04 October 2006 21:12 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--Canada’s Nova Chemicals said on Wednesday that it is optimistic it will get more ethane to feed and expand its plants in Alberta, not only short-term from existing natural gas pipelines but also longer-term from oils sands projects and two planned new gas lines.
“The oil sands, and also the planned natural gas pipelines represent significant feedstock opportunities for us,” Val Mirosh, Nova’s president for olefins and feedstocks, told ICIS news in a telephone interview from the company’s headquarters in ?xml:namespace>
Upgrading of the oils sands yields as a by-product light off-gases, which can be used as feedstock for petrochemicals production, Mirosh said. There is already one project in Alberta - a propylene plant by US energy firm Williams - which uses off-gases from oil sands upgrading as a feedstock, Mirosh added..
Also important is that upgraders are being built with the right technology to take out the off-gases for petrochemicals use, instead of burning them as fuel, Mirosh said.
The feedstock opportunity from the oil sands is significant, given that current plans call for Alberta's oil sands based production to be expanded from some 1m bbl/day today to over 3m bbl/day over 10 years, he added.
Another important opportunity for additional feedstock will be two planned natural gas pipeline projects – the Alaska North Slope line and the Mackenzie Delta pipeline, Mirosh said. The
Mirosh sees the oil sands as a more medium-term feedstock opportunity while the pipeline projects are more remote. A near-term feedstock opportunity for
Alberta’s new “Incremental Ethane Extraction Policy” as announced last week should help in boosting ethane supplies in the near-term, Mirosh said. The policy grants consumption credits to petrochemicals makers for incremental ethane use.
Commenting on the current supply situation, Mirosh said ethane is “tight, but manageable” in Alberta. He also said that Nova is not affected by the suspension of ethylene shipments on the
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