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ContraFlex® solves cold climate challenge at Fort Hills

The challenge

Korean EPC contractor SK Engineering and Construction needed a Passive Fire Protection (PFP) solution to protect operating equipment including pipelines and valves at Fort Hills oil sand mine. Fort Hills is an open pit mine capable of sustaining a production of 14,500 tonnes of oil sand per hour and is jointly owned by three limited partners; Suncor, Total and Teck. The site is in northern Canada and experiences extreme cold temperatures in the winter.

The scope was extensive, including the design, manufacture and installation of jackets providing passive jet fire protection from 60 minutes to 180 minutes. With an area of approximately 29,000 m², involving nearly 10km of pipeline, 5000 fittings and 2500 valves, delivering on time was a challenge.

There were onerous technical specifications from Atkins requiring very low temperature rises over the fire duration that typical fire protection solutions could not achieve. Other requirements were to meet test specifications and type approvals put forward by Suncor consultant Atkins.

Our solution 

To meet these challenging demands, our ContraFlex® team conducted an on-site survey to ascertain the quantity and size of all the processing equipment requiring protection. Using our state-of-the-art 3D modelling software, our team ensured that the design for each respective unit was a perfect fit. Our jackets are approved by several well-recognised bodies including Lloyd’s register, ABS and DNV and have been tested in accordance to ISO 22899-1, as required by Atkins.

The jackets are designed with a velcro type hook and loop tape providing quick and easy installation. To ensure optimal thermal protection, our jackets can be retrofitted in tight areas and where there are clash points but still maintain the highest levels of health and safety. This flexibility gives us a competitive edge over alternative solutions, such as fibrous insulation. For a project of this size, a simple solution makes the overall end-to-end process a lot smoother for all concerned.

Extensive testing and development to ensure efficiency has resulted in hydrocarbon pool and jet fire protection for up to 180 minutes. Testing has been conducted on a variety of assemblies, including structural, planar and tubular providing protection on numerous applications in a variety of sectors.


Through our technical expertise, our ContraFlex® team successfully met the high demands of the customer which saw them meet their first oil schedule. Several of our applicators, supervised by one of our experts, were able to cater to peak demands, installing 16,400 m² of PFP jackets in just three months. Our efficient installation meant that each phase of the project was delivered on time.

To find out if ContraFlex® is the right solution for your installation talk to us…

T: +44 (0)1452 880 880