Chicago — A major new polypropylene plant under construction in Calgary, Alberta, is on track to begin production in the second half of 2021.
The plant, along with a propylene monomer unit at the same site, is being built by Inter Pipeline Ltd. David Chappell, petrochemical development senior vice president with the company, provided an update on the project Oct. 31 at Global Plastics Summit 2018 in Chicago.
The PP and propylene units each will have annual capacity of more than 1.1 billion pounds. The propylene unit will use propane dehydrogenation technology. The site, part of the Heartland Petrochemical Complex, is expected to be employ 3,000 construction workers by next summer, Chappell said.
Alberta was chosen for the project because of Calgary's access to numerous energy infrastructure assets, including oil sands, natural gas liquids, oil and liquid bulk storage, he added. Inter Pipeline, which has operated more than 260 million pounds of polymer-grade propylene at the site since 2002, is investing C$4.1 billion (US$3.1 billion) in the new PP/propylene project.
Inter Pipeline's plans grew from its acquisition in summer 2016 of a natural gas liquids business formerly owned by Williams Cos. of Tulsa, Okla.
When the new PP comes online, it can offer resin buyers a price advantage, Chappell said, since propane produced in Edmonton, Alberta, trades at a discount to propane produced on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
He added that Alberta has "low feedstock costs, existing infrastructure, competitive rail rates — and no hurricanes."