With the growing diversity of its economy, Sarnia can offer global expertise in a number of industries. Many of the firms located in this vibrant border community are doing business internationally and are recognized for the excellence of their technology and world-scale quality of their products and services. Sarnia is well positioned to build on its long and rich tradition as a leader in industry.
For many decades Sarnia-Lambton has been a national and international leader in the production of chemicals, synthetic rubber and a variety of oil based products. More than 20 major petrochemical and petroleum manufacturing sites are located in the area. In Sarnia , major petrochemical and refinery facilities include those operated by Imperial Oil/Esso, Suncor, Amoco, Bayer Rubber, Nova Chemicals, Cabot
Sarnia’s petrochemical history began with the first discovery of oil in North America in Oil Springs (located about 35 km from Sarnia) in 1858. Shortly thereafter, Imperial Oil established a refinery in Petrolia, which later relocated to Sarnia around the turn of the century. During the Second World War, Polymer Corporation (later Polysar, now Bayer Rubber) was established in Sarnia to manufacture synthetic rubber. Following the war, Sarnia experienced rapid growth as a result of major investments by petroleum and chemical companies.
While petrochemical production and investment in existing and new plant and equipment continues, economic development efforts in the Sarnia area are being focused on the need for economic diversification. In addition to encouraging renewed petrochemical expansion, the community is now working to attract investment in a variety of growing sectors. These include auto parts manufacturing (a key opportunity due to highway access and the proximity of auto assembly plants in Ontario and Michigan), transportation, plastics, tourism, environmental, health care, education, software and value-added agriculture-based products.
The Petrochemical Industry
Extending from Sarnia for some 32 kilometres (20 miles) southward is an impressive series of multi-million dollar petrochemical plants which make up the greatest concentration of this type of industry in
Engineering & Metal Fabrication
Engineering and fabrication skills are top quality in Sarnia and are purchased by firms around the world operating chemical plants, pulp and paper mills, waste water treatment facilities, automotive plants and breweries. Expertise is strong in industrial engineering and fabrication for pressure vessels, heat exchangers, reactors, corrosive materials, chemical coatings, high voltage power systems and high-pressure pipelines. Engineering firms also have expertise in a number of civil and structural construction specialties.
Sarnia is developing a distinct industrial service sector, which includes planning, designing, building and monitoring systems to protect the environment. Specialized services exist in waste/pollution control, spill protection products, energy efficiency, recycling and resource substitution, environmental engineering, waste water treatment and contaminated site remediation. This core experience, among the best in the world, was created by building local environmental solutions to air and water pollution concerns.
Sarnia is positioning itself to be a player in the information technology industry. Lambton College is one of only four locations in
Sarnia-Lambton is also a major agricultural region with opportunities for food processing. There are more than 2,600 farming operations, and their production value exceeds $228-million annually. Lambton is one of Ontario’s top 10 counties for agriculture, specializing in soybeans, wheat and corn. The rich agricultural land would also be suited to other cash crops such as sugar beets or industrial hemp.
Employers in the Sarnia-Lambton area include the following:
Approximately 23,700 people are employed in over 1,600 industrial-oriented firms and enterprises.
Just under 8,970 people are employed by 193 companies in 17 manufacturing sectors.
Potential investors and agents requiring detailed information are encouraged to contact the City’s Economic Development & Corporate Planning Office. All inquiries are dealt with in confidence. Detailed information packages tailored to specific requirements can be provided upon request.