Until alternative and renewable energy options can be made more affordable and effective, petroleum remains modern society’s most feasible option. Yet safe and environmentally conscious storage, both for oil and its by-products, is a persistent issue.
In Alberta, a new company is working to fill this need. Prolium Industries is rapidly establishing its name and becoming an important part of the oil and gas industry.
Prolium entered the field in 2013 when President and Co-Founder Brad Cruikshank joined the team. “We were fortunate that we had a large market in Canada’s oil and gas sector, and we just saw a niche in the industry,” he says.
While some of Canada’s largest businesses are engaged in this sector, Cruikshank and his colleagues noticed the vital service of oil tank cleaning and maintenance was not adequately met. “There was certainly a shortage of contractors,” he admits, “and so our clients weren’t necessarily getting a custom-tailored solution to what they were looking for in our line of business.”
Just four years later, Prolium has expanded to fill this niche while enjoying a swift rise to prominence in one of Canada’s most vital economic sectors. From its headquarters in Alberta and newer office in Newfoundland, the company’s highly skilled technicians are wielding leading-edge technology to service oil storage tanks across Canada.
One of its more recent projects is a 210-foot-diameter tank for dilbit, or diluted bitumen. This compound of liquid petroleum and oil sand requires more exacting storage requirements than conventional oil, and its potential environmental concerns are still being debated. To ensure all storage regulations were being followed, the company was contracted to design, construct, and inspect this tank. Its technicians performed a full inspection, then completely filled and emptied the tank to check for any leaks or weak points. After replacing the tank’s foam piping system, the maintenance team replaced the tank’s concrete ring wall, lift, and floor, as well as all platforms and staircases.
A second recent success is a smaller, 120-foot-diameter holding tank for produced water, a natural by-product of petroleum extraction. Once the tank was emptied, one inch of sludge had to be removed before Prolium could proceed with its inspection. Company technicians were entrusted with all aspects of the project, including design, engineering, and execution. They replaced the tank’s bottom shell course, including all nozzles and passageways, and after removing and replacing the insulation from the tank’s roof and outer shell, the team worked to upgrade various pipes throughout the tank. As a final touch, an asphalt tank apron provided a layer of insulation and structural integrity. Both of these projects exemplify the company’s high degree of professionalism and worksite safety.
Prolium’s expertise goes beyond mere oil tank service. The company’s technicians are also involved in pipe maintenance and repair, asphalt work, and even de-icing. In its short tenure, the firm has worked on storage tanks for numerous industries, from paper mills to airports. The company’s technicians have the expertise and equipment, including an in-house fabrication plant and welding shop, to handle nearly any job.
Cruikshank attributes the company’s meteoric rise to the quality of its staff. It started and has remained, he says, a small group of engineers, trades professionals and “people who love what they do.” With such a high-calibre staff, he says, this rise has been a natural progression.
“When you’re doing something that you’re a specialist in, and you’re doing something that you love to do, you’re going to become quickly recognized as a leader in the industry.” This highly qualified staff, he believes, leads naturally to better client interaction. “If we’re taking care of our staff, they’re taking care of our clients.”
In addition to its highly qualified staff, the company works to develop strong ties with the major players in Canadian oil and gas. “Prolium has been successful from day one because we focus on client satisfaction and customer needs,” Cruikshank explains. “We’ve always aimed to establish long-term relationships with our clients, and we focus on repeat business.”
Rather than move from project to project, he says the company closely integrates itself with its clients. “We try to operate like we’re part of our clients’ business. We try to make things easy for them.” As Prolium bolsters its reputation through its expertise, this client list can only grow longer.
Prolium embraces safety as a vital part of its business strategy. “Safety is an absolute cornerstone to every aspect of our business,” Cruikshank affirms. This is far from a truism, he elaborates, as Canada’s oil and gas sector has some of the highest safety and environmental standards in the world, and the company works hard to maintain its exemplary safety record. “We’re very proud to be working in this industry,” he states, “and by incorporating [safety] into everything we do, starting at the office and going out to every job site, we’re constantly pushing the standard even higher.”
The company is far more fluid when it comes to approaching contracted projects. “Every project that we do, we treat as a custom-designed project,” he remarks. In its field, Prolium is privileged to access some of the most advanced engineering technology available today. The company uses this technology to create custom solutions for any potential problem.
The goal, as Cruikshank notes, is to complete projects as expediently and as safely as possible. “Every project that we do, we’re always trying to reduce ‘exposure man-hours,’” he notes, explaining the objective danger in which the technicians work. “We’re always incorporating [technology] into our execution plans,” to decrease the time technicians are physically in the field. These technologies range from prefabricating parts to using automated technology to clean or weld, ensuring technicians remain as safe as possible while projects are still completed on time.
Its highly experienced staff and in-house engineering team keep abreast of the latest technological developments, ensuring the company is at the forefront of its field. Thanks to the skill and experience of its technicians, Prolium is blessed to get many new technological development and ideas from its staff. “Really, what it comes from is our people on the ground floor, our people out in the field,” Cruikshank says. The firm is constantly on the lookout for new methods, and “if we can incorporate those into our standard practices, we will.”
The company is also fortunate to have a constant pipeline of skilled workers in its application pool. “Typically, many skilled workers do come to us,” Cruikshank says, though he notes that the company still uses “every method available,” to help recruit the best-qualified employees. “No matter what, we hire and retain employees that are the best.”
Simple skill, however, is not enough. “Our goal is to try and create a team environment, and we want to try and create a team that everybody wants to be a part of. Everybody at Prolium works hard. They see other people working hard, and they see how the work impacts the success or failure of our company.”
As Prolium looks toward the future, Cruikshank is excited about the company as it continues to grow. “We’re quickly becoming an industry leader in tank cleaning and repair because we love what we do.” He intends that the company continue on its path of steady growth while expanding its client list.
“We’re very proud to be a part of Canadian oil and gas,” he says frankly. “I think that this industry is one of the best industries in the world, with so many hard-working, skilled people. I’ve never worked in an industry that is as professional as this, especially when it comes to health, safety, and environmental [protection].”
In the end, he says, Prolium’s success comes as a result of its staff integrity and the skill required by its chosen industry. “We’re extremely grateful for our team at Prolium, as well as our clients and everyone that’s been a part of our business.”