Nova nears 100% NGL feedstock conversion at Corunna ethylene plant

The cracker feedstock conversion project at Nova Chemicals Corp.’s Corunna, Ont., refinery and petrochemical complex, which was designed to allow the cracker to utilize up to 100% NGLs from growing North American supplies, is nearing its final completion, the company said in its latest quarterly earnings call (OGJ Online, July 7, 2014; July 1, 2013).

Although slightly delayed from the company’s previous expectation of a first-quarter completion (OGJ Online, Dec. 19, 2013), the Corunna cracker is now processing Marcellus ethane in the mid-20,000 b/d range of its targeted 37,000 b/d range and is due to reach its full-utilization rates by the end of the third quarter, said Todd Karran, Nova’s acting chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

Once completed, the Corunna site will be capable of cracking up to 100% NGLs, of which about 70% should be Marcellus ethane, with the other 30% comprised of a mix of propane and butane from regional markets, Karran said.

The Corunna crude unit will remain available as a source of feedstock at the site through the summer before its shuttering once the plant reaches its full-conversion rates for NGLs, Karran added.

The company said it also expects ethane from North Dakota’s Williston basin to soon become a routine feedstock for its crackers at its ethylene and polyethylene complex in Joffre, near Read Deer, Alta. (OGJ Online, June 13, 2014).

The supplier’s plant for the Joffre site is now in start-up, and with pipeline fill set to begin immediately, ethane from Williston basin should be a regular feedstock at Joffre by the end of the third quarter, according to Karran.

Construction on Nova’s Polyethylene 1 (PE1) plant expansion project at Joffre also continues to progress, with the project due for mechanical completion in first-quarter 2016, Karran said.

Designed to expand polyethylene capacity at the Joffre site by 40%, the PE1 project includes installation of a 450,000-tonne/year single-train linear low-density polyethylene unit.

The company also said plans remain under way for an expansion of the Corunna cracker, as well as for a low-density polyethylene debottleneck and high-density polyethylene retrofit at Nova’s Moore plant in in Mooretown, Ont., about 140 miles west of Toronto.

The existing and planned projects come as part of the company’s Nova 2020 growth strategy, which includes continued capital spending on strategic petrochemicals expansion in Ontario and Alberta based on North America’s increased demand as well as its emerging feedstock opportunities (OGJ Online, Mar. 3, 2014).

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