Nova Chemicals has restarted some construction work at a plastics and chemicals expansion in Ontario.
The COVID-19 outbreak had led Calgary, Alberta-based Nova to pause construction work in late March on a new polyethylene resin unit and petrochemical cracker in Sarnia, Ontario. That move called for the firm to focus on only critical work there and resulted in a reduction of approximately 90 percent of its construction workforce at the site.
In an April 15 statement, Nova officials said that through "a phased approach," the firm would "safely and steadily" resume some construction activities on April 16. They added that the number of construction workers on-site will gradually increase.
At the site, Nova will continue to comply with safety measures put in place by the Ontario government, including limiting the potential for sharing of tools and materials, limiting the number of people in vehicles or mobile equipment and tracking tasks that require close contact.
"I continue to be impressed by the resiliency and dedication of our workforce," President and CEO Todd Karran said. "I'm confident that together we are taking the necessary precautions to keep our people safe."
In Joffre, Alberta, commissioning and construction on a Nova furnace refurbishment project remain paused. Nova produces both PE and ethylene in Joffre. Officials previously said that commissioning work will resume once the firm feels confident that the risk of exposure has diminished.
All other Nova manufacturing sites remain operational and there are currently no impacts to the firm's supply chain or ability to deliver products timely. Like many plastics and chemicals firms, Nova also has eliminated business travel and has all non-site-critical staff now working from home.
Nova is a major North American supplier of PE, ethylene and specialty styrenics. The firm employs almost 3,000 worldwide and has annual sales of $3.6 billion.