The Great Polyethylene Wave of 2017 has begun, with Nova Chemicals reaching full operation of a new gas-phase reactor making linear low density PE at the firm's site in Joffre, Alberta.
The reactor began start-up in December, and Nova now is shipping butene-based LLDPE produced there to customers, officials with the Calgary, Alberta-based firm said in a Jan. 17 news release. They added that the new reactor is the first new LLDPE reactor in the Americas in over a decade, and that the new capacity allows Nova to meet growing demand for flexible films used in food packaging, heavy-duty sacks and can liners.
“The new supply of LLDPE from our PE1 expansion project will enhance Nova Chemicals' position as a leading polyethylene supplier in the Americas, helping our customers grow and succeed in their businesses,” PE senior vice president Chris Bezaire said in the release.
The addition increases Nova's annual production capacity for LLDPE by almost 1 billion pounds, and lifts the firm's total PE production capacity to about 5 billion pounds. Officials said that Nova's butene-based LLDPE is known for a range of benefits including excellent balance of physical properties, product uniformity and consistency, and best-in-class gel performance.
Nova is one of several North American PE makers adding capacity as a result of newfound supplies of natural gas feedstock throughout North America. Also in 2017, ExxonMobil Chemical, Dow Chemical Co. and Chevron Phillips Chemical are opening major expansions that will add more than 6 billion pounds of PE capacity in the region. All three of those projects are on the U.S. Gulf Coast.