Project Portfolio – Plant Re-Design

TransCanada Midstream - Midstream Gas Company 1999


TransCanada Midstream’s Harmattan gas processing plant was one of seven plants in an area of declining gas production. The plant operator, TransCanada Midstream (TCM) wanted to improve operations of the plant and incorporate new technology in order to reduce costs, broaden services and increase reliability. Success in these areas was essential for attracting new customers and thus moving the plant’s financial results from marginal to highly profitable.

The new technology (adding an ethane extraction line) forced significant changes in work processes. TCM wanted to use the technology shift to help the plant staff move to a high-involvement, team-based structure. The former owners had used a hierarchical, high control approach which did not seem to be getting the best performance from the staff or the plant.

Fall Line’s Role

Fall Line Systems led the plant re-design process, working with a cross functional team representing all stakeholder groups. Members were responsible for communicating and generating ideas with their peers between meetings, thus involving a very broad spectrum of the plant staff. The team deepened its understanding of the plant’s economics, competitive position, staffing levels, and technical strengths. We developed several design alternatives, criteria for evaluating the designs, potential problems with each design. Consensus was reached and recommendations made within the two months scheduled for the project.


The implementation of the new technology and staffing design went smoothly. Trust was built with the new management, and people understood how to work successfully on difficult tasks in a team-based environment. Almost everyone in the plant increased their understanding of the economics of the plant, and their understanding of how to increase the plant’s returns vastly improved. Operating and maintenance costs improved.