EPC Roundtable

Today’s capital constrained energy market is focusing Owner, Engineering and Construction companies toward partnering and working more collaboratively in their commercial relationships and project execution strategies. These practices can help ensure our capital projects remain viable from conception to completion. The Project Management Institute Southern Alberta Chapter (PMI-SAC) created the EPC Roundtable in 2010 to provide a neutral forum for PMI-SAC members and affiliates to proactively discuss EPC project issues.

The EPC Roundtable convenes annually in Calgary with representatives from Owner Companies, Engineering Consultants, Construction Contractors, and Academics. Topics of discussion focus on defining best practices for achieving success in Capital Projects within the Alberta marketplace. The meetings are half day sessions that are formally structured to produce a whitepaper from the findings of the group. These whitepapers are available for download (see links below).

PMI Southern Alberta Chapter –  11th EPC Roundtable Workshop
Theme: Sustainable Strategies for Capital Investment Cycles in Alberta

Date: June 7, 2018
Time: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm (Check-in and breakfast starts at 7:30 am. Optional networking starts at 1:00 pm)Location: Emerson Canada offices

#200 – 110 Quarry Park Blvd SE

Calgary, Alberta.

Cost: No charge. Parking is free. Breakfast and lunch included.


Sponsored By: Emerson


Alberta’s oil and gas sector has historically experienced extremes of high and low commodity prices with a few periods of extended price stability. In the last few years, a perfect storm of events has resulted in an extremely challenging business environment for investing in Alberta oil and gas projects. Construction of new pipelines to access global markets is constrained and rail capacity is at maximum. A carbon tax levy was implemented by the Government of Alberta in 2017. The Government of Canada has replaced the National Energy Board (NEB) with the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) along with enacting new regulations which introduce significant uncertainty to energy projects requiring federal approval. Foreign multi-national energy companies continue to exit from Canada and redirect their capital spending to locations outside of Canada where there are more favourable investment opportunities. Most Canadian energy companies are halting investment in significant new assets.

These circumstances are driving a need for a more strategic approach to capital projects in Alberta. Previous downturns have yielded cost reductions but those gains have not been sustained through the “boom” periods. Furthermore, there are increasing levels of complexity with regulatory requirements and dealing with external stakeholders.

Session Objective:

The objective of this session is to identify key strategies which are sustainable through all capital investment market cycles in Alberta. There will be particular emphasis on project management’s relationship to the business, stakeholder management and “shaping” projects early in their lifecycle.

The workshop will explore the following topics as they relate to sustainable strategies:

  1. 1.Business Strategies

Fluctuating capital investment cycles present business risks and opportunities. The organization and culture of the operator are primary drivers of how its projects are organized and delivered. Project strategies must be consistent with business goals, mission, vision and values. Establishing social license is a pivotal business concern to effectively move major projects forward. Stakeholder engagement organizations require top management alignment and support.

  1. 2. Project Integration Management

Many projects suffer from lack of coordination between various functions and organizations. The stakeholder management function in owner organizations tends to be focused on external stakeholders while “internal” stakeholders such as partners, operations, drilling, etc. are often misaligned with project execution teams. Alignment of business strategies to project objectives and prioritization of project objectives are often overlooked or misunderstood. This topic addresses Project Integration Management as a critical aspect of formulating project development and execution strategies.

  1. 3.Project Execution Strategies

There are many project execution models. However, projects often default to the same execution approach as the last project without considering what strategies would be most effective. In this workshop we explore development of execution strategies which best suit each project’s objectives and whether one strategy may be suitable for all projects. By example, some organizations have been able to achieve sustainability by pragmatically applying a small project execution model to larger projects. In other cases, attempts to scale small project models have failed or significant factors such as localized risks were overlooked.

  1. 4. External Stakeholder Management Strategies

A primary cause of resistance to major capital investments is poor external stakeholder management and lack of social license. Meanwhile, ENGOs are skilled at finding ways to undermine social license. It is often beyond of the remit of a project team to get directly involved with external stakeholder management but the timing of key elements of project definition has an impact on stakeholder management. Effective external stakeholder management strategies require alignment with business goals, project objectives and are integral to project execution strategies.

  1. 5.Risk Management Strategies

Risk management is typically not done well on Alberta EPC projects. An effective risk management strategy is key to successful project development and execution. Prior to developing risk management plans, a Risk Management Strategy can be used to help facilitate alignment discussions with internal stakeholders, including partners, as well as affected external parties. Optimal use of sustainability practices reduces project risk.

Workshop Format

This workshop is a half day commitment for the participants.  A workbook will be sent out prior to the workshop so attendees can prepare. Participants will work in a group (table) of 4 to 6 people covering one of the topics above.  The results of the working session will be summarized in a whitepaper to be posted on the PMI-SAC website. The paper will be presented at a future PMI-SAC Professional Development Conference or dinner meeting.

The lead facilitator for the session is Greg Sillak.  Greg has been involved with facilitation of previous PMI-SAC EPC Roundtable sessions.  He is Principal Consultant with Acumen PMO and provides project management related consulting services.

How to Register

PMI-SAC is seeking qualified professionals from Owner companies, Industry consultants, Engineering contractors, Construction contractors and Academia to participate.  As this session will focus on developing strategies, participants will be required to have strong knowledge of, or direct experience with, formulating strategies related to EPC projects as applied to one or more of the above topics. If you have this qualification and are interested in attending, you will be asked to prepare a brief paragraph summarizing your applicable qualifications as part of the registration process. We will review all submissions and notify those who are confirmed to participate. Please click on the link below to begin registration.


emerson 2

Any suggestions for topics or to get on the mailing list for future meetings – Email: Communications@pmisac.com

Join EPC Roundtable LinkedIn Group

Join the PMI-SAC EPC Roundtable LinkedIn Group to learn more about upcoming topics for discussion and their outcomes.

Past Meetings and Whitepapers

Spring 2017 Cost Containment For Sustaining Capital Projects

Whitepaper – Cost Containment For Sustaining Capital Projects

With oil gas prices at the lowest levels in several years, industry focus has shifted from large greenfield capital projects needed for growth to smaller sustaining projects and cost containment. Accordingly, cost containment for sustaining capital projects was chosen as the theme for the 2017 PMI-SAC RoundTable Workshop. Participants included professionals from owners, EPC contractors, consultants and academia currently engaged in addressing the issues of containing costs for sustaining projects. Attendees addressed lessons learned and best practices across the following four key themes:

  • Use of Standardized Designs
  • Fit for Purpose Project Delivery Models
  • The Right Contracting Strategy
  • Managing the Cost of Continuous Improvement and Technology Adoption
Spring 2016 Best Practices for Claims Avoidance

Whitepaper – Best Practices for Claims Avoidance

To provide guidance for Capital Projects in mitigating the impact of claims, PMI-SAC’s EPC Round Table chose this for the topic for their May 2016 workshop. The workshop’s objective was to identify a set of Best Practices to avoid claims in construction projects. The session was attended by experienced professionals that are active in the area of construction claims. Contractors, Owners, Lawyers, Independent Consultants and Academics were all represented in the Workshop. Attendees were asked to examine five general themes that contribute to the majority of construction claims in detail:

  •  Lack of Proper Change Control
  • Failure of Owners to Meet Their Obligations
  • Unforeseen Site Conditions
  • Lack of Team Alignment
  • Poor Contractor Performance
Spring 2015   Project Optimization in a Downsizing Environment

Whitepaper – Project Optimization in a Downsizing Environment

Recent delays and cancellations of major capital projects in the energy sector have affected many of us that work in the oil and gas industry. We find ourselves in an environment where some projects are delayed, some are undergoing further study, or some that are cancelled altogether. The focus of this workshop is to identify how we and our project teams can best adapt to this changing landscape.

The workshop focused on 5 themes:
• Best Practices for Project Slow down and Restart
• Best Practices for Retaining Project Knowledge within the Organization
• Best Practices for Fit for Purpose Processes
• Organizational Strategies During Downturns
• How Do We Make Ourselves Invaluable to the Project Organization?

Spring 2014 Best Practices for Project Development

Whitepaper – Best Practices for Project Development

Activities performed during Front End Loading (FEL) phases of major construction projects by:
• Business Development (BD)
• Project Development (PD)
• Project Teams

The Roundtable developed best practices around three themes:
• Project Team Communications
• Obtaining Funding for Project Development
• Combining Business Competitiveness with Planning Realism

In the opinion of EPC Roundtable members, adoption of these Best Practices can:
• Improve coordination and reduce conflicts between Business Development and the Project Teams
• Improve predictability of project results
• Improve our portfolio management practices by funding projects that have the greatest benefit to the business

Spring 2013 Workshop Objective – Develop a Best Practice for Integrated Scheduling for Capital Projects in Alberta

White Paper – Best Practices for Integrated Scheduling

Discussion Points:
• Develop Competent Scheduling Resources
• Follow a Realistic Scheduling Plan
• Perform Detailed Schedule Reviews
• Integrate Subordinate Schedules During Execution
• Educate Stakeholders on Scheduling Practices

In the opinion of EPC Roundtable members, adoption of these Scheduling Best Practices can:
• Improve coordination and reduce conflicts between owners, contractors & stakeholders.
• Improve predictability of project in-service dates.
• Improve ability to forecast resource constraints through resource-loaded schedules.
• Better decisions by Project Management to steer the project to the best possible outcome.

Fall 2012   Project Control Best Practices for Mega Projects

Whitepaper – Project Control Best Practices for Mega Projects

Project Control Best Practices for Mega Projects (Relationship between PM & PC) – As we launch into another aggressive campaign of capital project activity in Alberta, will we continue to use the traditional project control owner/contractor relationship where the owner defines basic cost/schedule requirements and the contractor provides the bare minimum to meet these requirements? Or, will we strive to develop a more project focused approach that provides the project team accurate, timely and value added status and forecasting information?

Requests for Information and Change Orders during Construction – Despite our best efforts, RFIs and Change Orders are processed too slowly for our construction teams. The decision making and paperwork seems to hold back the physical construction activities as our Trades wait for clear direction from the Owner and Engineering contractor to resolve common site issues. What can we do to improve productivity at site by the responding in a timelier manner?

Can traditional processes be scalable for smaller projects or do we need to create new, more accommodating systems? – Recent benchmark details indicate that Alberta’s sustaining capital and maintenance project workload has or will shortly surpass the major project capital spending. Can traditional major project work processes, decision gates, project control and other related tools and techniques be scalable to the smaller project environments or do we need to create totally separate systems to address these small project portfolios?

Fall 2011   What Will Make the Difference the Next Time?

White Paper – What Will Make The Difference Next Time?

What should we do differently with regard to project planning and execution to ensure that projects do not suffer from the same issues experienced in the past or at least are prepared with some mitigating actions

  • Key Risk Management Strategies and Ownership of Risks
  • Structuring Contracts for Success – Reimbursable vs. Lump Sum – Pros and Cons
  • What is the right level of Owner involvement in the Engineering Design Process?
  • Techniques for earlier Operations involvement
  • How can Owners, Engineering and Construction companies ensure accurate quality documents?
  • How do we assure the accuracy of Project Cost Estimates?
  • How do we address project cost data collected over the past 5 years? Is the cost data of 2006-2008 relevant today?
  • Construction Labor Availability/Productivity – Lessons Learned during the boom construction years
  • How do we adjust our projects to deal with a limited supply of experienced field labor supervision?


Upcoming Events

Tue 26

PMI-SAC PMP and CAPM Certificate Study Group (Virtual)

May 26th @ 5:30 pm - August 11th @ 8:30 pm
Jun 02

Microsoft Project Professional – Workshop/Virtual (6 PDUs)

June 2nd @ 5:00 pm - June 4th @ 7:00 pm
Jun 18

Prompt Payment and Adjudication (1 PDU)

June 18th @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am


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