Main Substation structural steel


On-site, high-voltage power system supplies power to Fort Hills Oil Sands Project in Northern Alberta

The $17 billion Fort Hills Oil Sands Project owned by Fort Hills Energy Limited Partnership, which is located about 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, is expected to pump 194,000 barrels of bitumen per day, when developed.  As part of the project, Fort Hills Energy Limited Partnership needed to design and construct an on-site, high-voltage power system, including two 260 kilovolt power lines, a connection to the utility substation and two new generators. As part of the multi-discipline team retained for the project, Associated Engineering completed design of the civil and structural works.  

The high-voltage facilities on-site include six yard substations and ten skid-mounted substations. For the yard substations, our scope included site grading, drainage, fencing, structural steel supports, oil containment basins for electrical transformers, and performance specifications for the protection and control buildings. One of these buildings also had a basement that was used as a cable vault under the building.

Two screw-piling contractors supplied the foundations. We coordinated the screw pile foundations with our design of the structural steel.  In addition, Associated assisted with underground cable sizing and cable routings.  For the skid substations, Associated provided site grading.

Project Manager, Greg Walker, tells us, “We were subconsultants to Sinai Engineering, who designed the high voltage electrical components of the project. Our challenge was developing civil and structural designs for the specified electrical elements that considered the local geotechnical conditions, as well as the meteorological factors, such as wind, rain, and snow.”

Our key personnel on this project were Greg Walker, James Armstrong, Renee Arlow, Tara Alexander, Alan Miller, Caitlin Luo, Scott Friel, Luc Blanchette, and Matt Somes.