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Ethanol plant nixed for Portage

By Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic

Portage la Prairie's plans for a new ethanol plant have been cancelled following a decision by Royal Dutch Shell PLC and its partner Iogen Corporation, announced Monday.

The plant to be located in the Poplar Bluff Industrial Park, west of Portage, was expected to create more than 100 jobs in the area.

Rural Municipality of Portage councillor Terry Simpson confirmed the proposed plant won't be going ahead.

He said a representative from Shell out of Houston, Texas, contacted him with the news.

"He basically said I have bad news for you," Simpson said. "We are shelving the project due to economics. They feel there needs to be more studies done on the process of using straw for making ethanol. They thought it wasn't economical at the present time.

"They didn't want to get the plant built and then find out afterwards that it wasn't going to pay for itself. Then, end up mothballing it," added Simpson.

He said much work has been put into the project already, including environmental studies.

"They put a lot of work into it . they have been at it for a year," Simpson said.

If the project were to be going ahead, the announcement would have been in 2013.

"It was a disappointment to the RM of Portage, but rather than having something being built and then being disappointed if it didn't pan out the way they wanted it, that makes it more of a liability to the oil company," added Simpson.

In a news release, Shell said it would be refocusing its strategy going forward.

See more in Portage Daily Graphic.

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