Friday, September 5, 2014

Portland Inks Propane Export Terminal Deal

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Portland said Sept. 2 that it has an agreement in place with Pembina Pipeline Corp. to develop a rail-served propane export facility that could be up and running by early 2018. Pembina plans to construct and operate the facility on land adjacent to the east end of the port’s marine Terminal 6 in Rivergate Industrial District.

Private investment is estimated at more than $500 million dollars; the project represents one of the largest single private capital investments in the city’s history.

“The city is committed to growing our economy on the land we already have, and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We welcome this investment and these jobs in Portland. This proposal meets these goals.”

Pembina, based in Calgary, Alberta, is one of Canada’s leading providers of transportation and logistics for the North American energy sector; the company has experience in building propane facilities and safely transporting and storing propane in both Canada and the US.

“Signing an agreement with the Port of Portland is a tremendous start to making this project real. It marks the beginning of consulting with government and stakeholders,” Pembina’s President and CEO, Mick Dilger, said.

The propane export facility is designed to receive about 37,000 barrels of propane daily. It’s anticipated that most of the propane would be exported to Asian markets, to be utilized for various residential and industrial purposes.

“After saying ‘no’ to coal and ‘not now’ to crude by rail, we are confident that we are saying ‘yes’ to the right partner at the right time,” Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said. “Propane has an excellent track record as a clean and safe alternative fuel.”

It is estimated that the project would generate between 600 to 800 temporary construction jobs and about 35 to 40 new, permanent positions to operate the terminal. Additionally, an estimated $3.3 million in annual tax revenues would go to the City of Portland, $2.4 million to Multnomah County and $3.1 million to Portland Public Schools annually.

“It is not an overstatement to say this would be transformative not only for the port’s bottom line, but for the significant influx of city, county and state tax revenue supporting our region.” Wyatt said. “We already handle exports of potash and wheat from Canada, and we’re excited to serve as the gateway for this new cargo type from our neighbors to the north.”