From left are Tarek Amine, Bechtel chief supply chain officer; Dylan Fulton, GSCS Sr. VP, Mark Estep, GSCS
Sr. VP, Chris Fannin, GSCS VP and Craig Albert, Bechtel president and COO.

GSCS receives Bechtel award for work at Shell PA Chemicals

Global Scaffold Construction Services (GSCS), Bartlett Group’s full-service union shop, is a recipient of Bechtel’s 2022 Global Supplier Award for the work it conducted at the massive Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals plant near Pittsburgh. Bechtel was the EPC firm over the project, where GSCS provided craft workers and supervision. The two firms worked closely to ensure all work was performed safely and met Shell’s expectations.

Bechtel’s award recognized business partners that have supported Bechtel’s projects across the globe. 

“Strong supplier relationships are essential to our work and the resilience of our supply chain. At Bechtel, we are proud to partner with companies who share our values and our mission,” said Tarek Amine, chief supply chain officer with Bechtel. “Each recipient of Bechtel’s Global Supplier Award is a business that has provided outstanding materials and service to our projects around the world and is critical to our ability to innovate and deliver for our customers.”

The October 27 ceremony was Bechtel’s first in-person gathering to honor suppliers since the onset of COVID-19. Bechtel said that the pandemic showed how essential supply chains are, and it exposed how fragile they can be, too. The strength and quality of its supplier relationships proved crucial when overcoming challenges from the pandemic. 

“The companies honored at the ceremony persevered, and together, we continued to deliver for our customers at a time when it was most critical,” Amine said.

The 42 companies honored spanned six different countries, representing Bechtel’s reach across many markets including energy, infrastructure, nuclear, security and environmental, mining and metals, equipment, technology and logistics.  

Recipients were evaluated on multiple factors, including overall performance, ability to deliver quality services and supplies on time, ability to work collaboratively to meet milestones, and meeting or exceeding project expectations in aspects of safety, performance, technical expertise and environmental compliance. Importantly, Bechtel’s supply chain partners are committed to responsible procurement procedures, continued innovation, and increasing economic opportunities in their communities.

GSCS at Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals

Under the direction of GSCS VP Chris Fannin, GSCS utilized peak manpower of 770 individuals and recorded over 3.75 million man-hours at the project, which was completed in August 2022. GSCS provided craft services including carpenters, pipefitters, operating engineers, electricians, ironworkers, painters, bricklayers and teamsters. GSCS’ specialty rope access division was also on-site, performing the most unprecedented work in its history. GSCS had no recordable incidents at the site during the four+ years it was on location.

“Chris and his team have been able to deliver an unparalleled execution on the project with world-class safety, quality and performance,” said Bartlett Group Senior VP Mark Estep. “Both Shell and Bechtel have been great business partners for the Bartlett Group over the years, and I look forward to future endeavors with these two organizations as we navigate the volatile markets ahead.”

“Our model is simple,” Estep said. “We combine the finest projects available with quality union labor and an effective management team to meet or exceed the objectives of our customers.” He added that GSCS “has been able to dramatically reduce overall project costs while improving safety and increasing overall productivity.”

Rope access was the only feasible means to do various tasks at the end phase of the project after the scaffold had been removed. Rope access provided the customer with skilled union craftsmen, who were able to access the most out of reach areas and perform skilled work in their fields of expertise — in a fraction of the time it would take to rebuild scaffold. 

 Historically, rope-access groups have been non-union. Their presence in the U.S. Northeast had been unknown on union construction sites up until this project. Normally, rope access had been limited to testing, inspections or non-craft specific work. Rope access was taken to a new level of craftsmanship at the Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals site.

Key project facts

The Shell Pennsylvania Chemicals complex converts ethane into ethylene, and then into polyethylene. The ethane is conveniently being supplied from the Marcellus Shale play, which is located throughout the northern Appalachian Basin. The complex has the capacity to produce 1.6 million metric tons per year of polyethylene. Plant output should be near design capacity by the end of 2022.

Up to 6,000 workers were on-site during peak construction. That number has been reduced to around 600 now that the plant is operational. There were also thousands of indirect jobs at the 780-acre complex. The petrochemical plant consists of an ethylene cracker, three polyethylene units and a cogeneration plant.          

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