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Canadian PDH unit under consideration

Another operator, this time in Canada, is looking to monetize its propane volumes with a propane dehydrogenation unit (PDH). Tulsa-based Williams Cos. Inc. has announced it is exploring construction of a PDH unit in Alberta.

Only a few weeks ago, Enterprise Products Partners LP, Houston, said it planned to build a 35,000-b/d PDH unit on the Texas Gulf Coast to take advantage of low-cost propane derived from increased NGL production out of nearby shale gas development (OGJ Online, June 21, 2012).

Exactly where it will be built has not been announced or, according to a company spokesman, decided upon. Neither did Enterprise reveal an estimated cost.

A Canadian PDH unit would be a first, according to Williams, and would allow it to increase production of polymer-grade propylene from its Canadian operations. Williams said it is the only company in Canada producing polymer-grade propylene.

The propane feedstock for the new unit would be recovered at Williams’s Redwater plant near Edmonton. The PDH unit would convert propane into higher-value propylene that would then move to the US Gulf Coast. An associated hydrogen by-product would be sold in the Alberta market.

If built, the PDH unit would have a capacity of about 1 billion lb/year. Williams said it estimates capital expenditures of about $600-800 million.

Contact Warren R. True at

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