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Nimble Superior Propane solution solves more than just one challenge.

Taking the labour out of monitoring propane tanks

THE CHALLENGE

Surmont 2 is an oil production site the size of the city of Calgary. Located in the wilderness 70 km south of the Fort McMurray, it’s easily one of the largest SAGD operations in the country to date.

PCL Construction has set up shop on the site with 52 trailers that are powered by 110 propane tanks (420lb. and 1,000 USWG) across the vastlandscape of this site.

Not surprisingly, monitoring the propane level in those tanks is a full-time job. It required a dedicated driver to travel the entire site in a truck doing no more than the site speed limit of 10 km/hour. The driver read and recorded every tank level to ensure no run out and constant heat and power was supplied to the work site.

PCL asked Superior Propane to look at ways to improve its operational efficiency at Surmont 2 to:

  • Eliminate the risk of running out of gas, even with erratic use
  • Reduce the time required to fill the 110 propane tanks
  • Reduce man hours required to monitor tank levels on site.

THE SOLUTION

Superior Propane came prepared with a solution that solved all of the challenges—and then some.

Installing SMART* Tanks, a Superior Propane exclusive, was the logical solution to eliminating the need to manually check every propane tank. Today, all tanks are monitored remotely. Text and email notifications with to-the-minute levels of each tank are sent daily.

Benefits of the solution are numerous as described by Scott Sharun, PCL Procurement Manager:

  • Neither PCL nor Superior Propane is required to manually check the tanks. With a critical level of 15%, there’s plenty of time for Superior Propane to arrange to get on site to fill tanks virtually eliminating the possibility of a run-out. “We’re going to see some significant savings as well as ROI and productivity improvement.”
  • New reporting tools and data that was previously uncaptured. “Now I can look at a project like Surmont 2 and provide my estimating department true relative costs. It’s very useful to be able to see the numbers at the end of the day.”
  • Better administrative management. “Email notification and daily level reporting gives us an electronic, historical place to see when the tanks were filled. This means our accountants have their threeway match without somebody having to sign off.”
  • Better communication when trailers move as the project progresses. “In the past, when trailers were moved, the driver checking tanks wouldn’t always be notified. With GPS [in sensors], we know exactly where all the tanks are at all times.”
  • Health and safety concerns greatly mitigated with fewer hours spent driving around.

“It just helps PCL demonstrate to our clients why we’re a strong contractor,” said Sharun. “The tanks, the GPS, the effective teamwork… all these things move together to ensure things are happening the way we want them to. And that’s always a good thing.”

BUSINESS BENEFITS OF PARTNERSHIP

If the sign of a truly beneficial partnership is bringing the best out in one another, Superior Propane and PCL are a match well made.

Superior was able to provide creative, customized, collaborative customer service with an all-encompassing solution that took care of business needs PCL wasn’t aware were possible.

The well-established partnership between Superior and PCL, complete with clear communication and efficient systems, ensures a long, healthy and profitable business relationship now and in the future.

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