Keyera celebrates Rimbey plant’s 50 years

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  • Aug. 23, 2011 9:00 a.m.
Jim Bertram

Jim Bertram

By Treena Mielke

Employees from Keyera Corp. Rimbey Gas Plant had a chance to rub elbows with the company’s top officials and visit government dignitaries at the plant’s 50th anniversary bash at the plant last Friday.

Employees, customers and special guests enjoyed a barbecue lunch and, of course, birthday cake, inside a huge tent at the plant’s anniversary celebration. Following the luncheon, company officials spoke about the history of the plant, its present operations and plans for the future.

“Our mission for the Rimbey Gas Plant is to have this facility remain viable for years to come,” said plant superintendent Murray Loyek.

“This vision has created a change in our thinking. We no longer refer to the plant as just a gas plant, we refer to it as an energy complex.”

He noted the plant has experienced recent additions that have added to its efficiency, including a custom offload system, a modified lean oil process and the addition of the carbon dioxide liquefaction plant.

The Carlos pipeline that brings gas from the Leedale area southwest of the plant is another valuable addition, he said.

The Rimbey Gas Plant has received provincial recognition with an award for Environmental Excellence in recognition of its environmental management and for voluntarily de-grandfathering its emissions license.

Jim Bertram, CAO of Keyera Corp., said the future of the gas plant is promising.

“It’s hard not to get excited about the future of the Rimbey Gas Plant. We have a state of the art plant that’s 50 years old. How often do you get that?”

Bertram is also excited about the geology in the area, noting the Hoadley Glauconite Play has great potential due to horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracturing technology.

Rocky Mountain House MLA Ty Lund, who attended the celebration, said the Rimbey Gas Plant fills a need in the oil and gas industry.

“It is a godsend to the industry as it is a processor and there is a real need for that. And they are doing a super job.”

“In his speech, Loyek spoke of the history of the plant, noting it was designed and built by Pool Pritchard Canadian Limited for British American Oil Company Limited and its partners. with construction completed in January of 1961.

“The plant was originally designed to process 427 million standard cubic feet of gas per day from two major sour gas fields, Homeglen Rimbey and Westerose South.”

The main products of the plant were natural gas, propane, butane, condensate and sulphur.

In the fall of 1961, the Rimbey Pipeline Company completed construction and from that time all pipeline liquids from the Rimbey Gas Plant travelled through the Rimbey pipeline system to refinery row in Edmonton.

“At present, Keyspan Energy Canada is an owner in (the company) and is the operator of Rimbey Pipeline Company,” Loyek said.

A lean oil deepcut added in 1964 nearly doubled the propane and butane recover.

Plant signs were changed in 1969 when the British American Oil Company, Royalite and Schiwinigan Chemicals amalgamated to form Gulf Oil Canada Limited.

Changes in ownership again took place when Gulf Canada sold to Keyspan.

In 2003 Keyspan focused on assets in the United States and put Keyspan Energy Canada up for sale.

“The successful bid came internally as we put forth a plan to convert Keyspan Energy Canada into an energy trust and the conversion came to a successful culmination when in February 2005 we announced our new name — Keyera Energy,” said Loyek.

In January Keyera Energy was converted from an energy trust to a corporation and became Keyera Corp.

The corporation operates one of the largest natural gas midstream businesses in Canada. Its business consists of natural gas gathering and processing as well as the processing, transportation, storage and marketing of natural gas liquids and crude oil midstream activities.

Keyera markets propane, butane and condensate to customers in Canada and the United States.

The Rimbey Gas Plant has a capture area of more than 4,600 square kilometres and provides a full range of gas processing services.

The plant also produces a special frac oil product and liquified CO2 which are used for well servicing and oil recovery.

It employs about 90 people including support staff and contractors.