Nova Chemicals claims a first in using Marcellus Shale ethane
From the Article By Michael Lauzon, Plastics News, December 18, 2013
Nova Chemicals Corp. said it will be the first plastics company to use ethane from the Marcellus Shale Basin to convert to ethylene.
“We will be introducing our first molecules from Marcellus literally today or tomorrow to our Corunna [Ontario] cracker,” said Nova senior vice president Chris Bezaire.
Nova has been accepting delivery of ethane from Marcellus deposits in Pennsylvania and storing it in former underground salt caverns under Sarnia. It is increasing the amount of ethane it uses in its nearby ethylene plant to lower ethylene production costs. Converting the Corunna cracker to exclusively use ethane will boost the cracker’s capacity by about 20 percent. The conversion will be complete in the first quarter of 2014.
Nova has provided an update of several projects underway. Besides the cracker conversion, it is debottlenecking low density polyethylene capacity in its new low-density polyethylene (LDPE) line in the nearby Moore plant. Also in Moore, it is retrofitting its high density PE line. The two PE projects should expand PE capacity at the site by a total of 300 million to 400 million pounds per year, Bezaire estimated from Nova’s Pittsburgh, PA, head office.
The cracker and PE projects could cost more than $300 million, stated Nova CEO Randy Woelfel.
The higher PE production levels will roughly track Nova’s boosted ethylene input. The amount of ethane it sources from Marcellus will go to the Corunna ethylene cracker and some to its Joffre, Alberta, PE plant. Bezaire said Nova has worked out ethane supply arrangements with Marcellus producers and a pipeline operator from Pennsylvania to the Sarnia area.
The Sarnia expansions will come on stream in the 2014-2018 period.
Nova also said it continues to evaluate sites for a second technology facility to focus on its Advanced Sclairtech PE. Possible locations include Ontario and the U.S. Gulf Coast. It expects to have that facility running by 2020.
Nova continues to build a new linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant in Joffre and expects it be finished in the first quarter of 2016. LLDPE products show high gloss, low odor and most are suitable for packaging applications under FDA regulations.