NOVA to address falling ethane supplies at Canada chem site

02 June 2010 20:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Supply of feedstock ethane to NOVA Chemical’s Joffre petrochemical complex in Alberta, Canada, has declined by 8% since 2008, but the company hopes to announce in the coming months concrete steps to increase availability, officials said on Wednesday.

The company expects the flow of natural gas from which ethane is extracted to decline this year because of lower gas prices in North America.

The supply of ethane has likely reached a low point in 2010, and, as a result, first-quarter operating rates in Joffre were limited to 80-90%, slightly below the industry average, said chief executive Randy Woelfel during a conference call with analysts.

“Our current forecast shows our ethane supply will continue through 2011, marginally increase in 2012, and will grow beyond that from projects in our pipeline,” Woelfel said.

He declined to provide any specifics about upcoming ethane projects, other than to say that there were “some important opportunities that are getting very close to a definite conclusion”.

The company was able to substitute some propane feedstock to its Joffre crackers during the first quarter in order to support operating rates.

However, propane is still a minor component, less than 10% of the Joffre feedstock supply, Woelfel said.

($1 = €0.82)

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By: David Barry
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