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Alberta pushes to be petrochemical powerhouse

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Alberta has launched a new programme to bolster its aggressive efforts to become a global petrochemical powerhouse which will attract billions in investment and tens of thousands of jobs to the Western Canadian province.

The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) offers companies that build a petrochemical manufacturing facility in the province a direct 12% grant on eligible capital costs.

“We’re already Canada’s biggest petrochemical producer, but we know with the launch of this programme, we can become a global force in the sector,” Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity, Dale Nally, said. “We have everything a company needs to not just compete, but thrive in this industry and help transform Alberta into one of the world’s biggest petrochemical manufacturing hubs.”

Alberta boasts approximately 223 trillion ft3 of natural gas reserves, representing multiple-generations’ worth of deposits at current production levels. It also features an extensive pipeline network capable of feeding facilities across the province. The programme is a key part of the government’s recently launched ‘Natural Gas Vision and Strategy’, which outlines opportunities for the province to expand and diversify the natural gas sector.

“We have already received a lot of interest from major international chemical companies,” said Mark Plamondon, Executive Director of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association, representing petrochemical producers and natural gas refiners in the province. “This incentive programme is only going to drive more companies to consider Alberta as a place to invest. We believe there’s room for CA$30 billion more investment in the sector by 2030.”

The new programme comes on the heels of a number of changes the government has introduced since mid-2019 to make Alberta a more competitive jurisdiction for investment. The province’s corporate tax rate has been reduced to 8%, making it the lowest in Canada and one of the lowest in North America. New policies have also reduced red tape, streamlining government processes to make it easier for businesses to operate.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the key role which petrochemicals play in manufacturing potentially life-saving products, such as medical supplies for X-rays and MRIs and personal protective equipment (PPE) – including disposable masks and gloves – as well as packaging that keeps our food fresh and safe.

“Low-cost, low-carbon and abundant – Alberta’s natural gas and natural gas liquids make it a global player in industrial chemicals manufacturing,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada. “The Alberta government recognises this potential and this programme goes a long way to level the playing field with other jurisdictions competing for new investment. The opportunity for growth in this sector exists in the province and that is good news for jobs, new global-scale investment, and Alberta’s economy.”

The programme, which will help Alberta achieve its goal of becoming a top global petrochemical producer by 2030, is a key part of Alberta’s recovery plan.

“This new programme ensures that we’ll be competitive with jurisdictions in Europe, the Middle East, and especially with American states in the Gulf of Mexico. We’re thinking big and taking the right steps to get there,” Nally said.

APIP will be open for five years for smaller projects, namely those with capital costs between CAN$50 - 150 million, while larger projects – with capital costs more than CAN$150 million – have 10 years to apply and complete construction in order to qualify for grants. The Government of Alberta has posted a full list of eligibility requirements and criteria online at

“We’re looking forward to having more companies joining us here in Alberta,” Plamondon added. “It’s a great place to do business, and a great opportunity for companies looking to the future of the petrochemical industry.”

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