Port of Portland reaches deal on terminal to store Canadian propane before shipment to Asia

IndustriesAssociated Press

The Port of Portland said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with a company that wants to build a terminal to temporarily house propane imported by rail from Canada then exported by ship to Asia.

The port said the Pembina Pipeline Corp. terminal could go online in 2018 and handle 37,000 barrels a day of propane. Its cost is estimated at more than $500 million in private investments.

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Pembina, based on Calgary, Alberta, will construct and operate the facility intended to handle propane derived from natural gas in western Canada. The company says most of the propane would be used for residential and industrial purposes overseas.

The development marks another effort to export fuels through the Northwest to Asia.

In a statement, Portland port Executive Director Bill Wyatt said it has been choosy about such deals, "saying 'no' to coal and 'not now' to crude by rail."

He called propane a clean and safe alternative fuel and said Pembina is an experienced company committed to safety.

Port officials say the terminal could be a boon for the local economy, creating 600 to 800 temporary construction jobs and about 35 to 40 permanent positions.

The terminal would also generate an estimated $3.3 million a year in taxes for the city of Portland, $2.4 million for Multnomah County, and $3.1 million to Portland public schools.

Pembina must still obtain required environmental and regulatory permits and approvals for the development to proceed.

"We're just in the early stages of that," said port spokesman Josh Thomas.

The company recently announced it has agreed to buy a pipeline system that carries as many as 40,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids to Alberta from the Bakken region of North Dakota.