NPRA ’11: Canada's NOVA to upgrade Corunna cracker this year

30 March 2011 06:21 Source:ICIS News

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Canada’s NOVA Chemicals plans to spend more than $100m (€71m) to upgrade its Corunna ethylene facility so it can take 100% light feedstock, a top company executive said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), NOVA president of olefins and feedstocks Grant Thomson said the upgrade is part of the company’s objective for its Corunna cracker to access 40,000 bbl/day of ethane from the Marcellus Shale reserves in the US via pipeline by late 2013.

As part of that plan, NOVA will, under a deal with Caiman Energy, get up to 20,000 bbl/day of ethane from Caiman’s West Virginia plant in the Marcellus basin to feed its petrochemicals production complex in Corunna. NOVA is talking with other Marcellus region producers about accessing more feedstock, he said.

NOVA will spend “modest capital” in excess of $100m to increase the ability of the Corunna cracker at Sarnia in Ontario to process light feedstock, Thomson said.

NOVA’s Corunna ethylene plant, often described as a “flexi-cracker”, runs on both heavy and light feedstocks. It can process up to 70-75% light feedstock.

NOVA CEO Randy Woelfel said on 10 March preparations for the Corunna upgrade would be implemented during a planned turnaround this year.

NOVA announced last year a possible Pennsylvania-to-Sarnia pipeline project with US firm Buckeye to move the ethane from the Marcellus Shale region to Ontario, but NOVA is now looking at other options, including the possibility of using an existing pipeline to do the job, Thomson said.

Sponsored by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC ran through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.71)

Additional reporting by Stefan Baumgarten

By Brian Ford