Photo: Fluor

Top Projects 2015: Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project


Aesthetics typically play a big part in choosing a Top Projects design winner, but industrial plants are not exactly known for their visual flair. Truly great design, however, involves much more than appearances. Make no mistake, there is a lot going on beneath the surface of the Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project—and that’s not just a reference to the over one million tonnes of COthat the project will capture from the Scotford Upgrader and store underground each year.

The project is a showcase for industry-leading planning and execution practices, but it is also a trailblazer in many other ways. Not only is it the first commercial-scale CCS project in the Alberta oilsands, but it also represents the first full application of Fluor’s third-gen approach to modularization.

In total, 69 modules were built, allowing for much of the work to be completed off-site in safer and more productive controlled environments. Modularization was also key to reducing plot space. Because Quest is located next to an existing facility, the space it had to work with proved inadequate for a more conventional design. By allowing modularization to drive design, the team was able to move 95 per cent of steel and 50 per cent of electrical onto modules, compared to 60 per cent steel and 20 per cent electrical on a more conventional project.

Fluor was involved in the project before front-end engineering and design (FEED) even began, which allowed the company to incorporate the best-possible building techniques into the design right from the start. This translated into time and cost savings during execution. Because scaffolding was incorporated into the 3-D models, the team could build clips for elevated scaffolds into the fabricated steel to cut down on installation time in the field, for example.

This kind of detailed planning requires buy-in from all stakeholders, and the project incorporated input from Fluor, project owner Shell Canada and third-party vendors right from FEED and the detailed engineering model reviews. Vendors frequently visited the site with the necessary engineering and construction representatives to help head off potential issues. The end users worked with the engineers to develop models that addressed ergonomic issues and ensured space to comfortably access meters and equipment for future maintenance.

The final result? Costs were reduced by 30 per cent from initial estimates and plot size was 20 per cent below the original plan. The project came in on time and under budget, with not a single lost-time incident over 1.3 million person-hours worked.

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