Sunday, February 17, 2019

News and Events

As Economic Development news and updates become available for Sturgeon County, we will post it here.

Regional Economic Development News


NWR Refinery open to local businesses listing goods, services they provide
Local businesses that wish to sell goods or services to the Sturgeon Refinery need to put themselves on North West Redwater (NWR) Partnership’s supply chain list. To provide materials or services to the refinery construction subcontractors, a local business may contact them through the NWR website. The Town of Redwater and NWR held an invitation-only supply chain information forum for companies with current Redwater business licenses Sept. 21. 

About 35 people attended, and when it was over most appeared positive about what they had learned. Redwater Economic Development officer Pat Nicol facilitated the event, which featured five senior NWR staff: Contracts director Karl Frake, vice president of Regulatory and Stakeholder Affairs Doug Bertsch, vice president of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Mike Gordon, SCM lead Michael Halliday and Operations SCM manager Bruce Dunnet. Taking supplier information was Contracts specialist Donna Kinnee. Bertsch said that Phase One of the refinery is in a transition; the major construction contracts were hired long ago, but some smaller, more focused construction jobs and a whole spectrum of ongoing operations requirements are opening up.

These cover everything from coverall services to welding, insulation, scaffolding for maintenance, catering and machine shop work. Gordon advised that NWR is “absolutely committed” to giving opportunities to local business, but they have to meet four main criteria: safety first, be capable, be qualified and be competitive. “We’re very much a cost driven project,” said Gordon. “We’re accountable to the people of Alberta.”

The entry point to get on the list of available contractors for Common Site Services (CCS); Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractors (EPC); Construction Execution Services (CEC); and Integrated Commissioning and Startup (ICSU), Operations and Maintenance is through Kinnee. “Do this so the EPCs and CECs know who’s out there and who’s doing what,” said Gordon, adding that presently there are over 120 suppliers in the data base. He encouraged suppliers get their information on NWR’s master list and go through preliminary screening, maintain contact with Kinnee and contact EPCs and CECs directly for pre-qualification and selection of subcontractors. 

He estimated over 250 contracts will be required for ICSU. Nicol then read written questions from the floor. Has there been major changes lately in the process NWR uses to review contracts? Gordon replied that they are always altering the scope allocation as required to ensure no section falls behind or loses quality in performance. Dunnet said Operations requires different types and lengths of contracts than Construction requires. 

Will there be an opportunity for a local company to do on-site maintenance of NWR vehicles? Frake said no, that contract is locked down, but other opportunities exist in small civil programs. Dunnet expanded on that, saying in Operations there will be speciality maintenance, valve maintenance, fabrication and refurbishment. Contracts will given over the next six to nine months. Explain the bidding process; is it invitational? Frake said no, they have the master bid list and will look at it to see who is around who can do the work. 

Gordon added that the list acts as feedstock to contractors’ bid lists. Once a supplier gives NWR its information, what steps are taken? Kinnee said they are added to the list. If more information is required or if Dunnet is looking for that service, the supplier will be contacted. She said some contractors ask to make on-site presentations about what they offer and many keep in regular contact with her through email. Does NWR have influence on who EPC contractors hire? Gordon said the EPCs are responsible for their lists. 

“We meet with them and encourage local contacts,” he said. “We vet their list and if we feel a qualified company is not on the list, encourage them to add it.” Dunnet advised that when construction is finished, operations will have no sub-contracting. A large chunk of the work will go to companies on Kinnee’s list. Can confirmation be given that the way to work for NWR is to get on Kinnee’s list? Kinnee said yes, her list or EPCs’ lists. 

They can be accessed through the website, and NWR will assist with website navigation if needed. Gordon added that getting on the EPCs’ lists and developing relationships with them is advantageous because they do work in the area other than at NWR. Bertsch noted that the panel members are laying out the process to get on the list; being on the list does not guarantee getting called for a job. When information is sent in, how does a business owner know if all the criteria have been met? Kinnee said she will send an email saying it has been added to the data base.

Any idea of the number of Redwater businesses being used? Bertsch said not for Redwater specifically. Frake reported that from Redwater to Fort Saskatchewan NWR has about $200 million in contracts. In the Edmonton region it has over $1.5 billion in contracts. Is it correct that NWR pay terms are 120 days or longer?

Frake said payment is made in 30 days or less from receipt of a correct invoice. Bertsch explained that there is an attestation program for invoicing that needs to be met. He stands as a contact for anyone with concerns or questions. In an interview separate from the panel discussion, Bertsch said NWR participated in the forum because, although they feel they have always been approachable, they wanted to do an even better job of that.
“We very much appreciate Pat’s organization of this event to allow us to make so many connections at once,” he said. Bertsch expected positive outcomes from the meeting and was hopeful that some similar sessions will be held in other parts of the region.

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