News articles about modern rail projects:
October 2, 2019, The Western
Producer (Jeremy Simes)
GrainsConnect opens Huxley terminal
GrainsConnect Canada has officially opened an inland storage
terminal in east-central Alberta, helping add capacity to its
At full operation, the terminal near Huxley, Alta., will load more
than 130 rail cars in less than 14 hours, bringing what the company
says will be efficiency and reliability to farmers.
"Our mission at GrainsConnect Canada is to help the family farm,"
Warren Stow, company president, said in a news release.
"We're growers too and we understand the importance and value of a
partner. We want to be the area's number one partner."
The Huxley elevator is GrainsConnect's fourth terminal, joining
those in Vegreville, Alta., Reford, Sask., and Maymont, Sask.
Construction of the Huxley terminal has created employment in the
community, the company said, and will have a team ready to help
farmers by offering competitive prices and easy-to-understand terms.
The team includes general manager Chad Dettmer and operations
manager Wayne Sharp, as well as merchants Brittany McCook and Darcy
"We're proud to contribute to the economic growth in these
communities," Stow said in the release.
"By hiring local merchants and supporting community initiatives
where we build, we don't just do business in these communities but
truly become part of the family farm."
Prior to opening, the company said more than 400 farmers and family
members toured the facility.
In addition to the terminals, GrainsConnect, which is owned by
Australian grain handler GrainCorp and Japanese co-operative Zen-Noh
Grain, plans to build the Fraser Grain Terminal at the Port of
GrainsConnect and Parrish & Heimbecker have signed an agreement to
make the Fraser terminal a 50-50 joint venture. The facility will
have capacity to export up to four million tonnes of wheat, barley,
oilseeds, pulses and other commodities per year.
Photo: At full operation, the terminal near Huxley, Alta.,
will load more than 130 rail cars in less than 14 hours,
bringing what the company says will be efficiency and reliability to
farmers. Matt Ramage photo.
August 30, 2018, Red Deer Advocate (Susan
Terminal to load grain bound for
B.C. port and beyond
Paterson Grain terminal welcomes public to grand
Paterson Grain wowed the farming community with its new terminal in
Customers, officials, staff and the public were invited to the grand
opening of Foothills terminal located off of Hwy 587, about 1.5 km
west of Hwy 2.
Construction of the $25-million facility started in May 2017, and
it's Paterson Grain's fourth inland export terminal in Alberta.
"Buzz from the farming community today was just how massive it was
and how excited they are about having such a great facility
locally," said Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood, who attended the
"This is the only inland terminal that we have. There are not that
many of them across the Prairies so we're fortunate."
Wood said in addition to the service it will provide farmers, grain
terminals are also an economic driver for a community.
The high efficiency facility includes a 150-car loop track capable
of loading a full unit train in eight hours. It can also store about
2.2 million bushels of grain, ship 75,000 bushels per hour, clean
8,800 bushels per hour, and receive 32 Super B trucks per hour.
With two independent receiving lanes, the terminal will be able to
receive commodities from each driveway without interrupting shipping
A fully automated truck loop design will allow for fast turn-around
for delivering trucks.
Grain from the Bowden facility will be exported through Paterson's
Alliance Grain Terminal in the Port of Vancouver, B.C., to
Shane Paterson, director of trading and transportation with the
Winnipeg-based Paterson Grain, said the Bowden terminal will be
fully operational in the fall.
"It's capable of receiving grain today. There's just some work on
the railroad track, and the road coming into the facility, yet to be
done," Paterson said.
He said Central Alberta is a great production area with very
capable farmers, and highway infrastructure is second to none in the
"Where highways meet rail meet agricultural production is the
perfect recipe for a grain elevator."
There will be jobs for 12 to 18 people at the terminal, depending
on how busy it gets.
Paterson will also hire locally as much as possible, he said.
Wood said speaking with farmers Wednesday, they are pleasantly
surprised with their yields despite drier than normal growing
He anticipates normal to above normal yields.
"I think it depends on the kind of grain. Wheat will withstand more
of a drought than barley. What was really hurt this year was the hay
crops and pastures. They require more of a steady rain."
Photo: Paterson Grain held an open house Wednesday at its
new terminal near Bowden. Contributed photo.
Mar. 14, 2017, Innisfail Province (Johnnie
Bowden grain terminal a go
Paterson Grain finalizes all necessary
Paterson Grain is all in for a springtime build in Bowden.
All the regulatory approvals are done, deals are signed, land is
purchased and the shovels will soon be in the ground.
"We are full steam ahead. All the necessary approvals are now in
place with the county, Alberta Transportation, and we're closing the
deal on the land purchase," said Shane Paterson, the grain handling
company's corporate development officer. "We are anticipating on
turning earth there as soon as the ground thaws. As soon as the
ground thaws we will start the earthwork operation."
The Winnipeg-based company's long awaited massive grain terminal
project, first announced more than a year ago, is an investment of
about $50 million and will take a year to complete. The project will
be an ultra-modern 55,000-metric-tonne facility that will include a
3,594-metre loop track to load up to 150 cars in seven hours, a
grain handling innovation that Paterson first introduced to the
industry. When the Bowden project is completed it will be Paterson's
fourth Inland Export Terminal in Alberta, after ones in Gleichen,
Dunmore and the newly constructed facility in Daysland.
"We looked at the whole landscape of the Prairies (for) selecting
the next spot for a major investment like this. Bowden was an area
we thought there was great production," said Paterson. "There's a
great sense of community there that we want to be part of."
And while the project is good news for Bowden-area farmers it is
being hailed as a badly needed boost for the recession-battered
"It will be huge, (for) the job opportunities and the general
benefits," said Bowden mayor Robb Stuart. "We've worked really well
with the county and we've met Paterson a couple of times and they
seem pretty straightforward and (have) a track record of being
"We haven't finalized our budget yet but it looks like we will have
a zero per cent tax increase, and no utility rate increase," added
Stuart. "I think it should be a good time if people are thinking of
looking for an opportunity for employment and to buy into town."
Paterson said the project during the construction period will employ
up to 100 workers at various times, including contract labour and
about 30 the company will put directly onto its payroll. Once the
terminal is up and running Paterson will initially hire 12 full-time
employees, increasing up to 25 as business expands.
Over the past several months Paterson has been in ongoing
discussions with the county, province and landowners to reach
agreements on environmental and traffic issues at and near the
half-section site at Highway 587 and Rge. Rd. 12 intersection.
Red Deer County mayor Jim Wood said the rural municipality will take
the lead in the tendering and construction of the intersection
upgrades and ensure it will be made to the specified standards as
dictated by the province. He said a 50-50 cost sharing agreement was
reached with Paterson that will see the grain handling company
paying up to a maximum of $250,000 for the upgrades.
To help the company achieve approval agreements with the province on
the wetlands issue, Wood said the county made development permit
amendments for the grain terminal to move the process along.
"It worked out very well. We changed some grade levels, and there
were various factors that they had to come up with (as) with any
development. I heard nothing negative there," said Wood.
The more than half-section of land Paterson acquired for the project
was purchased from private landowners. Financial details of the deal
were not disclosed.
Paterson said no ground-breaking ceremony is being planned for the
start of construction but the company will go out into the community
as quickly as possible to build relationships. He said the company's
longstanding practice has been to host a grand opening event when
citizens can have lunch and tours at the new facility.
Sept. 14, 2016, Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley)
Innisfail grain terminal put
on the back burner
A proposed GrainsConnect Canada terminal near Innisfail is on the
In February, the company announced plans for a $30-million handling
facility just north of Innisfail at Niobe, where the company already
has grain elevators through its ownership of Canada Malting. The
35,000-tonne capacity terminal would offload a 135-car train in 10
Construction was to have started in April.
GrainsConnect president Warren Stow said a decision on whether the
Innisfail project goes ahead is likely a year away because the
company is focusing on getting two new terminals in Saskatchewan up
"It's not a lock that we're going there (Innisfail). But it's still
high on our radar," said Stow. "There are no real changes other than
that Saskatchewan first and then we'll make decisions on Alberta in
a year's time."
Innisfail was only one piece of a $120-million high-throughput grain
elevator network that GrainsConnect is building in Western Canada.
After Saskatchewan, the company is planning to expand with two new
terminals in Alberta.
Stow said the scheduling is due to a number of factors.
"I'm not going to get into them publicly. But at the time we make a
decision it will be based on economics and what's right for the
GrainsConnect is a joint venture between Australia's GrainCorp
Limited and the U.S. arm of Japan-based Zen Noh Grain Corporation.
GrainsConnect will focus on wheat, barley, canola and peas for
destinations in China, Japan and Southeast Asia via the West Coast.
The first Saskatchewan terminal is expected to be ready by the end
of next year and the second will open in mid-2018. It takes about 18
months to build the terminals.
Meanwhile, Winnipeg-based Paterson Grain is just awaiting the green
light from the province before it starts construction on a
$25-million export terminal near Bowden.
"We are ready and intend on moving earth just as soon as all of the
final approvals are received," says Shane Paterson, Paterson
GlobalFoods Inc. corporate development officer in an email response.
"We remain bullish about the project and continue to progress it as
quickly as we can."
Paterson's terminal will have 55,000 tonnes of capacity and a
high-speed unloading system that can fill 150 rail cars in seven
Grain from the Bowden facility will be transported to Paterson's
Alliance Grain Terminal in the Port of Vancouver to customers
The company also has Alberta facilities in Gleichen, Dunmore and a
third facility will open this year in Daysland.
Aug. 23, 2016, Innisfail Province
Niobe grain terminal project
GrainsConnect Canada redirects focus to Saskatchewan while local
put in limbo
The highly anticipated high-throughput grain terminal planned for
Niobe is now in jeopardy of being derailed.
The $30 to $40 million project, a kilometre north of Innisfail, was
announced by GrainsConnect Canada last winter. Construction for the
massive inland grain terminal was originally scheduled to start this
year, with the project going online in 2017.
However, GrainsConnect, a new player in the grain handling industry,
has put the project "on hold" and Niobe could be bypassed by the
company altogether as it moves forward on the building of its first
Saskatchewan terminal and looks at other Alberta site options.
"We are on hold at this point until we sort out some of the
agreements around the terminal," said Warren Stow, president of the
company, who would not disclose details about the problematic
agreement issues. However, Stow added it would be "fair" to say he's
not sure if the Niobe grain terminal project will ever go ahead.
"That's fair. At this point we don't have enough information to give
it justice," said Stow. "When we have all the information available
we're happy to share it but at this point nothing has been
determined, so to say it's not going ahead isn't correct and to say
it is going ahead isn't correct."
Stow's comments caught Jim Wood, the mayor of Red Deer County,
completely off guard.
"I wasn't personally aware of what you were talking about until you
just told me," said Wood, who has been an enthusiastic booster of
GrainsConnect's ambitious plan for Niobe as it would have injected a
significant economic boost to the region. "I am wondering what
concerns they have. There is no problem at Red Deer County as far as
"If there is a regulation on another level of government, and say if
it's the province because I know the province has a lot of tough
environmental rules they have changed in the last while, and I know
Paterson was struggling somewhat with the provincial requirements on
the environment," noted the mayor of the issues Paterson Grain
encountered for its proposed terminal in Bowden. "If it is something
like that that is their problem, Red Deer County, including myself,
will personally do whatever is necessary to lobby to help them
overcome any regulatory hurdles they may be experiencing."
In the meantime, the provincial government has confirmed to the
Province that GrainsConnect will have to get approvals from Alberta
Environment and Parks in order to move forward on the Niobe project,
if the company ultimately decides to do so.
"Environment and Parks regional staff have spoken with the company's
engineering contractors and confirmed that Water Act approvals will
be necessary, due to the proposed facility's proximity to a
watercourse," said Elyse Nabata, a spokesperson with the provincial
ministry who noted the Water Act administers activities that impact
Alberta's water resources. "At this point we have not received a
Water Act application for this project but look forward to receiving
one. Once a complete application is received, approvals are
anticipated to take two to four weeks."
Last December, GrainsConnect Canada, a joint venture between
Australia's GrainCorp and Japanese cooperative Zen-Noh, announced it
was investing $120 million to construct four grain terminals in
Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Niobe project along Highway 2A was made public two months later
in February, which was soon followed by Paterson Grain's
announcement of an even bigger 55,000 metric tonne grain terminal at
Bowden, 15 kilometres to the south.
GrainConnect's project was to cover more than 207 acres west of the
current northern wooden Canada Malting Co. elevator, which the
company owns, and process up to 35,000 metric tonnes of grain in 10
hours from 10 massive concrete towers. The project was designed to
include a 2,652-metre loop rail track from the existing CP rail
However, GrainsConnect Canada has since run into the unspecified
"agreements" problems and is now focusing on its two Saskatchewan
grain terminal projects, including the new Maymont facility that is
identical to the one planned for Niobe. The company hosted a
ground-breaking ceremony on July 12. GrainsConnect is announcing its
second Saskatchewan location within the next 30 to 60 days.
"Nobody is more disappointed than I am. We would have liked to go
ahead at Niobe first off," said Stow. "We want to make sure we are
making good solid economic decisions. We are going to pick locations
that make sense, so we are going to take our time (and) not rush
"We had the ability to switch on the Saskatchewan locations
immediately so that is what we did and we will proceed in Alberta
next year," he added.
In the meantime, Winnipeg-based Paterson Grain, despite the
regulatory wetlands issues with Alberta Environment, is "100 per
cent" going ahead with its planned Bowden-area grain handling
facility at the intersection of Highway 587 and Rge. Rd. 12, said
Shane Paterson, the company's corporate development officer.
"From our perspective things are progressing as good as hoped and we
are definitely still hoping to start potentially as soon as
September but all of the cards have to fall into the right place for
that to happen," said Paterson, adding GrainsConnect's change from
its original plans will not alter his company's intentions for the
market. "I can't speak to what GrainsConnect is doing or what might
have motivated their change in plans.
"For the farmers there will be less capacity in the region, which is
maybe a good thing or a bad thing depending on the year," said
Paterson, whose company is currently constructing new grain
terminals in Daysland and Bottineau, N.D. Overall, it changes
nothing for us."
Photo: GrainsConnect Canada's new high-throughput grain
terminal was planned to be placed across the tracks
from its existing north Canada Malting Co. wooden grain elevator. Those
plans are now on hold.
Photo by Johnnie Bachusky.
March 18, 2016, Red Deer Advocate
Bowden snares $25M export
Agriculture is providing some welcome good news in Central Alberta.
Winnipeg-based Paterson Grain has just announced its plans to build
a $25-million export terminal near Bowden with 55,000 tonnes of
capacity and a high-speed unloading system that can empty 150
railcars in seven hours.
It is the second grain terminal mega-project unveiled in a month.
GrainsConnect Canada is proposing to build its own giant
grain-handling facility just outside Innisfail with a 35,000-tonne
capacity in 10 storage towers and the ability to offload to a
135-car train in 10 hours.
Shane Paterson, the fourth generation involved in the family-owned
company, said the Bowden plans have long been in the works.
"We've been looking at this site for quite a while," said Paterson,
corporate development officer for Paterson GlobalFoods Inc. "It's
part of our long-term plans to grow our footprint in Alberta."
The company also has Alberta facilities in Gleichen, Dunmore and a
third facility will open this year in Daysland.
Central Alberta has a lot going for it, including good
transportation infrastructure and a large number of high-calibre
producers with quality crops, he said. The terminal will accept all
of the area's key crops, including wheat, canola, barley and
Grain from the Bowden facility will be transported to Paterson's
Alliance Grain Terminal in the Port of Vancouver to customers
A few regulatory hurdles remain to be cleared, but construction is
expected to start soon with an opening date in time for the 2017
About 30 construction jobs will be created with building materials
sourced locally. Once open, a dozen to 20 full-time positions will
be created depending on how busy the terminal is.
Paterson said the company already has expansion plans ready to go if
demand warrants. Also anticipated is a crop input centre that would
sell fertilizer, seed and other agriculture chemicals to its
customer base. It will have a staff of six to 10 people.
Paterson's Grains facility will see more cost-effective steel
storage towers instead of the more common concrete versions.
The company bills itself as the first to use the loop track design
to minimize unloading times and which has become the benchmark for
all large grain terminals. GrainsConnect also uses the loop track
As well, Paterson will have a dual receiving area to quickly unload
"We've built our business on efficiency," he said. "No waiting is
For area farmers, Paterson provides another outlet for local grain
to cut transportation, a significant cost for producers.
The facilities are expected to provide a little healthy competition
among grain handlers and exporters.
Paterson GlobalFoods Inc. has been around since 1908 and sources,
sells and ships high-quality agricultural commodities and food
products to more than 118 countries.
Feb. 23, 2016, Innisfail Province (Johnnie
News of Niobe grain terminal
Mayor Brian Spiller says it will be just like the good old days.
Innisfail will once again see regular faces from the farm stopping
in town for a coffee or to shop after dropping off grain at the
massive grain terminal at Niobe, a facility that will open before
the harvest of 2017 with a promise to dramatically improve the
fortunes of regional farmers, as well as for local merchants.
"That was back when mom and dad and the kids would come in by a
grain truck and they would do a grocery shop while dropping off a
load of grain," said Spiller. "It is a little bit different these
days. Nowadays when you drive through the landscape of Alberta and
Saskatchewan you see these massive inland grain terminals and there
is one every 50 or 60 miles instead of an (country) elevator every
eight miles. It is nice to get one of those in our general area.
"There is going to be a lot of grain haulers coming right through
our town. They might be stopping for gas or a meal," he added of the
future beneficial economic spinoffs for the town. "That will go on
for the next 50, 60 or 70 years."
Last week, Red Deer County approved a development permit application
from GrainsConnect Canada Operations Inc. to build the rural
municipality's first high throughput grain terminal operation along
Highway 2A at Niobe, two kilometres north of Innisfail.
Construction of the project, expected to cost up to $40 million,
will begin this spring and will spread over more than 207 acres and
process up to 35,000 metric tonnes of grain in 10. Most importantly
it will give an immediate boost for the struggling local economy, as
it will provide steady employment to 40 to 50 construction workers,
and up to a maximum of 200 when the concrete slip is being poured
continuously, 24 hours a day, over a period of up to six weeks.
"It's great news because anything that happens in Central Alberta,
be it in the county or the Town of Innisfail or the Town of Penhold,
doesn't stay in those communities," said Spiller.
"It is like a drop of red dye in the bathtub -- the economic
diversity spreads out throughout all the area," he added, noting
farmers will save money on gas and trucking costs. "Anything that is
good for Red Deer County is going to be good for Innisfail and it is
going to be good for Penhold, and that is probably going to expand
into the City of Red Deer."
The news also pleased elected officials in Penhold and Bowden who
agreed with Spiller that any economic growth in the region is also
good for their communities.
"Highway 2A is a busy rural road and it's definitely going to get a
little busier," said Penhold mayor Dennis Cooper of the main road
that goes through his town. "We need the help to move our grains to
Bowden mayor Robb Stuart said he's hoping the increased capacity of
the new Niobe grain terminal will also result in increased
transportation along the rail line that goes through his town.
"Some of the big trains are going through, but 80 per cent of them
are still tankers, so hopefully we get a little more expediency in
moving the grain or whatever other seed out of Alberta to the
ports," said Stuart. "Any economic growth we can get in the region
June 20, 2013, Red Deer Advocate
Nova settles concerns over
rail yard expansion
Concerns about the impact of Nova Chemicals Corp. expanding the rail
facilities at its Joffre complex appear to have been addressed.
A March 14 decision by Lacombe County's municipal planning
commission to allow the petrochemical company to add new track and
rail car storage facilities to the site was upheld by the county's
subdivision and development appeal board on Wednesday. The
commission's approval had been appealed by a group of nearby
landowners, who were worried about increased rail traffic and noise,
and a resulting decline in property values.
The appeal board was told prior to the hearing that Nova and the
landowners had reached an agreement on measures that would appease
the landowners. These included Nova implementing a noise abatement
program with respect to the rail yards, operating the expanded yards
outside a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew, and reviewing noise levels on an
The appeal board added these measures as conditions to the county's
The rail yard expansion is part of a nearly $1-billion project to
construct an addition onto to one of Nova's polyethylene plants at
Joffre. Scheduled to wrap up by the end of 2015, the work is
expected to boost polyethylene production by 40 per cent and rail
traffic by 30 per cent.
Nova previously indicated that it would develop berms and relocate
trees to reduce the noise and visual impact of its railyard
expansion. It also intends to install shields on high-mast lighting
there to minimize the amount of light emanating from the area.
Speaking after the appeal board hearing, Rick Van Hemmen, Nova's
Joffre site leader, expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
"All of the things that are in the conditions, whether it's the
curfew or a noise abatement program for rail or some ongoing
monitoring and reporting back to the community, are things that we
are very comfortable doing, and that we already committed publicly
to doing at our last open house."
Van Hemmen said Nova's railyards have been operating under a
voluntary curfew since 2005. The company was initially unsure it
could continue this practice once polyethylene production increases,
but is now confident the restricted hours will be manageable --
outside of exceptional circumstances.
Van Hemmen added that Nova will also work with Canadian National
Railway to mitigate noise levels.
Feb. 15, 2013, Red Deer Advocate (Paul
Rail traffic to jump
Rail yard being added at Nova Chemicals at Joffre
Rail traffic at the Nova Chemicals complex in Joffre will be boosted
by about 30 per cent as part of a proposed polyethylene plant
A rail yard with room for 450 cars will be added on the west side of
the existing yards, which will also be expanded to make room for
almost 100 more cars.
The additional rail traffic created means Nova will have to drop a
self-imposed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in its rail yards. The curfew
was put in place to keep noise down at night.
Rick Van Hemmen, Nova's Joffre site leader, said the company does
not know yet how much extra activity will be created and how much
former curfew time will be needed to move rail cars around.
The company said it is well aware that keeping noise down is
important to neighbours and the company will do as much as it can to
limit the impact, especially during usual sleeping hours.
One of the key considerations for choosing the rail yard site was
that it is further from neighbouring residents.
More details on traffic flows and movements in the new yards will
come as plans proceed.
The Nova complex sees about 10,500 hopper cars and 7,500 tank cars a
year. About 4,400 to 5,400 more cars will be added after the
Van Hemmen was before Lacombe County council on Thursday to discuss
rezoning 100 acres of agricultural land to heavy industrial to make
way for the rail yards.
The $30-million project is part of a $750-million to $900-million
expansion to a polyethylene plant on site.
The new polyethylene reactor will produce about 950 million to 1.1
billion pounds of low-density polyethylene a year -- boosting total
plant production by about 40 per cent.
Nova's board is expected to give the project the green light next
month and construction would start in the spring for completion by
the end of 2015.
Coun. Rod McDermand, who attended the meeting through
teleconferencing, questioned how much of the 100 acres would be
taken out of agricultural production when the rail yards are built.
Van Hemmen said about 20 acres are needed for the yards, but there
will also be a little more land put aside to create a larger
However, if approved, all 100 acres would be zoned industrial and
could one day be put to that use, he added.
Council gave first reading to the rezoning bylaw and set a public
hearing for March 14.
Nov. 1, 2011, Red Deer Advocate
Rahr Malting announces $6M
to Alix plant
Rahr Malting Co. has announced a $6-million addition to its Alix
The expansion will boost Rahr Malting's storage capacity to 1.2
million bushels of barley, up from 400,000 bushels. That will allow
the company to accept more barley from farmers during the year,
reducing the risk of grain deteriorating while in producers' hands.
Rahr Malting president Willie Rahr said increasing the plant's
storage is a necessary step before expansion of its malt production
capacity can be considered. The Alix plant currently produces
180,000 tonnes of malt annually, with this sold to customers in
Federal Agriculture Gerry Ritz was at the Rahr Malting plant on
Tuesday for the announcement. He credited his government's efforts
to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly power over the
marketing of Western Canadian wheat and barley for helping attract
capital investment by grain processors.
If pending legislation passes, prairie farmers will be free to sell
their own wheat and barley as of Aug. 1, 2012.
Webmaster Note: The Rahr Alix plant is served by both
Canadian National (Three Hills sub) and Canadian Pacific (Lacombe
April 29, 2011, Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley)
Dow takes on feedstock in
$41 million expansion
Dow Chemical Canada Inc. is planning a
$41-million expansion at its
Prentiss polyethylene plant
The project to be built over two years will see new rail lines added
and additional equipment installed to produce new grades of
polyethylene using butene as feedstock.
Construction is expected to begin next month and the first phase
will wrap up in October. A second phase will be built between May
and October next year.
Construction will create 25 to 50 temporary jobs this year and 150
to 200 similar jobs next year. Once completed, the expansion is
expected to add two to three new contractor positions.
Otto Parets, production leader at the plant, told Lacombe County's
municipal planning commission on Thursday the expansion is the
biggest undertaken at the facility since 1999. The upgrade gives Dow
greater flexibility in the kinds of feedstock it can process at the
plant, about eight km southeast of Lacombe.
Introducing the new product is part of a business strategy meant to
solidify the company's market position in North America and boost
value for shareholders.
The project will see three new rail sidings built on the northern
edge of the site, providing room for 85 rail cars to store the small
bead-like plastic pellets produced at the complex.
Three shorter lines will be used to store rail cars full of butene,
the feedstock used for the new addition. Another section of track
will be built to improve movement of rail cars on the site and a new
tank unloading area will be added.
Among changes proposed by Dow is to go a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week
rail car unloading and loading system. Currently, loading and
unloading only takes place between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Parets said the current system causes a "significant bottleneck" and
creates a safety issue as workers try to get all the loading done
within curfew limitations.
Several county councillors questioned company officials closely
about how much additional noise would be caused by all-night loading
and the coupling and uncoupling of rail cars.
Dow is still studying the noise issue to ensure any new activity
does not exceed Energy Resource Conservation Board regulations.
Randy Parks, Dow property tax manager, said the company recently
bought land nearby from a property owner who had raised noise
"I think we now have adequate buffer lands," said Parks, adding
there are no homes nearby.
Councillor Brenda Knight asked whether the rail yard expansion will
increase the amount of light generated. Dow uses spotlights and
lights carried by workers and the operation is not expected to cast
off more light, she was told.
Emissions from the expansion are not expected to be much different
than those released now and will fall within existing approved
The county's municipal planning commission conditionally approved a
development permit on Thursday.
The project also requires Environment Canada and Alberta Environment
Prentiss is home to Dow's polyethylene plant, and two ethylene
glycol plants operated by MEGlobal, a joint venture between
Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) of Kuwait, a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, and The Dow Chemical
March 24, 2010, Red Deer Advocate
Rail link needs rezoning
Parkland Refining Ltd. wants to rezone nearly 14 acres to build a
rail spur to its refinery and tank farm just north of Bowden.
Red Deer County council granted first reading to a bylaw to adopt a
proposed area structure plan necessary to make way for the project
to build a rail spur off the nearby Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
To prepare for the tracks, 14 acres of Parkland-owned land must be
rezoned to heavy industrial.
The project, meant to improve efficiency, will see gasoline and
diesel fuel transferred from rail cars on the spur line.
A pipeline would carry the fuel to the nearby tank farm.
The county received one letter of concern from an area resident, who
was worried about fuel spills, leakage or derailments.
Parkland told the county that the company and CPR have emergency
response plans in case of problems. A new emergency response plan
would be in place for the rail spur.
A public hearing on Parkland's application is expected to take place
at Red Deer County Centre next month.
Parkland Refining is owned by Red Deer-based Parkland Income Fund.
The Bowden refinery is operated as a storage and contract processing
Nov. 18, 2009, Red Deer Express (Michael Dawe)
Joffre's petrochemical plant has had
Thirty years ago, on Oct. 22, 1979, one of the most important
industries in Central Alberta's history celebrated the official
It was the world-scale Alberta Gas Ethylene (Novacor) petrochemical
plant at Joffre. This massive complex has had an enormous impact on
the local, provincial and national economy.
Work on the plant commenced in July 1976 on a 150-acre site, just
south of the hamlet of Joffre. With a projected cost of $375
million, it was easily the largest construction project ever
commenced in Central Alberta.
It was also one of the first steps in a major provincial initiative
to diversify the Alberta economy. The provincial government realized
that the great oil boom could not last forever and that other
industries would have to be developed to ensure future prosperity.
One of the fastest ways to start diversification would be to
encourage the development of a petrochemical industry in the
Such a massive undertaking took an enormous amount of work and
The Alberta Gas Trunk Line Company, a regulated utility involved in
the transmission of natural gas in Alberta, was persuaded to take
the lead in the project.
It created a subsidiary known as Alberta Gas Ethylene that would
produce ethylene from ethane feedstock extracted from natural gas.
Dow Chemical and Dome Petroleum became partners.
Dow agreed to purchase all the ethylene produced by the plant for
at least 20 years. Dome agreed to purchase all the ethane left over
after the production of the ethylene and export it.
The AGE facility, once completed, was to be the largest ethylene
plant in Canada, producing 1.2 billion pounds of ethylene a year.
Moreover, it was to be a keystone for the future petrochemical
The first summer was taken up with the clearing and leveling of the
site. Next, the necessary pipelines and foundations were installed.
A three-mile spur-line was constructed from the CN rail line at
Joffre to help with the moving of machinery and materials to the
A huge work camp, capable of housing up to 800 construction
workers, was also erected.
Because of the booming Alberta economy, it was often a challenge to
hire enough labour for the project.
In order to assist with the project, roads in the area were
upgraded and at time rebuilt. A new, much larger bridge was built
across the Red Deer River, south of the plant, replacing the East
Bridge that had been originally constructed in 1922.
In the spring of 1977, the first steel structures began to emerge
with the construction of eight massive cracking furnaces. A huge
fracturing tower was also erected.
In October 1978, four heavy cranes were used to lift the 250-foot
flare stack into position. It was one of the last pieces of heavy
construction to be completed. Work then began on the many kilometres
of piping and thousands of valves and controls necessary to make the
In the summer of 1979, an orange glow radiated across the
countryside as the plant began to gear up for production. People
could see the light from as far west as Bentley and as far south as
To underscore that this massive project was just the first in a
number of ones planned, even before the plant was opened in October
1979, AGE announced that it would be building a second world-scale
ethylene plant near Joffre, a project that was completed in 1984.
Meanwhile, the local petrochemical industry got another major boost
with the construction of an ethylene glycol plant by Union Carbide
at Prentiss in 1984 with a second one being completed in 1994. These
are now operated by Dow Canada.
On Feb. 29, 1996, Novacor Chemicals (the successor to AGE) and
Union Carbide jointly announced the construction of a new
billion-dollar ethylene plant at Joffre. Union Carbide also
announced the construction of a $385 million polyethylene plant next
to its ethylene glycol complex at Prentiss.
Later, the announcements got even more impressive. Amoco announced
the construction of a linear alpha olefins (LAO) plant on Novacor's
land at Joffre. Novacor also made an announcement that, in
partnership with ATCO and Epcor, it would construct one of Canada's
largest cogeneration electrical plants.
Ultimately, the cost of the massive projects would total more than
$2 billion. They were to create as many as 4,000 construction jobs.
Not only were the plants to be one of Canada's largest industrial
projects, they were to turn Joffre/Prentiss area into the largest
ethylene/polyethylene complex in the world.
Moreover, these wonderful developments have helped to make Red Deer
and Central Alberta one of the major economic engines of Canada.
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