By: Frank Esposito
October 17, 2013
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — More polyolefin capacity is on the way for Nova Chemicals Corp. and Borouge.
By the end of 2015, Calgary, Alberta-based Nova will open a major new polyethylene production line in Joffre, Alberta. The new line will be partially supplied with ethane feedstock imported from North Dakota, senior vice president Chris Bezaire said at an Oct. 16 news conference at K 2013.
“We’ve already got steel in the ground,” Bezaire said of the project. Nova officials previously said the line would have around 1 billion pounds of annual PE capacity.
Nova also by the end of the year will have retrofitted its olefins cracker in Corunna, Ontario, to run solely on natural gas-based ethane feedstock. Natural gas for the cracker will be piped in from part of the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania.
Bezaire added that Nova is considering adding PE production either in Ontario or on the U.S. Gulf Coast. He said the firm would have “a path forward” on those plans by the end of the year.
A major new project at Borouge’s complex in Abu Dhabi will add more than five billion pounds of polyolefin capacity next year. The project will more than double the firm’s polyolefin capacity, chief executive officer Wim Roels said at the event. Borouge also opened a new sales office in Tokyo this year and will add similar offices in India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand in 2014.
Nova and Vienna-based polyolefins and chemicals maker Borealis are majority-owned by International Petroleum Investment Corp., a state-owned firm based in Abu Dhabi. Borouge is a joint venture between Borealis and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC).
IPIC purchased Nova – which had been publicly held - in 2009 in a deal valued at around $500 million. “We’re a totally different company than we were five short years ago,” Bezaire said. “We’ve undergone a significant transformation and are looking to longer-term value.”
Not to be undone by its corporate peers, Borealis recently invested 100 million euros (US$130 million) to build a new polyolefin catalyst plant in Linz, Austria. The firm also will spend 65 million euros (US$85 million) to upgrade PE technology at a plant in Porvoo, Finland, by 2015, according to polyolefins executive vice president Alfred Stern.
New products introduced by the firms at K 2013 include grades of PP used in instrument panel carriers, door claddings and bumpers on the Volkswagen Golf 7 and a new grade of LDPE for liquid packaging and extrusion coating of boards and papers. Other new grades of PE made by the three firms are being used for safer pipes for drinking water. New grades of PP are being used in healthcare bottles.
On the R&D side, the firms will open a new innovation center in Abu Dhabi later this year, and also will expand and R&D application center in Shanghai in 2014. In total, the three firms have a combined 22 billion pounds of polyolefin capacity.