NANA Construction builds new MagTec camp for Slope
New facilities are still being built for the North Slope. The latest trend is in camps and camp expansions for contractors and service companies who are now hard-pressed for “bed space” for their workers.
Most of the work happening on the Slope is related to maintenance and upkeep of aging oil production infrastructure, but it’s enough to keep the service industry hopping — and working — in crowded conditions.
The latest is that NANA Construction LLC has completed a new 58-bed camp for Kenai-based MagTec Alaska, a provider of equipment and equipment service for the Slope. The camp includes kitchen, dining and recreation facilities for up to 150.
NANA built the camp in 31 modules at its new Big Lake fabrication facility in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough north of Anchorage. The modules were trucked to the North Slope and assembled at MagTec’s site, according to C.O. Green, NANA Construction vice president and general manager.
NANA Construction is a four-year old company that is a subsidiary of NANA Development Corp., which is owned by NANA Regional Corp. of Kotzebue.
NANA’a fabrication facility is on a 36-acre tract off Big Lake Road and consists of five buildings, each specialized to a different task including heavy industrial modules and lighter commercial-type modules where the MagTec camp was built.
The plant was built in 2008 and 2009, and additions and improvements are still being made, Green said.
“Two years ago we saw an opportunity to expand our facilities to enter the camp fabrication business. The market was underserviced. We moved fast, investing in new capabilities, and now our vision has become a reality. This camp (for MagTec) is just the tip of the iceberg for our business,” Green said.
The market for heavy industrial-type plant modules is well served by a number of local fabricators, although NANA’s plant is capable of building these, too.
Also, there has been a general slowdown in building industrial modules because there is little current development of new oil production facilities on the Slope. Most of the work is focused on maintenance.
However, the lighter camp module market was growing, a niche NANA is exploiting, because contractors and service companies want to replace and expand older camps.
The only competition for this segment of the market is Builders’ Choice, a housing-unit fabrication company with a plant in south Anchorage that has previously built modular homes, and Alberta-based ATCO.
For example, veteran Slope service companies Halliburton and Schumberger are upgrading and consolidating their facilities.
Green said he has work under way on new camps including one that will house 82 workers. The company is capable of building up to six large- to medium-scale, full-service camps each year.
There is enough business on hand to keep 75 to 100 people working through the end of the year, he said. NANA Construction is also putting bids in on new camps that could allow the workforce to expand to 150 next year.
Building the large modules at Big Lake instead of Anchorage saves customers time and money since they don’t require the extra oversize load or “Hours of Darkness” permits needed for transportation between Anchorage and Wasilla, Green said.
“The location of NANA Construction’s fabrication shop greatly reduced our costs and played a large factor in the bid selection,” said Roger Wilson, MagTec Alaska’s North Slope Operations Manager. “There were two sets of transportation numbers and the Big Lake departure point changed that number dramatically from the other bidders.”
The Big Lake area was chosen for NANA’s facility because of the Valley’s available work force and has added a training facility at the site that will open later this month.
The oil sector has been a very important customer for NDC for more than 30 years, said Luke Sampson, chairman of NANA Development Corp.’s board.
“We knew to continue serving the industry we needed to invest in new capabilities. We see a long future ahead of us with our expanded facilities,” Sampson said.
NANA Development’s president Helvi Sandvik said “NANA Construction is also committed to growing Alaska’s work force, and our new training facility is a great opportunity to educate our shareholders for good-paying, skilled jobs.”
NANA Regional Corp. is the Alaska Native regional corporation for Northwest Alaska. The company has been active for years in North Slope service industries including camp support and maintenance, and is the landowner and a major service provider at the Red Dog Mine north of Kotzebue, one of the world’s largest lead and zinc mines.
Tim Bradner can be reached at [email protected].