Nova Chemicals Corp. has placed force majeure sales limits on polyethylene resins after a mechanical failure at a production site in Ontario.
In an April 28 email to Plastics News, a Nova spokesperson said that the firm "has experienced a mechanical failure beyond our control at our Corunna ethylene cracker in the Sarnia, Ontario, region which supplies ethylene to our polyethylene facilities in that region."
As a result, the spokesperson added, Calgary, Alberta-based Nova has declared force majeure for all PE resins produced in the Sarnia region, including low density PE, high density PE and the Sclairtech products made at the firm's St. Clair River Site.
"We are committed to safely resolving these issues as quickly as possible," the spokesperson said. "However, we do not yet know the expected length of the force majeure." The spokesperson added that there were no injuries or impact to the environment as a result of the event.
The Nova outage will tighten supplies of PE resin in a North American market that already was trying to recover from multiple outages caused by Winter Storm Uri, which hit Texas in February. Many suppliers in the region already had been operating under sales limits, with many processors only receiving on average 70 percent of the resin they had ordered. Material prices also are up substantially so far in 2021.
Construction on an ethylene cracker expansion at the Nova site has been halted, although work on a new PE resin unit continues. Nova is building a new Advanced Sclairtech PE unit at the site that will have annual production capacity of 1 billion pounds of PE. That project and a concurrent ethylene expansion both were on track to be completed by the end of 2022.
Nova is investing C$2.5 billion (US$2 billion) on the combined projects. The firm currently has annual production capacity for 1.4 billion pounds of PE, 1.8 billion pounds of ethylene and 250 million pounds of co-products in Ontario.
Nova is a major North American supplier of PE and related materials and is wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.