This fall, Seven Generations (7G) completed the most significant planned facility turnaround and upgrade in its history. For three weeks, while in the midst of a global pandemic, more than 650 contractors and 7G staff worked around the clock to safely complete major maintenance work on its Karr plant and an upgrade to its condensate stabilizer.
The project, representing a $25 million investment, was completed on-time and on-budget with a solid safety performance. In addition, as a result of innovative thinking, teamwork and a can-do attitude, this major effort was also completed without any significant impacts to regular production volumes. This project will ultimately increase run times, reduce costs and ensure 7G is maximizing the value it receives for its products.
The Karr Plant plays a critical role in 7G’s Kakwa River Project. With a capacity of 60,000 bbls/d, Karr processes and stabilizes almost every barrel of condensate produced by 7G, ensuring it meets pipeline specifications and, ultimately, can be delivered to market. Condensate is 7G’s premier product and as Canada’s largest producer of condensate, ensuring this facility runs smoothly is critical.
The 2020 Karr turnaround was a once in five-year maintenance event. While completing this routine maintenance work, our Operations team also saw an opportunity to enhance the overall reliability of the plant by upgrading its condensate stabilizer at the same time.
Previously, over the course of the year, Karr would be impacted by periodic minor maintenance events which reduced run-times and the facility’s overall processing capacity. These downtimes would also lead to more butane in our condensate, opening us up to minor pricing discounts as our product was slightly off-grade from market quality requirements. The work that was completed in this upgrade reduces these periodic downtimes throughout the year and ensures 7G is capturing the most value for its condensate.
Executing a turnaround and upgrade of this magnitude was no small feat; add in the risks associated with a global pandemic and this initiative was a heroic task that required rigorous planning and execution.
Preparation for the project started more than a year prior and involved significant collaboration between 7G teams across the organization and with of vendors and service providers. With long-lead equipment coming in from as far as Italy and Oklahoma, exacting logistical plans were required over the course of the pandemic to stay on-schedule and on-budget.
To protect the overall health and safety of our workforce onsite, we implemented several stringent health and safety protocols. This included establishing small work cohorts, physical distancing measures, staggering work schedules, increased cleaning protocols and strict camp protocols working in partnership with our camp operator Horizon North. In addition, 7G offered all staff access to an onsite paramedic who supported the screening process, provided guidance on health and safety measures, and was an excellent resource for those with questions regarding the virus. As a result of these efforts, the company was able to navigate the pandemic and complete the project without any significant impacts from COVID-19.
With a total investment of $25 million, the Karr Turnaround and Upgrade involved support from several local and regional suppliers and service providers in the Grande Prairie area. With the exception of specialized services and materials, our objective was to source locally whenever possible. Two key areas of service required for the project included mechanical and electrical construction.
As it relates to the mechanical work for the project alone, more than 65 staff were employed as a result through Flint, a division of ClearStream Energy Services, with 92% of the workforce based in Grande Prairie area and an additional three staff based out of Clairmont, Alberta. In addition, eight different local subcontractors providing everything from specialty tool rentals, calibrated hydrotesting equipment and safety supplies to personnel monitor rentals, shipping services and camp structures, were engaged – further extending the impact.
This was a herculean effort which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our trusted suppliers and service providers.
7G would like to thank all of its staff, service providers and suppliers for their support throughout the planning and execution of this major initiative. The success of the Karr Turnaround & Upgrade reflects the teamwork, collaboration and shared commitment to operational excellence that defines how we do business at 7G.