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Nova Chemicals Expands Production in Ontario with Polyethylene and Cracker Expansion
Nova Chemicals Expands Production in Ontario with Polyethylene and Cracker Expansion

Nova Chemicals Expands Production in Ontario with Polyethylene and Cracker Expansion

  • 09-Jan-2023 4:44 PM
  • Journalist: Rene Swann

Alberta (Canada): After several years of hard work, construction on an expanded polyethylene and cracking capacity in Sarnia, Ontario - just 65 miles north of Detroit - has been completed by NOVA Chemicals. Owned by Mubadala Investment Co. from Abu Dhabi, the projects have been a significant investment into the local community, totaling more than $2 billion Canadian dollars.

The future Rokeby Site is now anticipated to launch in early 2023. NOVA's expansion was one of the largest petrochemical construction projects initiated in Canada since 2019 and was accompanied by InterPipeline's PDH (propane dehydrogenator) and polypropylene complex near Edmonton, Alberta. Pembina, another mid-stream Canadian company, had also begun building a PDH polypropylene facility but had to pause its progress due to the pandemic.

The completion of the new Rokeby Site marks a major milestone in strides made by NOVA Chemicals and Mubadala Investment Co. from Abu Dhabi. With production capacity totaling up to a billion pounds of polyethylene per year, their expanded cracker will boost current capacity by over 50%. Rob Thompson, NOVA’s Vice President of Manufacturing, East commented on their progress: “Our team is now fully focused on safely completing post-construction activities prior to starting the commissioning phase of this flagship asset.”

NOVA Chemicals' Corunna site is making a measurable difference to the Sarnia-Lambton region in southwestern Ontario. With production capacity of 1.8 billion pounds of ethylene and 700 million pounds of co-products, this facility is providing feedstock for NOVA's Moore and St. Clair River Sites - where they convert ethylene into polyethylene. The primary feedstock for this process is ethane, found in natural gas, and the addition of 150 permanent jobs makes NOVA Chemicals the largest private employer in the area.

NOVA is operating at full capacity in both Alberta and Ontario with nine of the top 15 global companies already present. In Ontario with a population of 15 million people and proximity to New York state, it was home to “the first company in the world to source Marcellus Basin natural gas liquids as ethane cracker feedstock”. Petrochemical activity is mainly concentrated in three key regions- Sarnia-Lambton, Greater Toronto, and Niagara & Eastern Ontario. Last year, there were talks about a potential purchase, but no official transaction has been reported yet.

NOVA Chemicals Corp. was the target of a potential acquisition that totaled more than $15 billion. In Alberta, their Joffre manufacturing site can produce 2.2 billion pounds of polyethylene, which is shipped by rail and road to North American customers, and by ship for overseas destinations.

At their Geismar plant in Louisiana, they produce 1.95 billion pounds of ethylene, 114 million pounds of polymer grade propylene, 13 million gallons of crude butadiene and 14 million gallons of Debutanized Aromatic Concentrate annually. Their team at Geismar also manages 200 miles of pipelines used for ethane transportation, as well as a refinery-grade propylene splitter. NOVA is the largest polyethylene producer in Canada - making them a formidable player both domestically and overseas.

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