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Huge project landed by Behlen will keep it busy for years

In this June 2013 photo, a large metal truss sits assembled in a field at Behlen Industries as a mock-up for an order that will be sent to Russia.

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In this June 2013 photo, a large metal truss sits assembled in a field at Behlen Industries as a mock-up for an order that will be sent to Russia.

A gigantic oilfield develpment project for Shell will keep Brandon's Behlen Industries working at full-throttle for the next two years.

The project, which Behlen says will be done with Edmonton-based NWS Construction, will require Behlen to deliver two or three buildings every month to Shell's Carmon Creek heavy oil development near Peace River, Alta. They've contracted for a total of 31 buildings, with the first ones being built as early as this December.

"This is a huge job, which will keep our plant working at full capacity for many months," said Sean Lepper, vice president and general manager at Behlen. "That means more work for Behlen employees and more jobs during the winter when we’re typically slow."

It's the biggest job in Behlen history, although the company says that recently completed automation at their Brandon plant will allow them to do some of the work robotically, expanding their plant's capacity and opening the door to future large contracts.

Despite the robots, this job means new jobs in Brandon, according to Behlen, whch already employs more than 300 people here, making it one of the city's larger employers.

All buildings will be manufactured in Behlen’s plant in Brandon and shipped to the construction site for NWS.

The Carmon Creek project, currently under construction, will produce about 80,000 barrels of oil per day. The heavy industrial buildings required for the site will need to be built stronger than a typical industrial building, created with reinforced steel and suitable to house heavy equipment.

Behlen says its building system will allow the structures to meet the strength requirement while keeping wide open interiors without columns, perfect to house large equipment. 

The Carmon Creek project is just one of Behlen’s recent success stories. Last year the company manufactured the largest convex-style frameless steel building in the world to house an international-sized soccer field and bleachers in Russia. Behlen also opened its first office outside of North America in Moscow late last year.

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