Williams to provide gas processing in Canada's oil sands

Williams Cos. Inc., Tulsa, has signed a gas processing agreement with a producer in the Canadian oil sands, according to a company announcement that did not name the producer. OGJ data, however, suggest it is Canadian Natural Resource Ltd., Calgary.

To effect the agreement, Williams plans to spend up to $612 million to build liquids extraction at the producer’s site and a takeaway pipeline.

Williams will extract, transport, fractionate, own, and market the NGLs and olefins recovered from the offgas at the Fort McMurray, Alta., upgrader. The recovered NGL and olefins will reach 12,000 b/d by mid-2015, reported the company, growing to about 15,000 b/d by 2018.

The NGL-olefins mix will be fractionated at Williams's Redwater plant outside Edmonton into an ethane-ethylene mix, propane, polymer-grade propylene, normal butane, an alkylation feed, and condensate. The “ethane price risk” associated with the agreement “is mitigated,” said the company, by a previously announced agreement to supply up to 17,000 b/d of ethane and ethylene to the Joffre, Alta., ethylene and polyethylene plant of  NOVA Chemicals Corp., Calgary.

The recovered propane will be sold into the local propane market and could be feedstock to Williams's proposed propane dehydrogenation plant (OGJ Online, July 20, 2012). The other products will be sold into established markets where Williams sells existing NGLs and olefins produced in Canada.

As stated, the company plans new liquids extraction and supporting facilities at the upgrader and an extension of its 261-mile, 12-in. Boreal liquids pipeline to move the NGL-olefins mix to its expanded Redwater plant. Total capital expenditures for the project will be $510-612 million.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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