With plans to set up shop in Alberta, a Chinese business visited Stettler last Wednesday after a tour of Red Deer in the morning.
China Shenghong Group was in the region to scout out a location to build and operate a petrochemical plant.
“The group officials expressed a specific interest in methanol extraction and processing,” said Aubrey Brown, executive-director of Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development, which co-ordinated the visit.
“They own two petrochemical plants in China and communicated that they require large quantities of methane.”
Officials with the company declined questions from the media, because the visit was exploratory. They plan to return in coming months and comment at that time.
“This was a very preliminary visit,” Brown said.
Stettler is one of several locations in Alberta under study by the group, which plans to complete an assessment and return to the province in coming months, he said.
“Of all the areas in province, it’s great that Stettler was included, and that draws a lot of attention to this region,” Brown said.
Such a venture in the local area would be welcome news to major municipalities.
“This investment in a major gas facility would certainly give a boost to the economy of Stettler and area,” County of Stettler Reeve Wayne Nixon said.
“We learned that the company is a world leader in chemical fibre technology and would require methanol as a main material.”
Town officials would also welcome this venture to the community.
“Anytime you have people and businesses outside the region or country looking to invest in this area, is all very positive,” said Stettler Mayor Dick Richards.
While in the local area, the delegation toured gas plants such as the Keyera Nevis and Bearspaw gas plants.
Elected officials from the County of Stettler and the Town of Stettler hosted a lunch for the delegation, which also made a brief presentation to county council.
Local industry and community leaders played key roles in the tour as Wayne Long of Vortex Services of Stettler accompanied the delegation and answered questions for the entire tour.
This was the second County of Stettler gas plant related inquiry from Chinese investors in 2013, Brown said.
Access Prosperity welcomed the Jovo Group from China in March.
Provincial government officials said the doors to foreign investment.
“We are thrilled to welcome executives from Shenghong Group on their first visit to central Alberta,” said International and Interprovincial Relations Minister Cal Dallas, who attended a dinner with the delegation the night before in Red Deer, with Reeve Nixon and his wife Loree also present.
The Shenghong Group has petrochemical, textile, energy, real estate, hotel and major industrial enterprises, with annual sales revenues of 5 billion and more than 30,000 people employed.