North America is home to the largest oil and gas pipeline network in the world—and that impressive infrastructure didn’t build itself. Every day, contractors across the U.S. and Canada are called upon to build safe, efficient and economical transportation systems.

Whether they’re working for industry giants or smaller, independent firms, these contractors strive to deliver top-notch jobs with each project. Here are some selected players in North America’s pipeline contracting business:

1. Bechtel Corp.

  • Reston, Va.

As a world leader in global engineering, construction and project management, Bechtel’s projects span 160 countries and all seven continents. The company, which constructs pipelines for private and public customers, has built more than 50,000 miles of pipeline, which is enough to circle the world twice.

Bechtel specializes in cross-country pipes, and it was one of the major contractors responsible for the construction of TC Energy’s sprawling Keystone Pipeline. It was also the management contractor of the Trans- Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) that links North Slope fields to Valdez on Alaska’s Pacific Coast.

On the international front, major projects have included a 330-mile gas pipeline in Algeria for a joint venture of BP plc and Sonatrach. Bechtel Corp. was founded in 1898 and continues to be a family-run business. Brendan Bechtel became CEO of the fifth-generation company in 2016.


2. Fluor Corp.

  • Irving, Texas

From deserts to rainforests—and from the sunny tropics to the frigid Arctic— Fluor has worked everywhere.

The company is known throughout the industry for its ability to build logistically challenging pipelines across the world. It has worked in more than 100 countries on six continents. Fluor’s 200,000-mile portfolio includes an assortment of projects big and small.

In 2013, Fluor and its partner Giprovostokneft were hired by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to build the $3.2 billion CPC crude oil pipeline system, which stretches 1,056 miles from Tengiz, Kazakhstan, to a deepwater marine terminal on the Black Sea at Novorossiysk, Russia.

And in the 1970s, Fluor completed engineering, procurement and construction services for TAPS, which was then one of the world’s largest pipelines. The 800-mile system was installed in Arctic environments, across mountain ranges and earthquake faults.

Fluor Constructors International is the primary union construction company within Fluor. It has a strong relationship with North America’s Building Trades Unions and maintains a strong working relationship with the National Building and Construction Trades Department and its 14 unions.


3. Gulf Interstate Engineering Co.

  • Houston

As a world leader in pipeline design, award-winning Gulf Interstate has helped construct some of the most sophisticated pipelines in recent memory.

Notably, it was commissioned to provide front-end engineering for Kinder Morgan’s Rockies Express Pipeline (REX), one of the largest pipeline systems ever built in North America. Gulf Interstate also helped design, specify, and requisition equipment and materials for construction of the 1,679-mile REX project.

More recently, the firm also worked on the 515-mile Sabal Trail Transmission LLC pipeline, a joint venture between Spectra Energy Corp., NextEra Energy Inc. and Duke Energy, that provides important gas service to Florida.

Additionally, the company assisted Reliance Industries Ltd. with the preliminary engineering and construction of its East-West Gas Pipeline, a multibillion-dollar pipeline running nearly 870 miles between India’s east and west coasts.

Based in Houston, it has offices in Moscow; Calgary; Faridabad, India; and Peru. It employs about 1,400 people worldwide.


4. Henkels & McCoy Inc.

  • Bluebell, Pa.

Henkels & McCoy Inc. needs little introduction for pipeline aficionados. After all, the company helped build TC Energy’s original Keystone Pipeline, among other major projects.

During the first phase of the Keystone project, it constructed a 1,300-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from the Canadian oil sands through the U.S. Upper Plains.

Henkels was founded in 1923 as a tree trimming contractor but ultimately expanded to serve other industries. It completed its inaugural pipeline job in 1975, when it constructed a pipeline in the Bay of Fundy area of New Brunswick. It officially established its pipeline division in 1977.

The unionized company has since completed numerous other projects spanning thousands of miles. In 2003, it completed a 135-mile pipeline across Mexico’s Baja California. It earlier completed 13.8 miles of “critical work” for the 2,333-mile Alliance Pipeline, which runs from British Columbia to Chicago.


5. Ledcor Group

  • Vancouver, British Columbia

Tough terrain is no match for Ledcor, a Canadian company that specializes in building mainline cross-country pipelines. It uses mechanized or manual welding methods to work across varied terrain, including muskeg, heavily forested and mountainous regions.

Ledcor offers a suite of services, including pipeline construction, integrity service, subcontractor management and labor resource management.

It has been awarded several Enbridge Inc. contracts, and it built two construction spreads recently for the Waupisoo Pipeline in Alberta. Challenges included one spread of 43 miles in congested parts of northeast Edmonton, Alberta. Another was building 58 miles of pipeline, during winter, near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Ledcor also worked on TC Energy’s Grand Rapids Pipeline. The project consisted of two parallel, 264-mile pipelines running from northwest of Fort McMurray to the Edmonton area.

All of the company’s hourly employees are union members and covered by a variety of collective agreements.


6. Mears Group Inc., USA

  • Rosebush, Mich.

Mears Group Inc. hails itself as a one-stop-shop for pipeline construction— and for good reason. For the past 40 years, it has offered turnkey services to the energy industry.

Its services include pipeline fabrication, construction and demolition, engineering and design, route selection, permitting, environmental and more. With operations throughout the world, Mears also provides materials procurement services and project management.


7. Michels Corp., USA

  • Brownsville, Wis.

As a world-record breaker, Michels says its customized fabricated equipment is designed to build pipelines of all sizes and complexities, and its product has been put to the test through a series of significant projects.

Michels built 371 miles of pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma for the Gulf Coast Express project.

The company more recently constructed 177 miles of pipeline in Michigan and Ohio for the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline.

Throughout its 60-year history, Michels has built 10,000 miles of pipeline, reaching diameters of 42 inches. It set two notable records in 2015; one was a world-record breaking 12,459-foot horizontal drilling installation, and the other was a North American record for a 4,038-foot direct pipe installation. The company has both union and non-union employees.



8. Primoris Services Corp.

  • Dallas

Primoris Service Corp.’s pipeline portfolio runs below city streets, wetlands and cross-country. Founded as a pipeline construction company in 1960, Primoris has experience with oil and gas pipelines ranging in size from 4- to 42 inches in diameter. Although the company has since expanded to serve other markets, it remains active in the oil and gas industry.

In Virginia, Primoris Pipeline rerouted 5.8 miles of pipeline—and removed a dual pipeline— for Colonial Pipeline Co.’s Cobb Creek project in 2016. The company also recently constructed 84 miles of 24-inch pipe for Enterprise Products Partners LP in late 2017.


9. Price Gregory International Inc. USA

  • Houston

With a 100-year history, Price Gregory International Inc. has built thousands of miles of pipeline throughout the world. The firm today focuses on providing pipeline construction services in the U.S. and Canada.

In the continental U.S., Price Gregory has the capacity to work on multiple projects at once. It can handle eight 30-inch mainline spreads of work, two small-diameter pipeline projects, and three oil and gas facility projects concurrently. That said, it places safety at the forefront of its work.

The firm traces its roots to inventor H.C. “Hal” Price, who perfected the electric arc welding of pipe joints during the Oklahoma oil boom following World War I, the basis of pipeline construction today. Price George was formed in 2008 through the merger of longstanding pipeline contracting firms H.C. Price and Gregory & Cook Construction. It was later bought by the publicly traded Quanta Services.

The company, which is unionized, is based in Houston with additional offices in Alaska and Canada.



10. Shawcor Ltd.

  • Toronto

Canada-based Shawcor Ltd. says it is a staunch believer in the power of collaboration. It works with operators, contractors and pipe mills to build and maintain infrastructure all over the world.

From consultation to installation, Shawcor provides end-to-end support for all aspects of pipeline construction. Then, it serves customers throughout the entirety of a pipeline’s life cycle. It offers a range of technical solutions for pipeline management, including inspection, maintenance, repair and overhaul processes.

Meantime, Shawcor says it has become a leader in pipeline technology through its recently released iLine platform, which was designed to improve efficiency, reduce costs and eliminate risks. The solution allows pipeline operators to integrate tracking, asset management and more.

The company has contracts with various domestic and foreign unions.

Wetlands and mountains are no match for Strike LLC, which has been installing pipeline in challenging terrain since 2003.

Strike’s construction services include marsh and swamp installation, directional drilling, pipeline repair and rehabilitation and more. The company— which employs more than 6,600 people across the U.S.—provides project management services, hydrostatic testing and pipeline construction.

As an engineering, procurement and construction partner for a recent client, Strike led the construction of a gas gathering system in Loving and Ward counties in Texas’ Delaware Basin. The project included 68 miles of low-pressure pipelines and 25 miles of header pipelines that connect to an existing gas processing plant.

Strike also constructed and installed about 140 miles of pipeline, including 70 miles crossing mountainous terrain and 30 miles of blasted right-of-way, to help increase capacity at a Memphis refinery.

Strike is a non-union pipeline contractor.


11. U.S. Pipeline Inc.

  • Houston

With a 20-year track record of successful operations both in the U.S. and abroad, U.S. Pipeline Inc. (USPL) has worked for some of the biggest players in the industry.

Its pipeline portfolio spans more than 3,200 miles, and it includes work for TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), Energy Transfer Partners, Kinder Morgan Inc. and more.

Earlier this year, USPL was contracted by The Williams Cos. Inc. to replace about six miles of pipeline for the operator’s North Seattle Lateral Upgrade project to the Northwest Pipeline gas system. In 2018, it helped TC Energy with installation, cleanup and connection for the Mountaineer Xpress project.

Although USPL works mostly on large-diameter pipe, its work has included construction and services of pipes of all sizes. It has also worked on numerous other energy-related projects, including storage and liquefied natural gas facilities. USPL is a union company.


Michelle Thompson is a freelance writer based in Orange County, Calif., and specializes in energy topics.