NOVA to expand Ontario ethylene cracker by 20%

NOVA Chemicals plans to expand ethylene production capacity by 20% at its cracker in Corunna, Ontario, the company confirmed on Thursday.

The Corunna cracker has a current capacity of about 839,000 tpy, according to media reports.

The expansion will occur between 2014 and 2018, according to the company. It will be part of a wave of expansions and upgrades to NOVA's existing facilities near Sarnia, Ontario.

Other upgrades in the plan include a debottlenecking of the Moore low-density polyethylene (LDPE) line and a retrofit of the Moore high-density polyethylene (HDPE) line.

"These projects are intended to build on the impact of the Corunna cracker conversion to utilize up to 100% natural gas liquids (NGLs) to enhance NOVA Chemicals’ capabilities to meet growing and more sophisticated customer demands," the company said in a statement.

The estimated cost of the projects, under the company's NOVA 2020 growth strategy, is $300 million.

"We are excited to move forward with the next phase of growth for our Eastern Canadian olefins and PE assets, building on the imminent completion of our Corunna feedstock conversion project," said company CEO Randy Woelfel.

"In parallel with the planned implementation of these projects, which could represent investment exceeding $300 million, we will continue to investigate options for a second AST [advanced SCLAIRTECH technology] facility," he continued.

"We believe phasing of implementation of the NOVA 2020 projects is the optimal path forward to maintain NOVA Chemicals’ financial strength and optionality while recognizing the market challenges for project implementation.”

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