InterviewUS shale gas offers ‘great opportunity’ for Canada chems

16 April 2010 18:10  [Source: ICIS news]

By Stefan Baumgarten

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Natural gas liquids (NGLs) from the US Marcellus shale gas basin could be a “great opportunity” for chemical producers at Canada’s Sarnia petrochemicals hub in southern Ontario, a Canadian industry official said on Friday.

“The Ontario chemical valley [at Sarnia] is the closest gateway to upgrade the liquids from the shale gas… we see this as a great opportunity,” David Podruzny, vice president of business and economics at chemical producers group Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), told ICIS news.

Sarnia offered energy firms in the Marcellus the chance to maximise profits from the liquids values in the shale gas, he said.

Podruzny was commenting on plans by NOVA Chemicals and US firm Buckeye to build a pipeline to ship NGLs from the Marcellus basin – which is centred in Pennsylvania but stretches across West Virginia and New York states – to Sarnia, at the US border near Detroit, Michigan.

The NGLs would feed NOVA's petrochemicals complex at Corunna, near Sarnia, but could also supply other chemicals producers there.

NOVA has capacities for over 6.5bn pounds/year (2.9m tonnes/year) of basic petrochemicals and 3bn pounds/year of refinery and energy products at Corunna, according to its website.

Meanwhile, Canadian energy firm Enbridge has said it may build a potentially rival NGL pipeline to ship NGLs from Marcellus to markets in the Chicago area.

In related news, India’s energy and petrochemicals major Reliance last week agreed to a $1.7bn (€1.3bn) joint venture with US company Atlas Energy to develop that firm’s Marcellus shale gas assets.

The move - the first big investment by Reliance in the US - underscores the rising interest in the Marcellus, which is estimated to have enough natural gas reserves to meet US demand for about a decade.

However, estimates for available gas and NGLs from Marcellus still vary widely because not enough wells have yet been drilled to narrow the range, analysts said.

($1 = €0.74)

For more on NOVA Chemicals and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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