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Safety First

Shell Upgrader Expansion 1 – Pipe Modules

Shell Canada opened its Scotford Upgrader in 2003 in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta ; a massive facility used to upgrade heavy bitumen from the oil sands into synthetic crude oil, and it was Aecon in one of its first major contracts that supplied the pipe modules for the plant.

Three years later, Shell expanded  its upgrader to keep up with demand and once again Aecon is supplied pipe rack modules – 206 modules worth more than $100 million, our western Canada division’s biggest module project to date. The project started in September 2007 and completed in October 2008.

Pipe modules, factory-built components for refineries and industrial plants that combine piping, heat tracing, insulation, cable trays, lighting fixtures, cat walks, valves and inline instrumentation into a single pre-fabricated package, were a central feature of the plant expansion.

Each module is about 100 feet long, 24 feet wide and 25 feet high and can weigh as much as 75tonnes, That’s about twice as long, twice as high, and three times as wide as the biggest cargo trailer on the road.

Moving the modules from the yard to the upgrader was a project in itself. The modules are assembled in the yard on four-foot high stands. When the module is finished , a hydraulic trailer lifts the module off the stand and it is ready to transport. It took between four and six hours to complete the 30-kilometre trip from Aecon’s module yard to the Shell Upgrader site..

Scope of Work

Fabrication of  206 modules

  • Length 100 feet
  • Width 24 feet
  • Height 25 feet
  • Weight 15 to 75 tonnes

Key Statistics:

  • Man-hours – 1 million
  • Weld diameter-inches – 260,000
  • Structural steel – 6,113 tonnes
  • Total Length of pipe – 96.2 kilometres
  • Pipe size – 2 to 60 inch diameter
  • # of employees: 496
    • 51 indirect (foremen and above)
    • 153 direct in fab shop
    • 214 direct in module yard
    • 78 subcontractors (electrical, insulation and scaffolding)


Fraud Notice