Union urges natgas feedstock strategy for Ontario

29 November 2006 17:32  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Ontario urgently needs a long-term strategy to secure natural gas supplies and other feedstocks if it is to avoid further plant closures in the chemicals, refining, plastics and related industries, a top union official said on Wednesday.


Bob Huget, vice-president with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union, said he opposed exports of Canadian crude oil and natural gas to the US while Ontario’s refining and chemicals sector is suffering due to lack of feedstock.


Ontario’s government should set up a task force to address the feedstock needs of the petrochemicals and refining industries and develop strategies to ensure the viability of value-added chemicals manufacturing in the province, Huget said in a statement.


Referring to Dow Chemical’s planned closures at Ontario’s petrochemicals hub in Sarnia, Huget said: “It makes [no] sense to sit idly by and watch companies like Dow Chemical in Sarnia close while [Canada’s energy regulator] caters to industry demands to keep pumping all of the value-added potential out of our country."


Dow said in August it would close all its manufacturing plants in Sarnia by the end of 2008 due to lack of long-term feedstock supplies after BP suspended ethylene shipments on the Cochin pipeline from Alberta to Ontario.


But Huget also said he welcomed the Ontario government’s decision to oppose TransCanada’s planned 3,000km (1,900 mile) Keystone pipeline in hearings before the National Energy Board, Canada's national energy regulator.


The $2.1bn (€1.6bn) pipeline project would, if realised, ship over 430,000 bbl/day of crude from Alberta to markets in the US.


Huget was not immediately available for additional comment.


($1 = €.76)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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