Check Out What We’re Doing in Prince Rupert!

Check Out What We’re Doing in Prince Rupert!

New Grain Container Stuffing Facility

grain container

Ray-Mont Logistics called Mainland when they wanted to complete a challenging and time sensitive project.

Ray-Mont Logistics is expanding and taking advantage of new transportation routes opening up in Prince Rupert. A new partnership between Ray-Mont Logistics, CN and the Port of Prince Rupert will see the development and building of a new grain container stuffing facility up and running for the 2017/2018 grain crop.

Located on Ridley Island, in the Road, Rail & Utility Corridor, it is the only unit train stuffing facility on Canada’s West Coast. A large endeavor for all involved, it will be capable of handling unit trains and pulse crops for container stuffing and forwarding to final destination.

We are very happy to be working alongside Ray-Mont on this entrepreneurial move to set up the first of it’s kind facility on the West Coast, and are looking forward to continued collaborating on the project.

This is a time sensitive project, with Engineering starting in February and the new facility to be commissioned in September.

We look forward to sharing more as the project advances!

Exciting New Partnership with Zeroday Enterprises

Announcing New Partnership with Zeroday Enterprises

Mainland Machinery Ltd and Zeroday Enterprises LLC are pleased to announce a partnership to advance Zeroday’s chemical mixing and feeding technology. As of August 9, 2016 Mainland has been named the exclusive distributor and manufacturer of Zeroday’s Z ChemGear product line of flocculant, chemical and regeant mixing and feeding systems!

Mainland and Zeroday Partnership

Zeroday is an industry technology leader in process, water and wastewater treatment, and brings extensive chemical knowledge and experience used in designing quality, effective and robust chemical mixing-feeding systems. Mainland has over 45 years of value added manufacturing and engineering experience with involvement in diverse industries such as mining, oil & gas, municipal infrastructure, industrial agriculture and ports & terminals. The mutually supportive skills and core capabilities of each partner will enhance business competitiveness, capabilities and product line strength.

Mainland and Zeroday Partnership

With locations in Wilsonville, Oregon and Abbotsford, B.C., we will continue to sell and support systems globally through EPCM, third party vendors and directly to customers. Canadian sourcing is expected to make the mix-feed systems much more competitive.

Zeroday’s Principal, Bill Hancock, is internationally recognized for his expertise in mineral processing technology and water treatment, and holds patents in flocculation and flotation applications. Bill will be involved in product line, sales and technical support, as well as independently promoting product line sales.

Mainland is pleased to be working alongside Zeroday Enterprises to produce innovative and cutting edge technologies! And Zeroday is excited about partnering with Mainland who will provide greater engineering and fabrication resources and expertise.

To inquire about products to meet your floc system neeeds, please contact

To learn more about Zeroday, see their website

New Maintenance Inspection Program

Maintenance Inspection Program

Mainland Machinery is happy to introduce our new Maintenance Inspection Program.

With over 45 years in Industrial Manufacturing and Maintenance, and knowledgeable staff that are attentive to detail, we are well versed in what is needed to keep facilities operating at their best.

Built with the primary goal of providing our customers an overall assessment of the condition of their facility, we are able to provide insight and suggestions on preventative, corrective, perfective and adaptive maintenance.

Contact us now to schedule your Plant Maintenance Visit at an introductory rate

Equipment Installation Services

With services ranging from Installation to Commissioning and Decommissioning, we are capable of taking on mechanical installations or special installation projects. Our field personnel have a wide range of industry experience and are comfortable working in any environment.

Learn more about our Equipment Installation. Commissioning and Decommissioning services

Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Films at Mainland Machinery

Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Films at Mainland Machinery

Yesterday Mainland Machinery was excited to host Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas and his crew as they filmed our shop as part of his upcoming Constituency Video. MLA Plecas was first here a few weeks ago, touring and learning about Mainland’s 45 year history in the community and the work that we do. We were honored when Darryl asked that we would be a part of his upcoming Constituency Video. The video will be highlighting various companies and organizations in the area.

As our President, Paul Hiebert said “Really appreciate the effort of Darryl Plecas to highlight companies in his constituency!”

We look forward to seeing the finished product, and will be sure to share it once it is ready. In the meantime, here are a few “behind the scenes” photos from the shoot!

Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas

Business Risks That Threaten the Mining Industry

mining industryBusiness Risks That Threaten the Mining Industry

No industry is immune to business risks that threaten its members’ ability to continue operating efficiently and cost effectively, while remaining competitive within their market. It is no secret that the mining industry has been especially hard hit with challenges as it has sought to expand during the past decade. Increased regulation, economic instability, price volatility and political unrest throughout the world are just some of the factors behind the following business risks that are threatening the mining industry in 2015.

Risks that Have Remained Consistent for the Mining Industry

As participants in the mining industry sought opportunities for growth at any cost during the past decade, their overall productivity has significantly declined as a result. While some have tried to address this loss with cost-cutting measures, this has continued to increase losses due to productivity. The enormity of this problem calls for solutions that transform how companies are doing their business overall, including:

  • Increasing automation
  • Reassessing their mining methods
  • Updating and reconfiguring their equipment fleet
  • Changing their mine plans

As credit markets tighten, capital allocation and access remain a business risk to both major and junior entrants in the mining industry. While major producers are in the best position for continued growth because of their increased commitment to capital discipline, new or junior entrants to the industry often find their access to capital limited. This inability to raise equity will put many into survival mode or force them to leave the industry entirely. As a result, smaller companies may be forced to:

  • Seek to be acquired by larger companies
  • Consolidate with other small companies to pool their resources
  • Halt exploration, which limits potential business growth
  • Institute lay-offs and operate with minimal staff

Emerging Challenges to Watch for in the Mining Industry

The mining industry’s access to water and energy is essential for many of its operations and projects. Rising energy costs and unreliable power supplies are a growing threat. This threat further increases in countries where these resources are in limited supply, including those with emerging economies. This puts the industry at odds with governments and communities who are struggling to function with these limited resources, in addition to their environmental concerns. In order to deal with this risk, the industry needs to:

  • Become more sustainable by taking advantage of renewable energy sources
  • Switch to more resource-efficient operations that will lessen their environmental impact on communities
  • Develop solutions that will reduce their dependence on water

Of growing importance for those in the mining industry is to maintain their appeal to not just their shareholders, but also all stakeholders in general so that they can maintain a social license to operate (SLTO). Increased environmental awareness can threaten project acceptance by means of protests, violence and sabotage in communities that maintain a high SLTO. This can lead to blocking or significantly delaying projects if this license is lost. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the right controls are in place to promote stakeholder acceptance, including:

  • Acting responsibly by maintaining commitments and acknowledging the community’s concerns
  • Sharing an equitable amount of the benefits obtained from the project with the community
  • Addressing employee concerns concerning wages, safety, imported labor and job security

As with any industry, risks are always to be expected, as it is just the nature of doing business. However, the mining industry can benefit by taking a proactive stance against these risks that threaten its existence, instead of remaining in a consistently reactive state.

Play it Smart in the Intelligent Oil Field

Play it Smart in the Intelligent Oil Field

To rapidly move forward in the competitive upstream oil and gas sector, companies need to develop a comprehensive hybridized skill-set comprised of production processes and information technology.

While competition for natural resources is driving exploration for oil and gas to extremely remote locations, business leaders are looking for ways to improve production and yields, monitor and improve business operations, improve quality, and ensure worker and environmental safety.

These business leaders are well aware that the environment is growing increasingly unpredictable, locations more demanding, and the business challenges more convoluted.

IOF Defined

In the Intelligent Oil Field (IOF) however, business leaders are now capable of processing mountains of information quickly and efficiently in unprecedented ways.  Where decision support once may have taken days to process, it is now within hours that executives can expect to differentiate between beneficial new initiatives and dead-end projects, then deciding whether or not to give their approval.

IOF is known by many names, including “Digital Oilfield”, “Field o’ the Future”, “i-Field”, “e-Field”, “Real-time Ops”, and “Real-time Optimization”.  Also well-known is how IOF can reduce the uncertainties of the looming “great crew change” and ever-increasing project complexity. IOF shows great promise for a future of higher productivity, increased recovery, lower costs and reduced health, safety and environmental exposure.

Combining People, Processes and IT

According to a Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) study, the benefits of the Intelligent Oil Field can include lower operational costs, earlier and increased production, lower capital investment, increased recovery of oil and gas, and finally lower abandonment costs.

By enabling redefined and proactive asset management and using frequently captured and distributed data converted into relevant knowledge, all critical data for decision support can be evaluated and acted upon effectively in real time.

In other words, huge amounts of sensor data can be delivered to technicians who can then remotely analyze the data, convert it to accessible, meaningful knowledge and distribute it accordingly.

By using predictive analytics, companies no longer have to maintain unwieldy data stores and thereby allow raw data to remain at the source.

According to Emerson Process Management, when you have the right information delivered to the right person at the right time, you’re able to:

  • Identify risky operating conditions and provide guidance on how to resolve critical safety issues;
  • Provide true real-time operational data to onshore operations centers, thereby reducing the cost and risk of offshore staffing;
  • Share data with subject matter experts, regardless of location;
  • Enable dynamic production optimization – including model predictive control – to ensure repeatable, safe, and profitable operating strategies
  • Identify changes in equipment performance to proactively resolve problems and avoid failures;
  • Remotely monitor real-time asset health for predictive maintenance practices, allowing prioritization and planning of maintenance trips offshore at the best cost and schedule;
  • Provide specific, targeted information to maintenance personnel on equipment problems, including which tools, parts, and work processes are required to correct problems;
  • Streamline compliance documentation and reporting.

Not a Cookie-Cutter Approach

Less than 30 years ago personal computers were first introduced into the workplace. At that time, a production engineer’s only data source was located on an operator’s clipboard or in a stack of old, daily reports found in a file cabinet.

It took weeks to route an Authority for Expenditure (AFE) for any type of well or facility work. Planning, scheduling and implementing a simple work-over took weeks to months.  These factors and many advancements since have set the stage for use of IOF.

Promise for the Future

Although IOF is not a cure-all, it is capable of addressing many current and future issues facing the upstream oil and gas industry. Implementation of Intelligent Oil Fields should be designed with the exact nature of the need and the status quo in mind.

In other words, there is a large probability that no two IOF programs will be identical as there are no two wells in the world that are exactly alike.

The New Wave of Energy Crowdfunding

energy crowdfundingThe New Wave of Energy Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding projects seem to know no bounds. With platforms like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and RocketHub springing up all over the Internet, the power of the group has taken many movies, games, toys, and even bioluminescent plants into solid reality.

Now, oil and gas startups are getting into the mix, with hopes of shaking up “the big six”.

For new entrepreneurs lacking deep pockets, crowd funding offers the opportunity to compete with existing oil and gas companies. Plus, since they’re starting from scratch, there’s nothing to stop them from exploring alternative energy sources and making them financially viable.

The market is there, and is already powerful. Crowdfunders raised $2.7 billion worldwide in 2012 for more than a million individual projects.

Governments are also eager for the success of crowd funding. The United Kingdom government, for example, has hopes of attracting 75 billion pounds in low-carbon fuel sources by 2020. Crowdfunders could cover up to 50% of that goal.

In Germany, citizen-owned renewables, in particular wind farms, already make up a significant market share. With 25% of their energy coming from renewables and nearly half of those sources owned by the public, German citizens invested 137 billion in renewables over the last 8 years.

Stateside, the country’s largest solar power provider predicts heavy crowd funding involvement in rooftop solar panelling, with a projected $5 billion investment in the next five years.

Oil and gas companies have good reason to get into the mix as well. New companies can diversify their interests more easily using crowd funding, and by bringing the public into investing, companies add a new level of transparency to their business. Trust built by transparency would benefit reputable operators and their businesses.

New companies aren’t the only potential beneficiaries either as big oil and gas companies could modify existing contracts to accommodate crowd funding. Either way, investors win. By providing a low-cost buy in with potentially high returns, new drilling efforts offer investors the chance to diversity and protect themselves from losses, just as any oil and gas company might.

Small Players, Big Goals

The new crowdfunding energy market has several small players, all hoping to shake up energy as we know it. Here are a few of the start-ups trying their hands at crowd funding:

  • – EnergyFunders is a site devoted to raising money exclusively for energy projects. They allow investors to browse through projects, and offer a documented investment process.
  • Symbid – Symbid is a Dutch firm that offers crowdfunding for junior mining companies and oil and gas exploration companies where the traditional investment banks won’t go. They are offering direct equity funding which is normally not allowed for smaller investors within North America.
  • EAFunds – Energy Access Funds is a startup firm that has created an online marketplace for the oil and gas industry in the US and Canada. As investments into the energy sectors are mostly limited to pension funds or even endowments, EAFunds allows individuals to be able to invest in oil and gas industry opportunities.
  • – Crudefunders was created to allow any size investors to invest in new explorations and drillings. They are more active in only including opportunities that meet their minimum criteria for investment.

Is There a Glass Ceiling in the Oil and Gas Industry?

Glass Ceiling in the Oil and Gas IndustryIs There a Glass Ceiling in the Oil and Gas Industry for Women?

Canada has been known to promote gender equality in both the business world and in society. However, a report published by Oxfam indicates otherwise. It has been found that progress for women in the Canadian economy has stalled and, in many cases, moved backwards. The existence of a glass ceiling for women is an unspoken truth in the business world.

This gender inequality is even more evident in the oil and gas industry. A study in 2011 indicated that nearly one third of publicly traded energy companies had no women in executive positions or as members of the board. As much as efforts have been made to break the theoretical ceiling, the energy industry seems to be missing the mark.

The lack of equality advancement in the oil and gas sector could exist for many reasons, including current industry executives being from a previous generation and a general lack of female interest in the industry.

Fortunately, there are a few notable successes in the advancement of women working in the energy sector. For example, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) finally had their first Chairwoman, Kathy Sendall, after 15 years of exclusively male leaders. And in May of 2007, Bonnie Dupont, became the first woman to be the president of the Calgary Petroleum Club.

Cracking the glass

In a recent PWC study of women in board positions in the field, it was found that businesses with women on the board and in senior management positions generally have better financial performance and higher profitability.

Despite this, a survey of the 100 largest gas and oil companies saw only 11% of board seats held by women. This ratio is second only to the mining industry in terms of male domination. The average board surveyed held 11 seats, including two executive seats. Of these, 13% were women in non-executive seats and barely 1% in executive positions. Of the women who do hold seats in management, very few have a chance at the board director seat – suggesting the presence of a ceiling even in the highest levels of business.

In order to change attitudes and open doors for women, industry insiders have started to change attitudes early. They have started by working with universities since 2010 in increasing the recruitment of female engineering students. The Schulich School of Engineering has had success with their website –, created to pair female professional engineers with prospective female students to promote an increase in participation in the engineering field. Their goal is to foster corporate leadership, community involvement, and most importantly, to encourage women who are considering pursuing related careers.

Personal Deterrents

One possibility of better upward movement for women is to include additional technical subjects throughout their studies so that they are better equipped to move directly into the oil and gas field upon graduation.

Additionally, companies should seek to keep employees happy, as many are beginning to opt ‘out’ of their field instead of ‘up’ within the business. Better support for women, through mentorship and communication, during their time in the leadership pipeline can also prepare them for upper management roles and to support their pursuit of upward movement. Retention of employees through this support is a key factor in keeping qualified women in the field.

Take This Job & Love It! Retaining Oil and Gas Millennials

retaining oil and gas millennials

Take This Job & Love It! Retaining Oil and Gas Millennials

There is no doubt about it – in order for the oil and gas industry to meet the growing demand for energy, they need to formulate effective strategies to attract and engage the industry’s newest resource: Generation Y or Millennials (born between 1980 to early 2000). You may well ask why.  If you’ve been working in upstream oil and gas for over 20 years, chances are you will be looking to retire in the not-too-distant future. This is exactly what corporate leaders in the oil and gas sector have been concerned about for the past decade or so – the pool of talent with all the requisite skills is diminishing, due in most cases to natural attrition and in some cases from incentives to jump ship to other employers.

Although many jobs in the oil and gas sector are highly technical and require skills and experience that are unable to be filled by ordinary means, the industry is looking to replenish their dwindling talent pool by attracting millennials.  Oil and gas employees are responsible for making big decisions that have huge financial consequences — one wrong decision might cost a company millions in a single day. For this reason, upstream oil and gas must ensure that the millennials who are potential employees are engaged, sufficiently trained and able to make autonomous decisions.

How did we get here?    

The current lack of sufficient employees in the oil and gas sector wasn’t helped by the industry’s hibernation for most of the 1980s and 1990s. During those two decades hiring in the industry ground to a halt, and as a natural result universities and colleges dropped petroleum programs from their calendars. Fast-forward 30 years and the demand for energy is at an all-time high.  Universities and colleges have appropriately shifted gears and are producing new graduates that are recruited on-campus.  Oil and gas industry CEOs are acutely aware of the evaporating pool of talent with specialized skills that keep their respective organizations competitive.  There’s only one problem – new hires lack the experience that will ensure they make sound decisions. Employers are also concerned that once a new employee has gained adequate experience they may be persuaded to take a job offer from one of their competitors.

Retention Strategies

As with most recruitment campaigns, a good strategy begins with capturing the hearts and minds of the people you wish to attract.  How is this done with millennials? For one thing, employers need a change of organizational mindset to embrace the notion that millennials are looking to complement their lifestyle with their job instead of the other way around.  For example, if you’re looking to populate work camps for an extended period, the millennials’ quality of life is paramount.

Work/Life Integration

What do millennials want?  In studies such as the PwC 14th Annual CEO Survey, the findings show that millennials value work/life integration more than the conventional balancing act of job and the rest of your time. This is what a laundry list of millennial requirements might look like:

  • Premium accommodations at Work Camp sites instead of requiring workers to find local hotels, motels and trailer parks;
  • Emphasis on healthy eating by providing in-house nutrition specialists and premium dining facilities;
  • Adequate sleep by bringing in experts to facilitate a good night’s sleep for the high-risk jobs of rig workers;
  • Exercise facilities and Wi-Fi hotspots;
  • Encouraging open social networks without the need to monitor usage;
  • Mentorship programs that bring millennials and leaders together.

Next Steps

All of these steps sound expensive to implement, but when you consider that the cost of replacing an experienced professional or technical resource is approximately one-and-one-half times their annual salary, the issue takes on a much clearer perspective.  Remember that the specific skills required in the oil and gas industry don’t allow for seamless transferring-in from other industry sectors, no matter how similar.

In short, with the impending loss of institutional knowledge there is an urgent need for companies in the upstream oil and gas industry to update their approach to recruiting, developing, deploying and connecting their people.

Strategies to Address the Energy Industry Talent Gap

energy industry talent gapStrategies to Address the Energy Industry Talent Gap

Oil and gas companies are facing an industry-wide skills gap across various occupations, and this has the energy sector scrambling to implement long-term solutions to widen their available talent pools and better adapt the existing workforce for an ever-expanding industry.

With more than 50% of the current workforce, mainly consisting of technical specialists and senior managers, being eligible for retirement in 2015, the oil and gas industry is facing a series of complications. These include a lack of adequately skilled employees capable of replacing said retirees, competition over a restricted talent pool and a lack of prospective university students interested in petroleum engineering

The ‘Brain Drain’ – a term referring to the loss of skilled and educated individuals to other locations, motivated by higher pay or preferable conditions – is real and is causing a complex, multi-faceted, and ever-looming problem. Overall, a global shortage of technical talent has been forecasted in the oil and gas industry, with only Europe and Australia seeing a surplus.

Before the crisis can be averted it’s necessary to know where the industry stands. Only after such analysis can the issues begin to be addressed directly and the long-term plans and goals be implemented in an effort to reverse the Brain Drain into a Brain Gain.

Taking a Look at the Problem

A 2014 survey conducted by KPMG in collaboration with Rigzone uncovered largely overlooked issues contributing to the talent shortage. The survey analysis consisted of over 2,000 energy sector professionals in a broad cross-section of the industry.
Through its findings, four problem areas were discovered:
1. connection and communication,
2. age and generational gaps,
3. application of technology,
4. and resource development collaboration.

The report outlines the general approach to each of these problems and potential ways of addressing them.

Proposing Solutions

With all the complexities in mind, the problem simply reduces to a need to increase human capital in the industry in a comprehensive and cooperative way.

In his address to the 2013 Petronas International Human Capital Summit, Jay Doherty, partner and co-founder of Mercer Workforce Sciences Institute, highlighted key issues regarding the deficit in human capital and provided the following insight into the solution pathways provided by workforce planning.

Expanding on Connections and Improving Communication

The strongest need that organizations are currently facing is ensuring that their workforce is capable of performing expected job functions. This is pressuring companies to devote resources into recruitment, resource development, and improving how their existing workforce is utilized.

The key to meeting this need is to broaden how connections and communications are made. Internal communication needs to be formalized in order to promote collaboration in corporate culture. Over the last seven years, oil and gas firms have seen a 12% drop in talent building, as they rely more and more on buying out existing employees from other firms, or other industries. It is vital that companies focus on building talent from within, as opposed to perpetually looking outwards.

External hiring from universities remains stagnant at roughly 10%, while hiring employees from competitors continues to grow, and represents just over 45% of new hires. University recruiting can be bolstered by closer participation with institutions by helping design curriculums that meet the needs of the industry in order to attract and produce more graduates in a given specialty. The use of recruitment specialists can help screen and integrate graduates into corporate culture. Training and development must be focused on internally to develop a talented pool of professionals for internal recruitment and talent retention.

Another alternative to tackling this issue is it to integrate technology by means of Internet job boards and social media tools. Job boards are used to fill just under 19% of open positions in the industry, and can be further utilized and expanded on to attract new graduates. Additionally, social media can widen the pool of potential applicants. The various mediums allow employers to promote discussion of company events, industry achievements and plans for future developments. This can be a powerful tool for connecting to a large audience who may recall a company when considering choices for future employment.

Bridging the Age Gap Will in Effect Bridge the Talent Gap

The generational gaps between each segment of the workforce are largely overlooked. These gaps are between the Pre and Post-Baby Boomer era, as well Generations X and Y. The gaps are evident in the differences in approaches to learning, addressing authority, adoption of new technologies, and the kind of experience that only comes with time – creating a standard process to bridge these gaps is no easy task.

Companies must find a way to ensure that the older and retiring workforce passes on its knowledge to the younger workforce in order to utilize years of knowledge with new technologies and a modern mindset. Viable options include implementing knowledge-sharing and training programs that are able to filter out experience-based knowledge versus opinions.

Implementing New Technology for the New Workforce

Embracing technology into the recruitment process is paramount. Collection of “Big Data” with the use of business intelligence software will help forecast future workforce needs, as well as being able to compare labour force demand, and how it ties into matching and comparing occupational labour market data by cross-referencing skills and experience requirements. Such tools can be used to map out and plan career paths, as well as help in restructuring internal labour market analysis.

Ditching Recruitment Poaching for Cross-Industry Collaboration

In its study, KPMG found that the industry’s top risk assessments were difficulty in recruiting from the competition, as well as losing existing talent to its competitors (risk levels were assessed at about 3.4 and 3.7, out of 5, respectively).

Rather than focusing on competitive recruitment strategies, companies can differentiate themselves in how they operate. Companies must collaborate on how to identify and take advantage of labour capital with geographical and skill set considerations in mind. In essence, the industry needs to make the initiative in developing potential resources to widen the overall talent pool and serve the entire energy sector as a whole, in other words: mutually-assured prosperity.

These various solutions to the four main problems in the energy industry talent gap are the stepping stones to a brighter future. By adapting their practices and procedures to include and implement these ideas, companies put themselves in a position to take the lead in the industry and maintain a competitive edge. Both the labour market and the energy industry must begin addressing and overcoming this challenge before it’s too late.