“While Coastal GasLink does not have local hire targets, the whole reason behind these economic summits is to provide local contractors and job-seekers with the opportunity to engage with contractors responsible for each part of the pipeline.”
“Hiring local, qualified businesses and people is good for communities and it’s good for business, as it reduces the cost associated with bringing in workers from other parts of the province,” she said.
Three of the eight “spreads” or pipeline route work package segments stretch from southeast of Houston and then running west toward Kitimat.
Two of the spreads are being built by Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction, a Calgary-based subsidiary of the Bonatti Group which is headquartered in Italy.
Pacific Atlantic’s contract is worth $500 to cover 163km of work and it anticipates hiring 700 workers.
The third spread south of Houston, the one which ends at Kitimat, is is 84km long and is being built by the joint venture of Macro Speicapag, the former being based in Fort St. John and the latter a company originating in France.
Macro Speicapag is also building a 82km section south of Burns Lake and the contract for both sections amounts to $900 million.
The C$900 million (about €585 million) contract includes the construction of more than 166 kilometres of gas pipeline as part of the 670 km Coastal GasLink Pipeline.
Houston Chamber of Commerce president Darrin Super said local businesses were eager to participate in the pipeline opportunities session.
“This project is going to be beneficial to a large number of people and right now we’re looking for something that’s tangible, what’s expected,” Super said.
He said the business community has taken several hits over the past 10 years, losing a mine and then a sawmill.
“Those were big losses for a community this size so for this project, it’s going to give us a shot in, something we need,” Super added.
The chamber would also like to see the pipeline contractors open an office in Houston as it would provide a central location for project information and opportunities.