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New Canadian company wants to build $5.6 billion petrochemical plant in B.C.

The $5.6 billion petrochemicals site in Prince George would include a world-scale ethylene plant and polyethylene facility, with the majority of the polyethylene product being shipped to Asia.


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July 31, 2019 by Canadian Plastics

Calgary-based West Coast Olefins Ltd. (WCO) has announced plans to build a $5.6 billion petrochemicals site in Prince George, B.C., primarily for shipment to growing Asian markets.

In a statement, WCO said the project would include a world-scale ethylene plant and polyethylene facility, and that the majority of the polyethylene product would be shipped to Asia.

WCO has already secured a 300-acre site in the BCR Industrial Area in Prince George, the statement said.

The firm – which was formed last year to develop natural gas projects in B.C. – is about to begin formal regulatory approval and is targeting a final investment decision by the end of 2020. If approved, the facility will create up to 1,000 permanent highly skilled jobs, while several thousand workers will be required to support the construction effort over a three-year period.

According to WCO, the overall project will include a natural gas liquids recovery plant to recover ethane, propane, butane, and natural gas condensate from Enbridge’s West Coast Pipeline; an ethylene plant to produce one million tonnes per year of polymer-grade ethylene; a polyethylene plant to consume most of the ethylene produced; and associated off-site facilities and infrastructure.

Company officials also say there is a possibility of a mono-ethylene glycol plant being constructed on site to utilize the balance of the ethylene produced.

Addressing possible environmental concerns, WCO said that it is “aware of the local sensitivity to air shed concerns in the ‘bowl area’ of Prince George, especially particulate matter and odour issues.” “The plant uses a low-carbon, clean-burning mixture of methane and hydrogen as its main fuel source for fired equipment that has no soot or odour and minimizes GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions,” the company said. “We believe that this makes a strong case for how this project fits with the provincial climate action plan.”

WCO also said that it has had “several meetings with First Nations, local leaders, and construction companies over the past six months” to discuss potential concerns.

“Council strongly encourages businesses to invest in our community,” Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall said in the statement. “We think this project has great potential and promises to have a major, positive economic impact for Prince George, the region, and the whole province.”