Battling the elements

Efforts to construct utility plants are often mired with significant problems caused by humans and nature alike. When extreme weather conditions are added to this the challenge, the project's likelihood of failing increases. To realize such an effort successfully demands experienced project leadership. This article profiles Suncor Energy's Firebag (Canada) oil cogeneration facility, a project selected as a 2007 PMI Project of the Year Finalist. In doing so, it describes how the project leadership led a team working in Arctic weather and through many sunless days to construct an 80-megawatt-per-day power plant three months ahead of schedule and significantly under budget. It discusses the project's objective and the project team's primary challenges. It explains how the project leaders addressed the shortages of workers and qualified managers and vendors; it overviews how the project leaders cut labor and installation costs through non-traditional work processes. It also identifies the two key elements that en
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