The Suncor Montreal Sulphur Plant celebrates 60 years of continuous operations

The Suncor Montreal Sulphur Plant celebrates its 60th anniversary mainly because of the past and present dedication of a multi-disciplinary team servicing Suncor.

The Montreal Sulphur Plant was founded in 1956 by Dr. Donald Zink as Laurentide Chemicals & Sulphur Ltd. It was one of the first plants of its kind in Canada as efforts were being made to develop processes to recover elemental sulphur from crude oil refining processes and produce less corrosive gasoline. Production began in 1958.

Originally, the sulphur recovery efficiency was relatively low as compared to modern standards. Early in the 1960s, the process was significantly improved to enhance the sulphur recovery efficiency with the addition of a second- and a third-stage reactor.

For about 20 years, the plant provided sulphur recovery services to six refineries in east-end Montreal with the guarantee that the plant would maintain its continuous operation.

In the late 1970s Sulconam Inc. acquired the Sulphur plant which later became a subsidiary of Marsulex in 1997. Before the Suncor acquisition in July 2014, the plant had been purchased by Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund in 2011.

Continuous improvements along with significant investments throughout the lifespan of the plant, including the construction of a new tail gas unit in 1999, has enabled the facility to increase its overall sulphur recovery up to a world class performance of 99.99%. The plant also benefited from significant upgrades when the low sulphur gasoline and diesel regulation was introduced in 2006.

Today, the 150 metric tonne-per-day capacity Sulphur recovery plant delivers outstanding mechanical availability with only one hour of unplanned operation in 60 years. The plant is vital to the operation of the Suncor Montreal refinery by providing an essential environmental service.

The sulphur plant produces two useful products. The first is elemental sulphur which, once recovered, has many uses including in the manufacturing of fertilizers. Our process also generates another product that meets an important need: sodium bisulphite; a type of salt used by municipal water-filtration plants to remove excess chlorine. Sodium bisulphite is also a bleaching agent used in the paper and textile industries.

The Suncor Montreal Sulphur Plant and all of its employees are committed to operational excellence, dedicated to the community and the environment, by ensuring the safe operation of this facility.

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