US Williams to start Canadian propylene plant in Nov

24 August 2001 23:11  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (CNI)--US energy company Williams said Friday it will start in November a new 73 000 tonne/year polymer-grade propylene plant at Edmonton, Alberta using off-gasses from the nearby Suncor oil sands project.

Mike Hantzsch, Williams' Calgary-based vice president for business development, told CNI today that total investment in the plant is some $250m (Euro272m), with full start-up scheduled for 15 November.

He said Williams is examining the possibility of expanding the facility.

The propylene output will be shipped via rail to the US Gulf Coast where Williams has two buyers under contract, he said. Added Hantzsch: "We are looking to expand on that."

The Williams project uses olefins-rich off-gases from Suncor’s Fort McMurray oil sands field. The off-gases are produced as a coker by-product in the conversion of bitumen into lighter crude components, and were until now burned as fuel, Hantzsch explained.

In a first step at Fort McMurray, Williams will extract and recover in liquid form propane and heavier components from some 100m cubic feet/day of oil-sand off-gases, yielding some 13 500 bbl/day of natural gas liquids (NGL).

The NGLs are then shipped via pipeline to Williams’ new facility in Redwater, near Edmonton, where in a 320 foot-tall separation tower the propane and the propylene are separated, yielding 73 000 tonne/year of polymer grade propylene, 7500 bbl/day of propane, 4000 bbl/day mixed butene-butylene stream and 1000 bbl/day of condensate.

The project has an additional potential for expansion to recover some 10 000 bbl/day of ethane-ethylene mix, Hantzsch noted. "We are looking at the economics of that expansion as we speak," he said. Preliminary engineering studies on the expansion are underway, he added.

Williams Energy is headquartered at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Its Canadian offices are at Calgary, Alberta.


By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653



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