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West Coast Olefins secures site for multi-billion dollar petrochemical facility

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

West Coast Olefins of Calgary has secured a 300-acre site in the BCR Industrial Area within the City of Prince George in preparation for the construction of a CAN$5.6 billion petrochemical project at the site. The project would include a world-scale ethylene plant and polyethylene facility and the majority of the polyethylene product would be shipped to growing Asian markets.

Once fully operational, the facility will create up to 1000 permanent highly skilled jobs, while several thousand workers will be required to support the construction effort over a three-year period. Tens of millions of dollars in sustaining capital investment will be required each year to support the facility, which would provide on-going economic benefits for the community.

In response to local environmental concerns, especially about particulate matter and odour, the plant will use a low-carbon, clean-burning mixture of methane and hydrogen as its main fuel source for fired equipment that has no soot or odour and minimises GHG emissions.

For the past year, West Coast Olefins representatives have been researching Prince George, and meeting with Prince George-area contractors to investigate local capabilities to ensure that the company maximises its use of local labour and associated construction and fabrication infrastructure. Officials have also had several meetings with First Nations, local leaders, and construction companies over the past six months.

“The Prince George facilities, using the latest available technologies and leveraging feedstock and transport advantages available in the city, will be the most competitive in North America,” says Ken James, President and CEO of West Coast Olefins. “We are overwhelmed with the level of support we have received. Mayor Hall, Council, and City staff have been very helpful in understanding the importance of economic diversification to the city.”

The overall project will include:

  • An NGL recovery plant to recover ethane, propane, butane, and natural gas condensate from Enbridge’s West Coast Pipeline.
  • An ethylene plant to produce 1 million tpy of polymer-grade ethylene.
  • A polyethylene plant to consume most of the ethylene produced.
  • Associated off-site facilities and infrastructure.

Company officials also say there is a possibility of a mono-ethylene glycol plant being constructed on site to utilise the balance of the ethylene produced.

“Council strongly encourages businesses to invest in our community. We think this project has great potential and promises to have a major, positive economic impact for Prince George, the region, and the whole province,” says Lyn Hall, Mayor of Prince George. “I would like to thank West Coast Olefins for recognising the fantastic business and industrial opportunities available in our city and that Prince George is a supply and service hub for all of northern BC at the confluence of rivers, roads, and rails as well as an official Foreign Trade Zone. Council looks forward to the appropriate and necessary environmental and regulatory processes and consultations occurring with local, provincial, and First Nations stakeholders over the next few years.”

The project will be constructed within the territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and West Coast Olefins will be working closely with Chief Clay Pountney and his Council. “Lheidli T’enneh Nation looks forward to potentially partnering with West Coast Olefins to ensure that if the project is approved will provide significant economic benefits to Lheidli T’enneh and our members, and is designed and built in a way that is aligned with our values,” states Chief Pountney.

West Coast Olefins is preparing to enter the formal regulatory approval process and is targeting a final investment decision by the end of 2020, followed by a three-year construction period to bring the facilities into full commercial operation. This will include a significant public engagement and consultation process.

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