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Layered History: Jumping Pound Shell Gas Plant 1951
I layered a photo taken on Springbank Road with an archival photo of Jumping Pound Shell Gas Plant taken in 1951 and reprinted in an article by Graham Chandler 50 years later. Shell Canada’s Jumping Pound processing plant is 30 km west of Calgary where Jumping Pound Creek meets X Creek.
Chandler (2001) described how It began operation in 1951. R. A. (Bob) Brown sold the Jumping Pound acreage to Shell in 1942. In 1944 drillers discovered the natural gas that was the largest in Canada at that time, 25% of Alberta’s proven plus probable gas reserves. In the 1950s Shell signed a contract with Canadian Western Gas (now Atco Gas) to supply Calgarians with natural gas for the next ten years. Jumping Pound was one of the first sour gas plants in Canada and it was a massive engineering challenge.
"The next important plant built in Canada resulted from the discovery in 1944 of a wet sour gas find by Shell Oil at Jumping Pound, west of Calgary. Calgary, Exshaw (where there was a cement factory) and Banff were all potential markets for Jumping Pound gas, but the sour gas first required processing and sweetening. The gas plant began operating in 1951. Built "California-style," with few buildings or other provisions for a cold climate, the original Jumping Pound plant ran into problems. During the first winter, water condensation and other cold weather problems led to one operational failure after another. When the second winter arrived, buildings sheltered most of the facilities. Shell Jumping Pound is sometimes referred to as Canada’s "sour gas laboratory," for much of the industry’s early understanding of sour gas processing came from experience there. [Sour gas, as it is known, in its natural state is laced with hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which can be lethal if inhaled in even tiny concentrations. (The more general term acid gas refers to natural gas with any acidic gas in it – carbon dioxide (CO2), for example.)] It was the first sulfur plant in the world, its sulfur unit going into production in 1952. For this distinction it narrowly beat out the Madison Natural Gas plant which began extracting sulfur at Turner Valley later the same year. (wikipedia)"
Chandler, Graham. 2001. "Sour Gas University: Pioneer Jumping Pound Plant turns 50, still going strong." Oilweek Magazine. JuneWarren Publishing. November 1. pp. 63-6.