Shell looking to sell local refinery, chemical plant

The Shell Canada oil refinery at Corunna. Glenn Ogilvie file photo

Journal Staff

Shell Canada wants to sell its Sarnia manufacturing centre.

The company said it is seeking buyers for the local refinery and chemical plant, as well as distribution terminals in Sarnia and Hamilton.

Shell also wants to offload its 45% interest in the Sun-Canadian Pipeline.

There are no plans to close the Sarnia plant, which employs 350 full-time workers, the company said.

If no qualified buyers are found over the next several months Shell will continue to operate the site, it said in a statement.

In an internal memo to local staff and contractors, vice-president Michael Crothers said Shell Canada is focusing on its integrated gas and shale operations.

As a result, the Sarnia operations are “no longer a natural, long-term fit with Shell’s evolving portfolio,” he said.

“However, new owners may see a strategic opportunity for their development.”

Shell also wants to sell its Alberta Foothills sour gas operation, but its retail and aviation businesses in Ontario are not on the market.

“Shell has worked closely with our neighbours in Sarnia and Corunna and have solid relationships with the community,” Guy Hackwell, general manager of the Sarnia Manufacturing Centre, said in the statement.
“This wasn’t an easy decision, but I’m proud of the business we’ve built in Sarnia and I expect potential buyers will also see the value we’ve created.”

The plant, also known as Shell’s Corunna refinery, can process 75,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

Shell took over the local operation in 1963 after purchasing Canadian Oil Companies Limited, which built the refinery in 1952.