The first thing that strikes you on entering the shop floor of Ezeflow is the constant hum of working machines, the heat of the giant furnace, the quenching noise of hot metal touching cold water, and the nonstop forklift ballet that moves around parts of the butt weld fittings the Quebec company has been manufacturing since the 1980s. The whole place is abuzz with activity.
Ezeflow has made a name for itself in the oil and gas industry, thanks to the quality of its products, quick delivery times and a worldwide reach. The family-owned business has experienced a sharp increase in activity over the past five years, fuelled in large part by orders from pipeline companies such as TransCanada.
“We produce large-diametre butt weld fittings for the pipeline industry and we have been doing so for the last 25 years with pride and passion,” CEO Pierre Latendresse said of Ezeflow, which employs 400 people. “We have worked with TransCanada for over two decades and this relationship has helped us not only sustain our activity but also raise our production standards to the most stringent quality levels.”
About 200 people work at Ezeflow’s historic plant of Granby, located 80 kilometres east of Montreal. They work shifts on the 24/7 shop floor, and many work on pipeline fittings – the parts used in a piping system to connect sections of pipes together and allow a change in direction or a branching – which now represent roughly half of Ezeflow’s annual revenue.
There is no doubt in the mind of Latendresse or his employees that the Energy East project will be a good thing for the company. As one of TransCanada’s trusted suppliers, Ezeflow stands to benefit from the 4,500-kilometre pipeline project that will connect Alberta to New Brunswick and carry as much as one million barrels of oil every day.
“Energy East is an important project for Ezeflow and the Granby region. It will help maintain 50 jobs here at the plant and it will generate major benefits for the business community and our suppliers in the region,” Latendresse said, insisting on how important it is for him to keep highly-skilled and well-paid jobs in the community of 70,000.
The Energy East Pipeline Project is expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect full-time jobs across the country during development and construction. Some of these jobs will be in Quebec, and the additional activity that is expected at Ezeflow is just one example of how Energy East will support businesses across the country.
TransCanada has already spent millions of dollars in Quebec and other provinces to support the development of Energy East, and this is just a beginning. We will continue to work to make the benefits of the project a reality.
We will do this and ensure we do it safely. And Safety starts with our choice of materials and equipment used to build the pipeline. This is why we set the highest quality standards for our suppliers and ensure – through systematic controls and testing – that these are met.
“We work in an industry where quality standards are not a nice to-have but an obligation,” says Michel Trépanier who oversees production, supply chain and quality control at Ezeflow. Trépanier says TransCanada gives Ezeflow precise specifications on the strength of the steel and its resistance to factors such as extreme temperatures, for example.
“For our employees, each butt weld fitting is a piece of art and they feel great pride to have manufactured it,” Trépanier says. “The quality standards demanded by TransCanada are among the highest in the pipeline industry, and we are all proud to be able to meet those standards.”