BY NORDAHL FLAKSTAD
Opening Bell Smiles
Stantec President and CEO Tony Franceschini, P.Eng., rang the famed Opening Bell to mark the first day of trading of the Edmonton-headquartered company’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange, Aug. 5. Stantec becomes the first Edmonton company listed on the NYSE, where it will trade under the symbol SXC. The Toronto Stock Exchange listing remains STN.
The NYSE listing “affirms the evolution and maturity of the company over the past 10 years, and signifies to the market and our industry that we are truly a North American firm,” said Mr. Franceschini. “Being listed on the NYSE is another step toward our goal of becoming a top 10 global design firm.”
Meanwhile, Stantec Architecture Ltd. has bought Calgary’s CPV Group Architects & Engineers Ltd., which adds more than 60 staff.
Stantec and CPV recently worked together on the new, $25-million University of Northern British Columbia Learning and Teaching Centre in Prince George.
Spar Shifts HQ To Edmonton
Spar Aerospace Ltd. will shift its corporate headquarters from Mississauga to Edmonton. More than 600 of its 850 employees work in the Edmonton area, where Spar maintains Hercules C-130 aircraft for the Canadian Forces and foreign clients.
Kinder Morgan Buys Terasen
Kinder Morgan, Inc. of Houston will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Terasen Inc. (formerly B.C. Gas) for $6.9 billion. Kinder Morgan is one of the largest U.S. energy transportation and storage companies.
Terasen distributes natural gas to about 875,000 customers — more than 95 per cent of the consumers in British Columbia. Terasen Pipelines provides petroleum transportation services from the Athabasca oil sands to Edmonton, and from Alberta to B.C., Washington State, and the U.S. Rocky Mountain and Midwest regions.
The combined entity will have about 9,000 employees.
In other developments, Terasen has sought National Energy Board permission to increase capacity on its Trans Mountain Pipe Line by 16 per cent. The company has also launched an $800-million expansion to double capacity of its Corridor system by 2009.
Enbridge Encouraged To Expand Pipeline
Canadian oil producers have voiced strong support for Enbridge Inc.’splans for an $895-million US expansion of its Alberta-to-Illinois oil pipeline. Enbridge would cover $135 million US of the cost with Enbridge Energy Partners LP of Houston paying the remainder.
Strong industry response to requests for feedback is encouraging Enbridge to proceed with the expansion as soon as possible — rather than in three phases. Current plans foresee completion in 2009.
In another development, Holly Energy Partners and Enbridge are studying construction of a new crude oil pipeline from Evanston Wyoming to Holly’s Woods Cross refinery near Salt Lake City.
Air Service Speeds Workers To Horizon Site
A private airstrip being completed this month by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is expected to prove a drawing card in attracting workers to the company’s Horizon Oil Sands Project, under construction 70 km north of Fort McMurray.
Able to handle Boeing 737 jets, the strip will cut workers’ travel times from Edmonton to one hour from the five to six hours it takes by bus. The airstrip will also allow Horizon to access skilled workers commuting from as far away as the Maritimes.
About 6,000 tradespeople are expected to work on the project during peak construction in 2006-07.
Total Obtains Joslyn With Deer Creek Purchase
French-based Total S.A. will pay $1.35 billion for Deer Creek Energy Limited, which owns 84 per cent of the Joslyn oil sands project in Alberta.
Joslyn is a multi-phase development with estimated cumulative production of two billion barrels of bitumen over 30 years. Most of the resource will be recovered using open-pit mining, along with in-situ steam-assisted gravity drainage. The EUB has approved the first two phases of the drainage development.
An application will be submitted to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board in early 2006 for the first phases of the mine and related facilities. Production is scheduled to begin in 2010 and, following several phases, will plateau at 200,000 bb/d. Currently in its start-up stage, a pilot is targeted to become commercial in 2006, with a production of about 10,000 bb/d.
Downstream operations are likely to include upgrading in Alberta with Edmonton a possible location.
Total already owns half the Surmont steam-assisted gravity drainage project, 125 km south of Joslyn.
TransAlta Shuts Plant Following Spill
TransAlta Corp. temporarily closed its Wabamun electrical generating plant following an Aug. 3 CN Rail train derailment. Fifteen ruptured tanker cars spilled bunker fuel and chemicals into Lake Wabamun.
TransAlta, which uses cooling water from Lake Wabamun, closed the plant to ensure the oil would not affect its cooling system. TransAlta’s larger Sundance plant, which also draws water from the lake, continued operation.
EUB Approval Opens Way For Heartland Construction
Following EUB approval, work has begun on the Heartland Upgrader at Fort Saskatchewan. BA Energy Inc. planned the facility as an independent processing centre to receive bitumen production from various Fort McMurray and Cold Lake producers.
Speedy EUB approval is attributed in part to a land bank procedure. It allows nearby landowners to sell their property to industry if buyers can’t be found. The EUB has urged use of the system to deal with similar land disputes.
Trident and Partners Tap Coal beds
Trident Exploration Corp., with minority partners Nexen Inc. and Red Willow Production Company, have begun commercial start-up of their Mannville coal bed methane project near Fort Assiniboine, 120 km northwest of Edmonton. So far, the project has involved spending roughly $100 million and drilling about 80 wells over the past four years.
The upcoming drilling program, which will spend $400 million over 18 months, aims to prove up what is being described as Alberta’s largest untapped natural-gas deposit.
Imperial Files Kearl Project
Imperial Oil Limited has filed regulatory applications for development of the Kearl Oil Sands Project. The project would be located on portions of oil sands leases held by Imperial and ExxonMobil Canada at Kearl Lake, 70 km north of Fort McMurray.
Current plans for the $4.5-6.5-billion project call for development of the mine in a staged manner, with an initial mine train producing about 100,000 bb/d. Subsequent expansions could increase capacity to 300,000 bb/d. The mine application does not include any on-site bitumen upgrading, which would be subject of separate application.
Mine development could begin in 2007, with initial production by the end of 2010.
Athabasca Invests In Future Expansions
The Athabasca Oil Sands Project, the newest currently operating oil sands project, will spend $7.3 billion – $3.3 billion more than originally anticipated — for its initial expansion.
It is part of a strategy to pre-build the infrastructure — including pipelines, utilities and sulphur-processing units — needed for additions beyond the already-announced expansion, which itself will increase the operation’s output to 300,000 bb/d by 2010.
Enmax Corp. Set to Harness More Wind
Enmax Corp. of Calgary will build and run an 80-MW wind-power generating facility in the Municipal District of Taber in southern Alberta. Construction will begin this fall with completion of the $140-million project anticipated by the end of 2006.
Celanese Closes Remaining Plant
Celanese Canada Inc. is closing its last Edmonton plant, a methanol production facility, in 2006 or 2007. The announcement follows the closure in the past year of two Celanese plants in Edmonton, both of which produced cigarette tow.
Pogo Picks Up Northrock Resources
Pogo Producing Company is purchasing Northrock Resources Ltd., a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary of Unocal Corp, for $1.8 billion US. Of particular interest to Pogo are deep basin natural gas in Central Alberta, frontier exploration in the Northwest Territories, and an emerging coal bed methane play.
Feds Pump Cash into Ethanol
Permolex Ltd. of Red Deer is one of five ethanol plants receiving federal funding for construction or expansion. Ottawa wants to have 35 per cent of all Canadian gasoline production include a 10-per-cent blend of ethanol by 2010.
Husky Oil received $10.4 million for a plant in Minnedosa, Man. The other three funded facilities are in Ontario.