Williams to extract ethane from Alberta oil sands

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 25 -- Nova Chemicals Corp., Pittsburgh, has signed a letter of intent with Williams Cos., Tulsa, to evaluate a process for extracting ethane from Alberta oil sands off-gas streams. Nova Chemicals would be the exclusive, long-term customer for the ethane, which would be delivered to its Joffre, Alta., chemical plant via the Joffre feedstock pipeline.

Williams retained its olefins fractionator and a portion of the storage and distribution assets at its Redwater complex 64 km northeast of Edmonton, when it sold the gas liquids fractionation, storage, and distribution facilities in late 2003 to Provident Energy Trust.

Williams will modify and own the oil sands off-gas liquids fractionation plant where it will extract the ethane. The company currently produces propylene from the off-gas liquids stream at Redwater.

The project is expected to begin operating in stages as early as 2010.

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