Sulvaris to develop sulphur fertilizer plant in Rocky area

A Calgary-based fertilizer company plans to tap into the Strachan Gas Plant for its newest product.

A Calgary-based fertilizer company plans to tap into the Strachan Gas Plant for its newest product.

Sulvaris Inc. announced on Monday that it has struck an agreement with Keyera Corp. to develop a sulphur fertilizer production facility at Keyera’s gas plant southwest of Rocky Mountain House.

It said the new facility will convert elemental sulphur from the gas plant’s operations into a plant nutrient sulphur fertilizer called Vitasul.

The new facility will be owned as a 50/50 joint venture between Keyera and Sulvaris, with Keyera operating it and producing Vitasul for Sulvaris on a fee-for-service basis.

Sulvaris will market and distribute the product.

Vitasul, which was developed by Sulvaris, consists of microscopic sulphur particles that have been pelletized into fertilizer granules. Once in the soil, they disperse and are converted into plant nutrient sulphur.

Sulvaris said in a release that plant nutrient sulphur is needed for the production of chlorophyll, oil and protein. It added that plant nutrient sulphur deficiency in soils is a growing problem, and that Vitasul has proven effective in global field trials on a variety of crops, including canola, corn and wheat.

The Strachan facility will be able to produce approximately 217,000 tonnes of Vitasul per year. This is expected to be sold in Canada, the United States and Asia.

Randy Boomhour, chief financial officer with Sulvaris, said the Strachan facility will be the first to produce Vitasul on a commercial scale.

He said the sulphur feedstock will come from that gas plant, and others.

“Really what sulphur is, for all intents and purposes, is a waste or a by-product off of oil or gas production. We’re taking that by-product, or waste product, and turning it into a high-value-added fertilizer product that the world really needs.”

Few details about the new facility are available, including its cost. Boomhour said it represented a “material financial investment” and that it would have a visible effect on the Strachan Gas Plant’s appearance.

He said new, permanent jobs would result, but didn’t elaborate.

Engineering work for the project is underway, said Sulvaris in its release, and subject to regulatory approvals, financing and final approval by it and Keyera, construction should begin this year and wrap up early in 2014.

The Strachan gas plant performs a number of natural gas processing services, including sulphur recovery. It’s connected to three major gathering systems, with a capture area covering approximately 2,500 square km.

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