Canada company looks to tap more of region’s shales

Eyes up to $400M to expand capacity

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After expanding its petrochemical facility in Sarnia, Ontario, late last year to use Marcellus Shale ethane, Nova Chemicals is now looking at a second expansion that will use more Marcellus and Utica shale production to feed its growing operations.

The company plans to spend between $250 million and $400 million to expand its capacity 20 percent by 2018. The project likely will require a second pipeline from the Appalachian Basin to Sarnia, according to John Hotz, vice president of corporate strategy for Nova.

Nova is in preliminary talks with companies about pipeline capacity, he said Tuesday at an energy panel Downtown hosted by Pop-up Canada, an event highlighting business between Pennsylvania and Canada.

The company’s Corunna facility in Sarnia is a refinery and petrochemical complex able to make 5.1 million pounds per day of ethylene. Ethylene is a building block in plastic resins used to make items such as food packaging, appliances and automotive parts.

Nova, which has plants in Canada and Moon, has already invested about $250 million to convert its existing ethylene facility in Sarnia to use 100 percent natural gas liquids — which includes ethane, propane and butane — from the Marcellus Shale.

The company began using Marcellus ethane last year transported by Sunoco’s 50,000 barrels/​day Mariner West pipeline originating in Houston, Pa.

Nova expects to use its full rate of capacity on the pipeline — 37,000 barrels per day of ethane — in the third quarter of this year, according to Mr. Hotz.


Stephanie Ritenbaugh: 412-263-4910 or sritenbaugh@post-gazette.com

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