Promising Future For PLCAC

By Traci Read, Senior Editor | April 2009 Vol. 64 No. 4
Ted Shipka, outgoing PLCAC president

Canadian pipeliners enjoyed boom times in 2008 and are facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build essential pipeline infrastructure; however, there are factors that could affect the outcome, said Edward (Ted) Shipka, outgoing president of the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC).

“After an exceptionally strong year of activity in Canadian pipeline construction, the PLCAC and its members are undoubtedly in a good position to weather any near-term challenges posed by the prevailing economy,” said Shipka. “The mainline segment in 2008 recorded activity levels second only to the record level registered in 1999. The volume of work in the distribution segment is the highest ever recorded in Canada.”

Presently, 10 collective agreements administered by the PLCAC cover the type of work preformed by members of the association in Canada. Of those, four relate to construction of mainline transmission systems, four apply to distribution systems, one is used for pipeline investigation and assessment work, and one covers field overhaul of equipment.

“There is some concern,” Shipka continued, “of the effect on our industry on the potential impact of a protracted period of economic uncertainty in light of the world-wide recession, tight credit conditions, reduced oil and gas demand and deterioration in commodity prices, which could pose a real threat to the volume and timing of future pipeline projects. At present, there is no clear indication that the economic downturn is close to being finished, but there is optimism that these conditions may very well abate within the next year resulting in the owners and pipeline operators continuing to pursue a very aggressive program of pipeline construction.”

Shipka is well versed with the concerns and needs of the Canadian pipeliners and with those of the association’s primary roles. This is Shipka’s second term as PLCAC president. He first served as president in 2001-02. He joined the PLCAC Labor Committee in 1975 and subsequently was appointed to serve as a director (1994-present); as chairman of the Safety Committee (1995-present); and as a member of the Canadian Pipeline Advisory Council (1998-2002; 2005-09).