Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies. We employ around 4,000 employees in Canada.
Shell Canada 100 year milestones
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group incorporated its Canadian business in 1911 with a capital of only $50,000. The company opened its Longue Pointe Bunkering Plant in Montréal with just six employees a few weeks later. Read more about Shell Canada’s history below.
1911 - 1920
The beginning of Shell operations in Canada.
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group incorporated its Canadian business in 1911, opening its Longue Pointe Bunkering Plant and gasoline tankage facility in Montréal with just six employees and with capital of only $50,000 (about $1 million today). The opening of Canadian operations came just four years after the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and the Shell Transport and Trading Company had merged in the international marketplace.
The first motor-driven tank truck in Canada goes into service.
Expanded operations in the West coast.
In 1915, a marine bulk terminal was erected in Barnet, a suburb of Vancouver, to receive imports of gasoline and distillates via tanker from Martinez, California. This subsidiary of Shell Oil in the U.S. expanded operations into the west coast, a development that led to a network of 19 service stations by 1928 and incorporation of Shell Oil Co. of B.C. in 1929. A few years later, in 1932, the company opened the Shellburn Refinery in B.C., with an initial capacity of 3,500 barrels per day.
Shell fuels first west to east Atlantic flight.
Shell fuels aviators Alcock and Brown's first west to east transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland.
1921 - 1930
First service station opened in Montreal.
27-year old Jim Carter opened Shell's first service station in Montreal, located on Sherbrooke Street. Initially headquartered in Montréal, Québec, the Shell Company of Canada served a market that, in 1920, included 407,000 motor vehicles in the entire country. With the rise of gasoline consumption, Shell adapted, creating a fleet of delivery trucks and opening its first service station in Canada in Montreal in 1925.
Retail growth in Western Canada.
By 1928 there are nineteen service station outlets in B.C.
First major oil company to introduce engine oil lubricants.
In 1930, Shell became the first major oil company to introduce engine oil lubricants which they eventually marketed in Canada and the rest of the world. Shell International has consistently been at the forefront of fuels and lubricants technology, pioneering new formulations and helping deliver fuel economy for more than 90 years. Shell was one of the first to launch a multi-grade engine oil in 1960 and in the 1970s, Shell pioneered the use of detergents in vehicle oils to help keep engines clean.
1931 - 1940
Construction of the Montreal Refinery begins.
Following a change of name, the company is now called the Shell Oil Company of Canada Limited. Despite the economic setbacks resulting from the Depression, the decision to build a refinery in Montreal is taken.
Shell’s first refinery comes on stream.
Shell's first Canadian refinery, Shellburn, came on stream late in 1932. With an initial capacity of 3,500 barrels per day, the refinery produced a limited range of gasolines, light and heavy fuel oils, and asphalt for road paving.
The Lakeshell lake tanker was welcomed in Toronto on her maiden voyage.
In 1932, a new tanker called the Lakeshell made it maiden voyage. Built to move between newly established terminals on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River, the Lakeshell was welcomed in Toronto on her maiden voyage carrying a record 25,680 barrels of petroleum. At 260 feet, she was the longest tanker sailing the Great Lakes at that time.
Montreal East Refinery goes on stream.
The Montreal East Refinery went on stream on 24 March 1933 with an initial capacity of 5,000 barrels per day. Initially opening with three units, the refinery expanded to include alkylation, hydro-cracking, reforming catalytic, cracking catalytic, thermal catalytic, isomerization, and desulphurization units, ultimately increasing its capacity to 130,000 barrels per day to date.
In 1933 marine terminals were erected at Toronto, Hamilton, Quebec City & Ottawa.
Shell developed a tank sealing technique - the first in Canada.
The tank sealing technique was another innovation by Shell to stop a practice by some dealers of dumping low-quality gasoline into a Shell tank. This first in Canada guaranteed to the customer that the gasoline requested was a Shell product.
Blending and packaging plants are built in both Montreal and Toronto.
Marketing expansion continues despite difficult times. Price-cutting and giveaways are common practice among highly competitive marketers. Blending and packaging plants are built in both Montreal and Toronto to increase distribution of packaged products to major marketing areas.
Shell enters the Prairies and starts its search for petroleum supply in Canada.
Shell is first represented on the Prairies when Shell Oil Company of New York opened an exploration and production office in Calgary and launched an exploration program in Alberta. This was the beginning of what was to be a major search by the company for petroleum supply in Canada.
1941 - 1950
Shell jointly sponsors a crude oil pipeline.
Submarines were devastating shipping in the Atlantic and Gulf of St. Lawrence during WWII making it difficult for Shell's Montreal refinery to obtain consistent crude supply. To help ease the situation, in 1941 Shell jointly sponsored a pipeline from Portland, Maine to Montreal, taking a 20% interest in the venture.
Shell’s War Efforts.
Workshops set up by the federal government at Shell’s Montreal Refinery during the war made navy valves and other war materials.
Shell discovers a major natural gas field at Jumping Pound.
A major natural gas field at Jumping Pound in Alberta was discovered in 1944. A processing plant followed in 1951 and a groundbreaking sulphur recovery plant in 1952. Sometimes referred to as Canada's "sour gas laboratory," much of Shell’s development of sour gas processing came from its experience there. It was the first sulphur plant in Canada.
Montreal East Refinery’s alkylate plant is built.
An alkylate plant is built in Montreal East Refinery to produce alkylates for aviation fuels.
Expansion at Montreal East Refinery.
Shell was processing 3 million barrels of crude and importing 2 million barrels of products. To reduce this dependence on imports, the company added an alkylation plant at Montreal East and launched an expansion project to bring refinery capacity to 40,000 barrels a day. The expansion included a catalytic cracker, gas recovery system and other facilities.
Shell became major explorer in Alberta.
Following the 1947 Leduc discovery by Imperial Oil Limited, Shell quickly became the second most active explorer in Alberta having acquired 400,000 acres in Alberta and 2 million acres in Saskatchewan. Exploration and development proceeded on these land holdings as Shell built up significant reserves of oil and natural gas.
Shell responds to post-war demand for fuel.
With gasoline consumption rising by 60% in the five years following WWII and auto registrations leaping, Shell overhauled, renovated and updated many of its service stations. The marketing organization was streamlined and BC operations were integrated with the rest of Canadian operations. To help independent dealers become established, Shell employs an industry-first sale/leaseback principle to service station financing. The company also inaugurated a mortgage financing plan where Shell would advance funds, secured by mortgages on the new properties allowing Shell to expand its dealer network.
1951 - 1960
Jumping Pound gas processing and sulphur recovery plant opens.
The Jumping Pound gas processing plant opens. Sales gas is sold primarily for home and office heating in Calgary and other Alberta communities, with some output going to eastern provinces. This also launches Shell as a pioneer and leader in sulphur recovery, later resulting in Shell being the Canadian leader in the production and marketing of sulphur, most of which is exported outside North America.
Sarnia Refinery built.
The Sarnia Refinery is built by Canadian Oil Companies Ltd. in 1952. Shell would later buy it in 1962 in the acquisition of Canadian Oil (White Rose).
Trans Mountain pipe line is completed.
The Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver was an engineering challenge that involved crossing the Rocky Mountains. H.H. Anderson, a pipeliner with Shell, guided the line through its construction phases. The pipeline spurred plans to expand Shell's manufacturing capabilities to an overall company capacity to 75,000 barrels daily.
Additions at the Shellburn Refinery.
Further additions at Shellburn Refinery, including a catalyctic cracking unit, increases daily capacity to 15,000 barrels.
Shell was the first Canadian oil company to produce chemicals from petroleum.
From the first tank car shipment of isopropyl alcohol to market from the Montreal plant, Shell added facilities in Montreal, Sarnia (1970s) and later Scotford (1980s). Shell's leadership in Canadian petrochemicals contributed to an industry whose products are used in plastics, packaging, home appliances, furniture, auto parts, carpets, jet aircraft, adhesives, paints, cellophane, and in extracting and refining lubricating oils.
Western Canada expansion brings offices to Calgary.
Expanding operations in Western Canada brought exploration and production employees to new offices on 8th Avenue S.W. in Calgary. Several oil discoveries in Saskatchewan provided impetus for aggressive exploration in both the Foothills and the MacKenzie Corridor. Alberta operations continued with a major gas find near Pincher Creek in 1957 and the building of the Waterton gas plant.
Shell marketing in Alberta commences with the opening of several service stations.
Shell’s Western Division moves into a new building on West Georgia Street.
“Super Shell” the premium gasoline in the white pump, appears on the market.
An asphalt plant is erected at Montreal East Refinery.
Airport refuelling facilities are installed at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island.
Shell Canada became a fully-integrated petroleum company.
Shell Canada became a fully-integrated petroleum company in 1957 when it bought out all the Canadian exploration and production properties of U.S.-based Shell Oil Co., and continued to expand its retail activities at the same time.
Facilities added at Montreal East Refinery.
Facilities are added to the chemical plant at Montreal East Refinery for the production of detergent base stocks for the soap industry, and motor alkylate as well as epoxy-type resins.
Shell Canada moves its head office to Toronto.
Head Office staff move to their new building on Toronto’s University Avenue.
Shell introduces tunnel carwashes.
The first semi-automatic carwashes were developed in the mid-1940s with a conveyer belt and overhead sprinklers. Shell introduced Canada's first tunnel carwash in 1958, and has been a leader in the field ever since. Today, we have more than 260 carwashes, serving the needs of our customers and their vehicles millions of times a year.
Tyee Shell tanker.
The largest tanker on the Canadian west coast, the Tyee Shell is launched and put into service.
Shell acquires North Star Oil Company and Cree Oil Company.
Shell’s marketing area expands.
Marketing area expands to include new service station outlets in Halifax.
West Coast exploration.
Shell acquired about 13.1 million acres off the West Coast for geophysical exploration.
Shell’s 50th Anniversary.
By the end of Shell’s 50th year in Canada and, taking into account the assets gained through its acquisition of North Star Oil Limited a year prior, Shell Canada held 21,500,000 net acres in Western Canada under permit, reservation or lease and sold automotive products under the Shell emblem from 3700 retail outlets accounting for 1.25 billion gallons per year.
Shell purchases Canadian OIl (White Rose).
Shell bought Canadian Oil (White Rose), which included 2,900 retail outlets, refineries in Sarnia, Ontario and Bowden, Alberta, as well as oil and gas properties. The merger increased Shell's share of the gasoline market to about 16%.
Opening of Waterton Gas Plant.
After the discovery of Waterton field in 1957, Shell’s Waterton Gas Plant is opened in 1962.
The company name officially changed to Shell Canada Limited.
In 1963, the name of our rapidly-growing company was officially changed to Shell Canada Limited. Through the 1960s and 1970s, Shell Canada continued to grow, exploring for petroleum resources in a number of Canadian locations and introducing new, innovative technologies and products to the Canadian marketplace.
Sedco 135F – the first offshore drilling vessel ever built in Canada.
Shell Canada commissioned the construction of the first offshore drilling vessel ever built in Canada. The semi-submersible Sedco 135F was built in a Victoria shipyard.
Shell Canada starts exploratory drilling off Canada's East and West Coasts.
Shell conducts a 14-well program on the West Coast over two years until a moratorium was declared. Exploratory drilling is also done on the East Coast near Sable Island, which wound down in 1977 after 47 wells had been drilled without encountering commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. Shell also plays a major role in initiating construction of offshore drilling rigs on the East Coast. The first Halifax-built rig, the Sedco H, was used in Shell's exploration activities.
First major oil company to open self-serve gas stations.
Shell’s first self-serve gas station opened in Vancouver in 1968. Shell was the first major oil company in Canada to open self-serve gas stations, an innovation that quickly spread across the industry. Innovation in retail marketing was a hallmark of Shell Canada Limited’s activity with other significant initiatives being the introduction of in-station convenience stores and the development of the Rapidlube franchise.
First Canadian company to remove lead from gas.
Shell became the first Canadian company to begin removing lead from their gasoline product line. Lead had been used in gasoline across the industry since the 1920s, but due to growing health and environmental concerns, lead began to be phased out of gasoline products in the early 1970s. Shell became the first Canadian company to offer a completely lead-free gasoline product line more than a year before the government’s deadline.
1971 - 1980
Shell plans to extend the development of the Athabasca Oils Sands.
Shell begins a drilling program to delineate two large ore bodies and unveiled a plan to extend the development of the Athabasca Oils Sands.
‘SCOT’ Process at Waterton.
Shell installs its ‘SCOT’ (Shell Claus Off-gas Treating) process at Waterton Gas Plant at a cost of approximately $21M to reduce sulphur-dioxide emissions.
Revenues pass $1 billion.
Revenues passed the $1 billion mark in 1973. Three years later revenues were more than $2 billion and by 1980 were $4 billion. Earnings more than tripled from $101 million in 1973 to $355 million in 1980.
Shell creates the Community Service Fund.
The Community Service Fund (CSF) was created in 1974 with a mandate to provide supplementary financial support to community organizations in which Shell employees are personally involved.
Shell Centre opens.
The 33-floor Shell Centre skyscraper opens in 1977, consolidating the Calgary offices of Shell Canada Resources. Seven years later, in 1984, Shell would move its Canadian corporate headquarters here from Toronto.
Shell takes a position in coal mining as a way to bridge the world-perceived energy gap.
Shell acquired Crows Nest Resources and established a wholly-owned subsidiary to manage the exploration, development, production and marketing of metallurgical and thermal coal from Line Creek in southeastern BC.
Peace River pilot in-situ project.
The $150 million Peace River pilot in-situ project begins operation.
1981 - 1990
Calgary Research Centre opens.
Construction begins on Shell Canada’s Calgary Research Centre. The $21 million research and laboratory facility, located near the University of Calgary, would support downstream research and the petroleum exploration and production operations of the company.
Shell resumed offshore exploration on Canada's East Coast.
The 30-storey high Sedco 709 drilling rig left Halifax on a cool autumn evening in 1982 and would later discover natural gas deep in the ocean floor off Sable Island. The discovery would later contribute to production of natural gas from the Sable Offshore Energy Project offshore of Nova Scotia.
Shell opens its Scotford Refinery, one of North America’s most efficient and modern refineries.
Shell’s $1.4 billion state-of-the-art Scotford Refinery and Petrochemical Plant opened near Edmonton, Alberta in 1984. As one of North America's most modern and efficient refineries, the Scotford Refinery became the first refinery in the world to refine only synthetic crude oil extracted from the massive Alberta oil sands deposits.
The Caroline natural gas field discovered.
At the time of its discovery in 1986, the Caroline field was the largest Alberta natural gas discovery in 20 years. This discovery, announced in 1987, brought hope to the industry which at the time had been suffering through $10 / bbl oil. This discovery also led to the building of the Caroline Complex which began construction in 1990 and opened in 1992. This complex is the newest, most technologically advanced of Shell's four sour gas processing facilities in western Canada.
World Record super mileage vehicle.
At the 1986 Shell Oakville Fuelathon, a super mileage vehicle designed by students from the University Of Saskatchewan obtained a world record with an amazing 5691 miles per imperial gallon.
First company to create formal Sustainable Development principals.
Supported by the drive of then-President, Jack McLeod, Shell becomes the first company to create formal Sustainable Development principles. This led to the creation of the Sustainable Development Report - one of the first of its kind in Canada – outlining Shell’s principles, including stewardship, shared responsibility, prevention, conservation and resource management, waste management, rehabilitation and reclamation, scientific and technological innovation, and international responsibility.
Shell Environmental Fund created.
Shell created the Shell Environmental Fund (SEF) in 1990, believing that it takes the ideas and commitment of all Canadians to find solutions to the country’s environmental dilemmas. Since 1990, the fund has awarded grants to community-driven, grassroots and action-oriented environmental projects. Since 1990, $15 million has been contributed to 4,600 environmental projects across Canada.
1991 - 2000
Shell and Air Miles.
Shell Canada becomes a sponsor of the Air Miles program in 1991.
Largest private land donation in Canadian history.
In 1992, Shell donated 8,900 hectares of land in British Columbia to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This donation was the largest private land donation in Canadian history and the property became the Mount Broadwood Heritage Conservation site. Shell Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) have partnered on land conservation projects for 28 years. As one of the NCC’s longest standing and largest contributors, Shell has donated more than $6.5 million in financial resources, land and mineral rights.
On the retail side, with the introduction of easyPAY, Shell became the first Canadian oil company using a radio chip embedded in a key tag to enable customers to simply drive up to the pumps, present their key chain tag to the pump face for automatic credit authorization, fill up and drive away.
The Sable Offshore Energy Project produces first gas.
First gas flows from the Sable Offshore Energy Project, located offshore of Nova Scotia. Shell has a 31.3% interest in the project that is the first natural gas project in Atlantic Canada to deliver gas to the Maritimes and Northeastern U.S. via the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. Production from Sable represents about 15% of Shell Canada's natural gas production.
Shell announces the Athabasca Oil Sands Project.
1999 brought the landmark decision to build a joint-venture oil sands project. Called the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), the venture included the Muskeg River Mine in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta and the Scotford Upgrader near Edmonton. Integrated production began at the mine and upgrader in 2003 and we now are one of the largest developers of Canada’s oil sands, employing the latest extraction and upgrading technology.
2001 - 2010
First bitumen produced at Muskeg River Mine (MRM).
On August 14, 2002, the first oil sands ore is processed from the Muskeg River Mine. The Muskeg River Mine sits on Shell’s Lease 13 which contains more than five billion barrels of mineable bitumen – an amount that’s about twice the conventional oil reserves remaining in Alberta.
First oil and gas company to be registered as an ISO 14001.
In 2002, the company proudly became the first oil and gas company in Canada to have all its key operating facilities registered to ISO 14001, an international environmental standard.
First crude oil produced at Scotford Upgrader.
The Scotford Upgrader surpassed design capacity rates after start up in less time than other oil sands operators were able to achieve.
Shell invests $400 million to produce ultra low sulphur diesel with <15ppm sulphur.
Shell Canada invests $400-million in a diesel hydrotreater project at its Montreal East and Scotford refineries. Using the newest generation of hydrotreaters in Canada, the refineries would produce on-spec Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel with a maximum of 15 ppm sulphur content when construction completed in 2006.
Shell makes major discovery in Alberta.
In December 2004, Shell announced a major discovery at Tay River in the central Alberta foothills. The Tay River well was one of the most prolific wells in North America, producing about 90 million cubic feet per day of raw gas. The well produced 35 billion cubic feet between May 2005 and November 2006.
100,000 barrel per day expansion.
A 100,000 barrel per day expansion at Albian Sands and Scotford Upgrader is approved; construction commences shortly thereafter.
100 million barrels of bitumen produced.
In 2005, the Company celebrated the AOSP’s achievement of 100 million barrels of bitumen production after just over two years of operation.
Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline launched in 2005, Shell V-Power Premium Diesel launched in 2008. Specially formulated to actively clean your engine for better performance, Shell V-Power removes carbon deposits that can build up on critical engine parts, specifically intake valves and fuel injectors.
The first Orphan Basin well sets a Canadian deep water drilling record.
Following the 2005 acquisition of a 20% interest in eight exploration licenses in the Orphan Basin, the first well, outside-operated Great Barasway F-66, was spudded in August 2006. The well was drilled in deep water at a depth of approximately 2,400 meters (7,900 feet) setting a Canadian deep water drilling record.
Shell purchases BlackRock Ventures.
The purchase of BlackRock Ventures in 2006 added to Shell's oil sands operations with operations located in Peace River, Cold Lake and Lloydminster, Alberta. The acquisition came together with Flying J Inc. to form a joint venture to compete in the growing road transport/highway hospitality market.
In 2006, Bluewave Energy Limited Partnership, Atlantic Canada's leading and fastest growing fuel distribution company, became the parent company of Thermoshell Inc. This provided a great opportunity to streamline our business and develop long-term relationships with companies that can bring the excellence in fuel distribution and localized customer care that customers have come to expect.
Flying J and Shell Canada announce combined road transport business.
Flying J Inc. and Shell Canada Products announced the combination of their road transport businesses in Canada. The new joint venture included Shell Canada Products’ national cardlock network and Flying J’s Canadian travel plazas. As well, Shell and Flying J invested more than $200 million to build new facilities—including more than 15 new travel plazas which feature Shell gasolines - and remodel existing ones to create a comprehensive network for Canadian road transport customers.
Integration with Royal Dutch Shell.
In 2007, majority shareholder Royal Dutch Shell plc, purchased the remaining shares of Shell Canada it did not already own. Since the integration there has been significant investment in major projects like the oil sands and greater access to Shell’s global expertise and technology.
Shell acquires Duvernay Oil Corp.
In August 2008, Shell acquired 61.7 million common shares of Duvernay Oil Corp at a cost of over $5 billion. The acquisition increases Shell's tight gas position within the prolific Montney play fairway.
Shell Mastercard from BMO
Shell BMO co-branded Mastercard launches
Shell first to sell gasoline blended with biofuel
In June 2009, customers at a Shell service station became the first in the world to fill their tanks with gasoline containing advanced biofuel made from wheat straw. The biofuel was produced locally from non-food raw materials at Iogen Energy Corporation’s demonstration plant, using advanced conversion processes.
Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines launched in 2009
In May 2009, Shell Canada introduced new Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, containing a unique, patented cleaning system designed to seek and destroy engine gunk (carbon deposits) in all three grades of gasoline.
Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration
Shell participates in the Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration (ARDD), Canada’s largest cold-weather study of renewable diesel fuels, successfully demonstrating the on-road use of low level renewable diesel blends in a range of Canadian climatic conditions. Shell’s commitment to reliable, quality fuels was the driving force behind our participation as the ultra low sulphur diesel fuel supplier and renewable diesel blender for the project.
Shell Aviation 100 Year anniversary.
Shell Aviation celebrates 100 years of delivering innovation to the aviation industry, based on Louis Blériot’s flight crossing the English Channel in 1909 using Shell fuel. Since this time Shell has played a crucial role in many landmark events in the aviation industry, from helping Sir Frank Whittle develop the jet engine to the development of alternative jet fuels today.
Jackpine Mine begins production.
In September of 2010, Shell successfully began production of a 100,000 barrels per day expansion of its oil sands operations. The new Jackpine Mine combines with the existing production from the Muskeg River Mine to feed the Scotford Upgrader, which processes the oil sands bitumen for refined oil products.
Shell Lubricants announces new product alternative to traditional plastic packaging for motor oil called ECOBOX™. It results in 89 percent less plastic landfill waste than the equivalent plastic bottles, and the carton is fully recyclable.
Upgrader Expansion 1 comes on line with first production.
Following a five year construction, with more than 10,000 employees and contractors involved on site at its peak, Shell completed the construction phase of the Scotford Upgrader Expansion 1 in December, 2010. This project marks a major milestone towards providing an additional 100,000 barrels per day capacity for the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) when production comes online in 2011.
60th Anniversary of Shell’s Jumping Pound Complex.
Since the opening of gas processing plant in 1951 there have been many changes at Jumping Pound, including further development of the Jumping Pound field, discovery of three additional fields and an increased market demand for natural gas and its byproducts. These changes have resulted in plant expansion projects that have increased plant capacity and efficiency and allowed increased recovery of the natural gas by-products; ethane, butane, propane and sulphur.
Shell Canada Centenary.
March 21, 2011 marks Shell’s 100 year anniversary in Canada. One century after Letter Patents were filed under the Ontario Companies Act incorporating The Shell Company of Canada, Limited.
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