NGTL System Expansion; The Saddle West Project
The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) is home to a natural gas resource that is world class in terms of both size and production cost. There is economic supply for the next 30+ years at current usage rates and growth in the WCSB is expected to continue and to remain competitive. TC Energy is dedicated to building out our system efficiently to support safe and reliable market access for this lower emissions fuel.
The Saddle West Expansion Project (SWEP) was key for the NGTL System to facilitate transportation of natural gas from the Montney, Duvernay and Deep Basin production areas in Alberta and B.C. for consumption in Western Canada and for export to end use markets across North America.
The SWEP facilitates transportation of an incremental 355 million cubic feet per day of economic natural gas to end-use markets. That is 129,575 million cubic feet annually, which is enough energy to supply nearly 1.6 million households for a year.
TC Energy continues to progress projects to expand the system and reduce constraints to facilitate transportation of growing WCSB production to meet market demand for this cost effective, world class supply, with SWEP just one example of NGTL’s $10B multiyear capital program.
Challenges To Be Addressed
At the outset, the team realized this would be a challenging, schedule-driven project that would require the work to be executed on an accelerated timeline. The program required that four, 30MW LM2500 compressor stations be constructed simultaneously, while reducing the overall duration by one month. This was a challenge that TC Energy had not attempted on the NGTL System in recent memory.
The team recognized that a different approach to teaming across a project organization of 60+ leaders from 16+ sub-organizations was required to overcome this challenge. The approach required the team to emphasize collaboration, relationships and learning to create an environment of success.
Successes & Learnings
People: The SWEP project employed over 1,500 people throughout the planning and construction phases, showing that work is happening in Alberta and the province is remaining economically active.
Schedule: Reduced the average duration to mechanical completion by 38 days achieving our goal of reducing the timeframe for constructing 30MW compressor stations and simultaneously constructing and commissioning multiple stations across a program.
Safety: Achieved zero away from work incidents, two sites achieving zero total reportable incidents, and one site going reportable incident and vehicle incident free. Non-reportable incident reporting increased by 60-90 per cent, which is an indicator that the project created an environment where people felt safe to report incidents.
Commitment: A commitment to Mutual Success and Collaboration was galvanized throughout the team and set the stage for living values of collaboration, integrity, respect and fair play.
Collaboration: Collaboration was a deliberate choice for the project team, not a contractual requirement. The work was executed through relationships, not through contracts, and a mindset of winning together and making our contractors successful.
Planning: The project team learned that planning had to begin with the ‘end in mind’ and consider the legacy of the project for long-term operations. Four months were spent working through a construct-on-paper exercise (detailed construction and contract planning) which aligned on the execution plan, identified and mitigated risks, shared information to be on an equal footing, and resolved our fundamental differences. Work was completed within a brownfield environment at each site, and the projects were executed with minimal impact to operations and customer service.
“This project will increase capacity in a critical area of the NGTL System that connects and transports growing supplies of unconventional natural gas. NGTL’s unparalleled footprint enables us to efficiently meet the increased transportation needs of our customers in the Montney, Duvernay and Deep Basin areas and to reliably connect new production to high-value intra and ex-basin markets.” Tracy Robinson, Executive Vice-President and President, Canadian Natural Gas Pipelines.
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