Dow lets contracts for proposed Alberta net-zero petrochemicals complex

Dec. 8, 2023
Dow Inc. has let two contracts to Fluor Corp. to deliver construction-related services for Dow Canada's petrochemicals manufacturing site under development just north of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

Dow Inc. has let two contracts to Fluor Corp. to deliver construction-related services for Dow Chemical Canada ULC’s (Dow Canada) petrochemicals manufacturing site under development just north of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., that will house what the companies describe as the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivatives complex.

Awarded in third-quarter 2023 but officially announced in early December, Fluor’s scope of work under the contracts will cover engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) services for a new ethylene cracker and associated utilities, power, and infrastructure (UPI), the service provider said.

The two reimbursable EPCM services contracts represent a total investment cost (TIC) value of more than $3 billion, Flour said.

Fluor also confirmed Dow’s earlier announcement that the overall program of the Fort Saskatchewan project will involve expansion and retrofit of Dow’s current manufacturing installations at the site which, alongside new construction, would include retrofitting existing units to zero-carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as defined by Scope 1 and Scope 2 of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (OGJ Online, Oct. 8, 2021).

This latest contract for Dow’s net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions integrated ethylene cracker and derivatives complex follows the operator’s November 2023 positive final investment decision (FID) to advance the development, as well as its contract award to Fluor in February 2023 for front-end engineering and design (FEED) on the project.

Dow has estimated that the complex will decarbonize about 20% of its global ethylene capacity and grow its supply of polyethylene by about 15%, or 2 million tonnes/year (tpy).

Combined with a new cracker that will add about 1.8 million tpy of ethylene capacity in a phased manner through 2030, the overall project will enable Dow to produce and supply about 3.2 million tpy overall of certified low- to zero-carbon emissions polyethylene and ethylene derivatives for global customers and joint venture partners, the operator said.

In 2021, Dow said notable retrofits to Fort Saskatchewan’s current operations would entail upgrading existing infrastructure to accommodate installation of a new autothermal reformer that will convert cracker offgas into clean, circular hydrogen the complex can use to fuel its production processes. The retrofits will also enable introduction of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) component that would allow CO2 from the cracker to be captured on site and transported for storage by an adjacent third party.

With construction on early works having begun in July 2023, startup of Phase 1 of the Fort Saskatchewan growth project is scheduled for 2027, with Phase 2 slated to come online in 2029, Fluor confirmed.

Designed to help decarbonize the operator’s global footprint, the Fort Saskatchewan investment comes as part of Dow’s Path2Zero program aimed at steadily lowering greenhouse gas emissions of its operations while growing capacity to competitively meet customer demand for sustainably produced, low-emissions products in line with the global energy transition to a net-zero future.

Project highlights

In a project description on its website, Dow said the Fort Saskatchewan Path2Zero expansion project specifically will feature elements such as:

  • A hydrogen-fueled ethylene cracker.
  • Offsite CCS.
  • Power, steam cogeneration.
  • Site infrastructure upgrades, including roads, rail, and utilities.