Shell Canada
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Shell Canada Shellburn Refinery Construction

Fluor first came to Canada in the 1940s, under contact to Shell Oil of British Columbia, now Shell Canada Ltd., to perform engineering, drafting, and to manage the construction of the Shellburn Refinery expansion on Burrard Inlet, which faces the Canadian Rockies.

Client's Challenge

Shell's original Shellburn Refinery was constructed in 1932.

In December 1945, ground was broken for the refinery expansion that was designed to efficiently use all types of crude petroleum, which was especially important during the postwar period when crude was in short supply.

The new addition to the refinery included the following units: thermal cracking, distillation, and stabilization, U.O.P. catalytic polymerization of stabilizer overhead gas, gasoline chemical refining, re-run, and gasoline sweetening.

The refinery employed special variations of new refining techniques developed and perfected by Shell chemists during the last years of World War II to produce high-grade motor gasoline and fuel oil from high-pour, waxy, straight-run residue.

Fluor's Solution

Fluor provided engineering, drafting, and construction supervision services to Shell for the refinery expansion in Vancouver.

The engineering and drafting was performed in Fluor's Los Angeles office while several experienced Fluor personnel traveled to Vancouver to oversee the construction of the refinery expansion.

Fluor provided experienced construction personnel onsite during construction to manage the all-Canadian construction staff. Fluor's construction team had high praise for the craft workers from British Columbia, who contributed 100 percent of the required labor. The Canadians, too, thought well of Fluor, which made for an excellent relationship between the two firms and two neighboring countries.


The Shell Refinery expansion was Fluor's first project in Canada.

One of Shell Canada's vice presidents stated after the completion of the refinery that it was one of North America's most modern oil refineries. The catalytic polymerization unit was the first one of its type erected in British Columbia.

Since that time, Fluor has enjoyed more than 60 years doing business in Canada. Fluor used its experience in engineering, design, and construction to support Shell in modernizing it refinery at Shellburn after World War II and continues today serving Canadian Clients in the oil and gas industry.

Some content and photos are Courtesy of Shell Canada Ltd.