Shell gives green light to liquified gas unit

Shell Canada says it’s moving ahead with plans for a small liquified natural gas (LNG) processing unit at its refinery in Corunna.

The company announced early Tuesday it has decided to go ahead with what it’s calling the Great Lakes Corridor Project.

That will see the installation of a “small scale liquefaction unit” on five to 10 acres at Shell’s chemical plant site in Corunna, once regulatory approvals are in place, said spokesperson Kristina Zimmer.

“We hope construction activities will start in about a year’s time,” she said.

The unit would be expected to begin production “in about three years,” Zimmer said.

The company isn’t saying what it’s spending on the project but Zimmer said 50 to 100 short-term construction jobs are expected to be created.

“It’s a significant project for the facility,” Zimmer said.

Shell employs 350 full-time staff at its Corunna site.

“An investment like this really instills confidence in our workforce that Shell is interested in the long-term viability of this site.”

She said “some” permanent new positions will be created because of the project, “but the bulk of the positions will be in the construction part of it, and then in the maintenance and turnarounds down the road.”

The new facility will allow Shell to “diversify our portfolio, in terms of the projects we’re able to offer in the marketplace,” she said.

“This is expected, actually, to be the first LNG facility in eastern Canada.”

Union Gas is expected to add a little more than 2-km of pipeline to deliver natural gas to the Shell site from its existing lines.

At the new unit, the gas will be processed and cooled until it becomes liquid.

“At full production, it would produce 400,000 gallons per day of LNG,” Zimmer said.

“Which is, of course, a cleaner-burning fuel, compared to diesel.”

The facility in Corunna will allow Shell to supply LNG fuel to marine, rail and truck customers on both sides of the border along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

Zimmer said the Interlake Steamship Company is already on board as a customer for liquified natural gas to be produced at the new facility.

“It’s expected to be the first marine customers for this region,” she said.

“They’ll start doing the work to convert their vessels.”

Zimmer said safety will be ensured at the new unit with “several layers of protection” put in place “to prevent incidents.”

Shell has been considering the project for some time and held public open houses in the area last May.

It’s Corunna site dates to the early 1950s and manufactures gasoline, distillates, liquid petroleum gas, heavy oils, pure chemicals and solvents.

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