Skip to content

Shell to proceed with Great Lakes Corridor Project

Royal Dutch Shell is proceeding with a 1.51 million litres (400,000 gallons) per day liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and terminal on the St. Clair River near Sarnia, Ontario and the shores of Lake Huron. Construction on the unit is expected to start soon and for it to be producing LNG by late 2015.

Blackburn News reports, “St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold sees a lot of promise for the area in 2014. …Arnold says Shell will begin construction on a new Liquefied Natural Gas unit.” On December 27, the news service noted that supporters and members of Aamjiwnaang First Nation marched to the site planned for Shell’s Liquefied Natural Gas Plant.

Last March, the Sarnia Observer reported, “Shell Canada says it’s moving ahead with plans for a small liquified natural gas processing unit at its refinery in Corunna (just south of Sarnia). The company announced it has decided to go ahead with what it’s calling the Great Lakes Corridor Project. …’We hope construction activities will start in about a year’s time’ (meaning March 2014), spokesperson Kristina Zimmer said. …’This is expected, actually, to be the first LNG facility in eastern Canada’.”

“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 liquefied natural gas to be produced at the new facility.”

The Globe and Mail adds, “Royal Dutch Shell PLC hopes to pump natural gas into Great Lakes freighters, as it seeks new ways to lift demand for a struggling commodity. (It will) provide fuel to marine traffic, as well as trucks and trains. …Sarnia is an important refuelling hub on the Great Lakes, where some 65 U.S.-flagged and 80 Canadian-flagged ships regularly do business. Most of the U.S. vessels are too big to move through the St. Lawrence Seaway, meaning they are essentially a captive fleet on the lakes – an ideal place for Shell to offer a new type of fuel.”

“Ship owners must decide whether they believe natural gas will stay inexpensive. …There are other obstacles, too, including rules and regulations about LNG refuelling. Authorities ‘have to really make fit-for-purpose permits and standards’, said James Burns, general manager of LNG in Shell’s Transport Americas group. The St. Lawrence Seaway has never seen an LNG-fuelled ship.”

Liquefied natural gas is natural gas that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport. It has been noted that LNG terminals produce nitrogen oxide emissions contributing to acid rain, which harms waterways and fish and creates smog.

It has also been reported that the natural gas for this LNG project would come from Union Gas. According to a media release, “Union Gas Limited is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario… (It) offers a variety of storage and transportation services to customers at the Dawn Hub (located 22 miles southeast of Sarnia)… The Dawn Hub offers customers an important link in the movement of natural gas from Western Canadian and U.S. supply basins to markets in central Canada and the northeast U.S.”

There is a likelihood that at least some of this natural gas would have been extracted through hydraulic fracturing.