Cer­tarus to cre­ate 25 jobs

Com­pressed nat­u­ral gas com­pany, serv­ing mines, to ramp up op­er­a­tions over the next two years

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - RoN Grech

A com­pressed nat­u­ral gas com­pany with roots in Western Canada is mov­ing for­ward with a $54-mil­lion multi-site in­vest­ment in North­ern On­tario to pro­vide fuel to mines and other off-grid in­dus­trial clients.

The ex­pan­sion will see Cer­tarus es­tab­lish a new hub in the east end of Timmins. The com­pany also has plans to open one in Red Rock, which is a com­mu­nity in North­west­ern On­tario.

Within the next two years, Cer­tarus is ex­pected to ramp up to full op­er­a­tion in Timmins, em­ploy­ing 25 full-time work­ers here while pro­vid­ing an ad­di­tional 10 to 15 sea­sonal jobs dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods.

The com­pany saw Timmins as an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand and di­ver­sify its clien­tele.

“A lot of our busi­ness out west is in the oil sands, oil and gas, so we were look­ing for a way to di­ver­sify what we were do­ing, di­ver­sify our in­dus­trial base,” said Stéphane Gal­lant, Cer­tarus man­ager of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in Timmins. “Timmins is well known as a min­ing sec­tor, and … within four hours of 39 op­er­at­ing mines. And so, mines are huge con­sumers of fuel, whether it’s diesel, propane or in some cases, nat­u­ral gas. And we wanted to be close to those mar­kets.”

“Our lo­ca­tion is just east of the Fred­er­ick House River bridge (on High­way 101), so it’s about 30 kilo­me­tres from the city cen­tre. We chose that lo­ca­tion in con­sul­ta­tion with the (Timmins) Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion be­cause the lot was va­cant and it was close to the nat­u­ral gas pipe­line. So the gas that comes into Timmins, comes in from the east. And the best ca­pac­ity was at that site.

Gal­lant said cur­rently, “We’ve got a tem­po­rary fa­cil­ity set up in Timmins which will be op­er­a­tional within the next three weeks. Our per­ma­nent fa­cil­ity out by Fred­er­ick House River will be op­er­a­tional, we ex­pect, just af­ter the new year.”

At the mo­ment, Cer­tarus employs four peo­ple in Timmins in­clud­ing Gal­lant.

“We’re hir­ing an­other two in the next week,” he said. “We are go­ing to ramp up to 25 as we bring more clients on­board. So it will be more gas tech­ni­cians and more driv­ers to han­dle our work­load … We don’t know ex­actly when we will reach 25, but we ex­pect within the next two years.”

Mo­torists trav­el­ling along High­way 101 east of Hoyle in the last few months will likely have seen work crews in­stalling a gas line on the north side of that high­way.

“As part of this project, Union Gas is run­ning a line for us. It’s a six-inch, 900 psi (pounds-per­square inch) line. It’s about 1.3 kilo­me­tres. So they have been work­ing on that for most of the sum­mer,” said Gal­lant.

The Timmins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion trum­peted the ar­rival of Cer­tarus at a press con­fer­ence held at the TEDC of­fice Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Gal­lant said the com­pany com­mit­ted to open­ing a hub in Timmins in fall of 2017 and had been con­sult­ing with the TEDC on a num­ber of is­sues since then.

“We just had to iron out where (within the city) we were go­ing to set up. We were look­ing at an­other site closer to town but it did not have enough gas ca­pac­ity there. So that’s why we ended up hav­ing to find an­other site.”

Cer­tarus sup­plies com­pressed nat­u­ral gas, deal­ing ex­clu­sively with in­dus­try clients.

“A way ex­ists to com­press nat­u­ral gas so that you can trans­port it. So for clients who are not on the gas line but re­quire gas, we can de­liver it to them,” Gal­lant ex­plained. “So ba­si­cally our tech­nol­ogy is a large com­pres­sor which con­nects to the gas line. We com­press it into our trail­ers and we de­liver it to our clients.”

He added, “Our busi­ness case re­quires clients that burn a lot of fuel, so we would not get into a res­i­den­tial client or even a com­mer­cial client. Our clients would cy­cle through our trail­ers in prob­a­bly a day to three or four days. So we are look­ing at clients that are burn­ing a lot. So mines use a lot of gas or propane for un­der­ground air heat­ing. They use diesel and propane for power gen­er­a­tion, so those are heavy users and those are the ones we can serve best with our model.”

Brenda Cami­rand, di­rec­tor in charge of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and re­ten­tion with the TEDC, said “The Timmins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion worked quite closely with Cer­tarus as they went through the de­vel­op­ment process. We worked with them as they searched out the fea­si­bil­ity for the de­vel­op­ment in the com­mu­nity. We looked at busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties with them as well as the site se­lec­tion process.”

Nathan Ough, vice-pres­i­dent of Cer­tarus, stated in a re­lease, “We are ex­cited to be ex­pand­ing into On­tario with our first CNG (com­pressed nat­u­ral gas) hub on High­way 101 East in Timmins. The min­ing and forestry sec­tors will pro­vide a di­ver­si­fied client base for Cer­tarus and al­low us to con­tinue to grow. We are see­ing an in­creas­ing adop­tion of CNG to dis­place diesel, propane and bunker oil to pro­mote cost sav­ings and re­duce en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­prints. Cer­tarus op­er­ates the largest bulk CNG trailer fleet in North Amer­ica and has built over 15 bulk CNG com­pres­sion fa­cil­i­ties across North Amer­ica.”

Ough cred­ited the TEDC for pro­vid­ing “in­valu­able as­sis­tance in un­der­stand­ing the in­dus­trial sec­tors and con­nect­ing us with the re­sources we needed to es­tab­lish our hub in Timmins.”

The Timmins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion worked with Cer­tarus as they ex­plored mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties in the re­gion and com­pleted their site se­lec­tion process.

Also quoted in the re­lease was Fred Gib­bons, board chair­man of the TEDC, who stated, “We’re glad to see this in­vest­ment in Timmins and we’re look­ing for­ward to see­ing how this ser­vice can help im­prove op­er­a­tions and re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print of our mines and mills.

“For users who ex­pe­ri­ence brownouts and black­outs from un­re­li­able elec­tric­ity sup­plies, on­site CNG al­lows for con­tin­u­ous op­er­a­tions. Cer­tarus will pro­vide a ser­vice that will as­sist in in­creas­ing client pro­duc­tiv­ity, re­duce op­er­at­ing costs, and keep more jobs in North­ern On­tario by po­ten­tially ex­tend­ing mine and mill life.”

RoN Grech/THE DAILY PRESS

Stéphane Gal­lant, Cer­tarus man­ager of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in Timmins, spoke at the Timmins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion Thurs­day about his com­pany’s ex­pan­sion into Timmins. Cer­tarus, which sup­plies com­pressed nat­u­ral gas to large in­dus­tries, is ex­pected to ramp up to full op­er­a­tion in Timmins within the next two years, em­ploy­ing 25 full-time work­ers while pro­vid­ing an ad­di­tional 10 to 15 sea­sonal jobs.

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