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Environmental Performance, Future of the Industry and Innovation, Industry Success Stories

Fort Hills recognized as a Global Best Project

In October the Fort Hills project was recognized with an Award of Merit in the Power/Industrial category at the annual Global Best Projects competition honouring construction and design excellence, sponsored by the Engineering News Record. The award evaluates safety, innovation, community contributions, aesthetic quality and workmanship, with a special emphasis on the global diversity of the project team.

The Fort Hills project produces some of the world’s lowest carbon intensity oil sands supply and is the first project that met and exceeded its design capacity within weeks of startup.

“Being considered and then recognized for our performance on this project really shows what we can accomplish as a company,” says Darryl Metz, vice president of in situ and downstream projects. “To be part of this – it had to be done globally, you don’t qualify otherwise.”

By “globally,” Darryl refers to the 25,000 people around the world, who, in addition to those from across Canada and North America, were suppliers and contractors on the project. They hailed from South Korea, India, Philippines, China, Spain and other countries. This collaboration, which involved engineering, module fabrication, global transport, and site construction, saw a combined 68 million hours contributed by project members.

Intense construction in the energy sector at the time the project began was straining North American engineering and construction resources. The situation was especially challenging in Alberta, where large energy projects and a major fabrication backlog were being managed by just a few qualified firms. All this meant the Suncor project team had to be creative and think differently about how best to move the project forward.

Suncor’s general manager of construction and field technical Ryan Jackson, who was among those accepting the award, reflected how it underscores Suncor’s ability to competitively execute large oil sands projects to a global standard.

“This award recognizes the integration across all levels; various groups of employees and contracting partners, locally, nationally and internationally, that all came together to get it done,” says Ryan, “And it celebrates the huge effort and complexity of interaction between all these groups, and of what Suncor can do safely and collaboratively.”

Darryl looks forward to applying many of the learnings from Fort Hills to other projects.

“It took years to really understand how to successfully integrate and scale up our resource requirements of this venture –in fact some of the key learnings weren’t discovered until the project was nearly complete. Having the opportunity to apply these ideas to other projects earlier will improve future results.”

Fort Hills is a limited partnership owned by Suncor Energy Inc. (54.11%), Total E&P Canada (24.58%) and Teck Resources Limited (21.31%).