Canadian Plastics

Ready to roll

Like many companies in Atlantic Canada, Ipex has pinned more than just its hopes on the ability of the Sable gas project to deliver real business, growth and jobs for the region. It added 5,000 sq. ft...

December 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



Like many companies in Atlantic Canada, Ipex has pinned more than just its hopes on the ability of the Sable gas project to deliver real business, growth and jobs for the region. It added 5,000 sq. ft. of floor space to its Saint John, N.B. plant this past spring and purchased a new extrusion line, primarily to make gas pipe from polyethylene. The pipe will be used to build gas distribution lines to homes and businesses in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Sable Offshore Energy Inc. is the producer of the gas. Sempra Atlantic Gas has the rights to distribute Sable gas in Nova Scotia and Enbridge Gas has gas distribution rights in New Brunswick. Sempra has promised to make gas accessible to 78 percent of the households in Nova Scotia within seven years. Because of delays in obtaining regulatory approvals from the government of Nova Scotia, however, very little pipe has been laid. As a result, says plant manager Andrew Isbill, gas pipe production at the facility could be in a holding pattern for a while longer.

At press time, the gas distribution company, Sempra, was waiting on regulatory approval to lay pipe under the shoulder of secondary highways in order to provide gas service to outlying residential and rural areas. Sempra has already announced delays of gas delivery to several counties planned for this year, and it appears that the earliest the approvals could be granted in Nova Scotia would be February of 2001, when a report reviewing the installation of gas lines along roads by the Transportation Association of Canada is scheduled to be submitted to the province. The president of Sempra, Hal Snyder, however, has announced the company will proceed with plans to distribute gas this year in the greater Halifax area to selected districts where it already has approval to lay pipe.

Gas pipe is made from a special grade of polyethylene certified by the Canadian Standards Association. Gas is pumped through high-pressure steel pipes to a gas distribution station, where it is delivered to users through a network of plastic pipes. The pipe is gradually stepped down in size, from six inches in diameter to as small as one-half inch.

The 25,000 sq. ft. facility’s main products are corrugated drain/waste pipe made from ABS, and water pipe and electrical conduit made from polyethylene, for customers primarily located in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Should the gas distribution projects eventually proceed, as is expected, the anticipated orders would be a welcome development at the plant, which began operating in Saint John in the late 60s under the name Canron Atlantic. The company became Ipex in 1992 when it was merged with Scepter. Ipex was purchased in 1999 by Glynwed International.

“The possibility of growth is exciting for our employees,” says Isbill. “It is something new for Atlantic Canada.”CPL


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