Feedstock constraints may limit Alberta petchem industry

09 June 2009 23:10  [Source: ICIS news]

KANANASKIS, Canada (ICIS news)--Alberta’s petrochemicals producers are concerned that the factors needed to aid the development of the province’s significant feedstock potential are not yet being fully addressed, president and CEO of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association (CCPA) Richard Paton, said on Tuesday.

Government policies are being directed towards enabling petrochemicals development, such as introducing programmes to enhance feedstock availability from bitumen from Alberta’s vast oil sands deposits.

Alberta could be home to a $25bn (€18bn) petrochemical industry, twice its current size, he suggested. But it risked running into a decline similar to those seen in Canada’s other main chemicals producing provinces, Quebec and Ontario.

Producers have closed plants in Quebec and virtually killed the industry. Without huge new investments and new feedstocks streams, chemicals production in Ontario does not look promising, Paton said.

“Alberta will be the heart of the chemical industry in Canada," Paton added at the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) petrochemical conference.

“Alberta really is the future of our industry," he said pointing to petrochemical shipments for the province of Canadian dollar (C$) 13.3bn ($11.88bn )in 2008.

Paton questioned, however, whether the industry in the province was going to halve or double in size. Some producers are concerned that declining ethane availability will hit the sector around 2012-2015.

“We have a cluster here and the potential,” Paton said. “We should aim for and focus on achieving [that potential].”

($1 = €0.72)
($1 = C$1.12)

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By: Nigel Davis
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