Canada's NOVA to take advantage of new ethane before 2013

11 August 2011 21:28  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Canada's NOVA Chemicals install new hardware during a turnaround at its Corunna ethylene cracker this autumn that will allow it to use new ethane feedstocks, CEO Randy Woelfel said on Thursday.

The company previously announced plans to upgrade the feedstock capability of the cracker, located near Sarnia in southern Ontario, by the end of 2013, to use up to 100% of natural gas liquid (NGL) feeds.

However, by installing the hardware during the turnaround set for mid-September,  NOVA will have the capability to use new supplies of ethane from the Marcellus shale formation as it gains access to them, Woelfel said.

"During our turnaround this fall, we will be installing hardware that will allow us to consume ethane before 2013 without the need for another cracker shutdown," he said. "These emerging feedstock opportunities for Corunna, together with new ethane sources… have really opened up new and exciting opportunities for NOVA Chemicals."

The company has signed several ethane supply memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to procure, transport and use Marcellus Shale Basin ethane as the primary feedstock for its Corunna complex.

In July, the most recent MOU created a relationship with the US subsidiary of Norway's state-run Statoil for a long-term supply of ethane from the Marcellus Shale formation.

On Thursday, NOVA announced that its 2011 second-quarter profit rose to $225m (€158m), from $46m in the same period a year ago, driven by high selling prices in its core olefins/polyolefins business.

Woelfel said the new feedstock options will allow the company to continue to show strong growth in the future, and will help it better weather the current volatility in the crude oil market.

"If you look at our exposure to crude oil in our supply chain today, it is a fraction of what it was a couple of years ago," Woelfel said. "Thanks to shifting our feedstock mix and our logistics… we feel like NOVA is in excellent shape."

($1 = €0.70)

For more on NOVA's plants, visit ICIS plants and projects

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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