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‘Advance 2030’ architect lands big contract with Nalcor

Nalcor Headquarters in St. John’s. — Telegram file
Nalcor Headquarters in St. John’s. — Telegram file - SaltWire Network

Gordon McIntosh made $185,000 in 2017, now his firm will make $336,000 as a contractor

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

One of the key architects of the province’s Advance 2030 plan to develop the province’s offshore oil and gas sector is now a contractor with Nalcor Energy.

Gordon McIntosh was appointed deputy minister of the Department of Natural Resources in December 2016. McIntosh and his son, Neil McIntosh, are directors of Scottish-based consulting agency Aberdeen International Associates.

In a news release announcing McIntosh’s initial appointment, Premier Dwight Ball and Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady credited him with “spearheading the turnaround of the offshore industry in the North Sea,” which had a considerably positive impact on the United Kingdom.

McIntosh made $185,200 in 2017 as deputy minister. As a contractor for Nalcor, McIntosh’s firm will make $336,000 a year, a figure negotiated between himself and the government.

He says he’s not sure how much of that money will go to him directly. While the contract is primarily for his services, McIntosh says it’s common for Aberdeen Associates to sub-contract work to other associates as it sees fit.

For reference, Nalcor Oil and Gas executive vice-president Jim Keating took home $337,000 in 2017.

"They were keen to retain my services." — Gordon McIntosh

In a statement, Nalcor Energy says McIntosh “played a key part” in developing Advance 2030. Because the new contract is a “specialized service” contract, it was a sole source contract, meaning there was no public competition.

McIntosh says his original agreement to come on board as deputy minister was for two years, as he had tried to retire in August 2016. But when the end of McIntosh’s time with the department came to a close earlier this year, the government had another idea.

“They were keen to retain my services,” McIntosh said in a telephone interview.

“I think we’d built up a good strong piece of momentum around the work for the last two years. They were keen, and I think government was being lobbied a bit by industry as well, to keep that momentum going.”

McIntosh will primarily work from Scotland in his new role, as he wants to be closer to family, but he is expected to travel to St. John’s as needed.

The new position started earlier this week.

“He'll be supporting the development of strategic initiatives as part of the Way Forward on Oil and Gas,” a Nalcor spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions.

McIntosh will continue to attend oil and gas council meetings as part of his responsibilities, as well as lead efforts to further a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Newfoundland and Labrador and Guyana in October 2018.

On Jan. 31, he was granted a conflict of interest waiver by the Department of Justice to allow him to take on the new role. A copy of the waiver was not supplied to the Telegram by deadline.

Coady declined multiple interview requests for this story, instead supplying the following statement: “Advance 2030: A Plan for Growth in the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industry was created in consultation with the Oil and Gas Industry Development Council, Gordon McIntosh was involved in the plan’s development in his role as deputy minister,” reads the statement.

“Questions about the terms of Mr. McIntosh’s contract with Nalcor Energy – Oil and Gas Inc. should be directed to Nalcor Energy – Oil and Gas Inc.”

In recent years, Nalcor has come under scrutiny for hiring contractors at a higher price than direct employees.

In September 2017, The Telegram reported on Nalcor’s practice of hiring embedded contractors for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

At the time, The Telegram reported 498 active contractors working with Nalcor on the Muskrat Falls project as embedded contractors, who had collectively billed for about 4.6 million hours of work on the project.

In one example, a human resources manager with Nalcor was paid about $200,000 a year for the work. Someone in a similar portfolio working at the Confederation Building typically takes in between $105,000 and $127,000 in salary.

With files from Ashley Fitzpatrick.

Twitter: @DavidMaherNL

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