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Recent Sarnia-Lambton Headlines

Shell eyes natural gas unit for Corunna 2012-05-26
By Paul Morden, from   The Observer

Shell Canada is considering building a small liquified natural gas processing unit at its Corunna refinery.

The company is hosting a pair of public meetings next week to outline its plans.

“It think it’s quite far along the investigation stage when they go to the public,” said Steve Arnold, mayor of St. Clair Township.

“I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say that day, and I’m hoping it’s a go.”

Shell spokesperson James Burns said the small facility being considered could produce 200,000 to 300,000 tons of liquified natural gas annually and occupy five to 10 acres at the site. “You probably wouldn’t even notice, it would be so small in the scheme of things,” he said.

The company has not disclosed a cost estimate.

“We’re still scoping things out there,” Burns said.

The facility wouldn’t create a large number of permanent jobs.

“There will be a few people,” Burns said, adding most of the operations would be handled by the site’s existing workers.

If built the facility would take natural gas arriving by pipeline, process it and cool it until it becomes liquid.

Shell has been in the liquified natural gas business for decades and recently began promoting its use in transportation, including marine and trucking, Burns said.

It’s described by the company as a safe, cost-competitive and cleaner fuel alternative.

“Sarnia has a very good safety record so we would like to investigate having something there,” Burns said.

“It should be the next year or two that we’ll have a decision.”

A similar project is being built by Shell near Calgary, Burns said.

Along with building a small-scale processing unit the work in Sarnia would include upgrading some of the site’s existing facilities, including the jetty, the company says.

“It’s great to see a global company, such as Shell, have that type of confidence in our community,” Arnold said.

“It’s just super they would be consider that coming here.”

The Shell plant dates to the early 1950s and currently has 350 full-time employees manufacturing gasoline, distillates, liquid petroleum gas, heavy oils, pure chemicals and solvents.

Shell’s open houses are planned for:

• Tuesday, May 29, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s Maawn Doosh Gumig Community Centre on Virgil Avenue;

• Wednesday, May 30, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Royal Canadian Legion hall on Albert Street in Corunna.

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