Nova Chemicals’ Joffre petrochemical complex

Nova Chemicals’ Joffre petrochemical complex

Significant impact expected from Nova expansion

When construction of Nova Chemicals Corp.’s new polyethylene line at Joffre peaks late next year and into 2015, more than 600 workers could be engaged in the project.

When construction of Nova Chemicals Corp.’s new polyethylene line at Joffre peaks late next year and into 2015, more than 600 workers could be engaged in the project.

For Red Deer and other communities in the area, that’s likely to translate into millions of dollars in spin-off revenues for hotels, restaurants, stores and other businesses.

“There will be a significant economic impact, I believe, to the region,” said Rick Van Hemmen, Nova’s Joffre site leader. “For accommodation costs alone, it would be reasonable to expect at least $8 million over the duration of the project coming into the region.”

Earlier this month, Nova’s board of directors approved nearly $1 billion of funding for the Joffre expansion.

About $900 million of this is earmarked for capital expenditures, of which 40 to 60 per cent is expected to be spent in Alberta, said Van Hemmen.

“Much of this 40 to 60 per cent of the capital will be for direct labour,” he said. “But we’re also looking to source materials and services — such as concrete, gravel, trucking — from Central Alberta. We may see about 20 per cent of this capital expenditure in the Central Alberta area.”

Although many of the workers needed for the expansion — most of whom will be tradespeople — will be brought in from outside the region and even the province, the preference will be to hire as many local workers as possible, said Van Hemmen.

Ledcor Projects Inc. will be the primary contractor, responsible for the new polyethylene reactor facility.

With an estimated 1.6 million hours, or 800 person years, of work required for the 29-month project, the challenge is likely to be finding enough skilled workers — especially with Alberta’s tight labour market.

“The one thing that I think works to our favour is we’re reasonably early with this project, relative to some others in the province,” said Van Hemmen.

With most of the required approvals in place, and much of the engineering and other preliminary work done, construction is expected to begin within the next few months. Completion and commissioning is expected by late 2015.

When the dust settles, Nova will have a third polyethylene reactor in its Polyethylene 1 plant. Related infrastructure will include a new pelletizer and finishing facilities, a flare stack, three cooling towers and an electrical substation. The plant’s rail yard will also be expanded.

With the new reactor able to produce an anticipated 950 million to 1.1 billion pounds (431 million to 500 million kg) of low-density polyethylene annually, the capacity of Nova’s polyethylene facilities will jump about 40 per cent from the current 2.5 million pounds (1.13 million kg).

Van Hemmen said 25 to 35 permanent jobs will result from the expansion, plus another 15 to 25 contract positions. While these figures might seem small in the context of the approximately 800 employees and 300 to 400 contractors that work for Nova — either at the complex or off-site — he cited statistics that indicate every job in the Canadian chemistry industry supports a half-dozen workers elsewhere.

Unlike previous capital projects at Joffre, a work camp will not be set up for this one. Van Hemmen pointed out that the maintenance turnarounds that occur approximately every six years at Nova’s three ethylene plants attract up to 1,000 workers over a 35- to 40-day period — many more than will be on site for this expansion project.

Turnarounds at the two polyethylene plants occur in approximately five-year intervals, but require about half the manpower.

Just Posted

Downtown Red Deer was packed with people who lined the streets to watch the Westerner Days parade on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Westerner Days parade cancelled, full details on modified event coming June 28

The 2021 edition of Westerner Days will look much different than any… Continue reading

City council wants to hear from the public at a May 25 hearing about whether the temporary homeless shelter should be allowed to remain in the downtown for another year. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer staff to recommend another extension to allow operations at current temporary shelter site

Following some more research city administration has received no other new locations… Continue reading

A scene from the short Western ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws,’ written and directed by Jason Steele, with support from Telus Storyhive. (Contributed image)
Red Deerians make ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws’ short Western film

Writer and director Jason Steele received a $20,000 Storyhive grant from Telus

Residents in several neighbourhoods reported little to no water pressure Tuesday night. (File photo by Advocate staff)
City hall to reopen for payments and customer service

Red Deer City Hall will reopen on June 21 for utility and… Continue reading

Char Rausch was selected as this year’s recipient of the Bob Stollings Award, which goes to an employee who has displayed outstanding civic performance in alignment with The City’s Cornerstone Values – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
Char Rausch wins City of Red Deer Bob Stollings Award

The City of Red Deer is honouring employees differently this year. With… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stops Vegas Golden Knights' William Karlsson as he is covered by Canadiens' Joel Edmundson during first period of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal Friday, June 18, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Andreson’s timely scoring, Price’s goaltending give Habs 2-1 series lead over Vegas

Canadiens 3 Golden Knights 2 (OT) (Montreal leads series 2-1) MONTREAL —… Continue reading

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) as he looks for an opening during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal series Friday, June 18, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Curry, Harris help 76ers stay alive, hold off Hawks 104-99

76ers 104 Hawks 99 (Series tied 3-3) ATLANTA — Seth Curry hit… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of a two-dose fall is… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, speaks during a press conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Mendicino has announced a new policy to help settle 500 refugees and their families in a news conference today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year: Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to expedite applications and increase the… Continue reading

Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday, June 18, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bland leads at Torrey and shows the US Open is truly open

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most… Continue reading

The Prime Minister's car waits outside the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg Tuesday, May 19, 2009. The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is showing no sign he'll release unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory — despite the prospect of being publicly shamed in the House of Commons for his refusal to turn them over. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
PHAC head maintains he’s bound by law not to release docs on fired scientists

OTTAWA — The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant in Canada

OTTAWA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly… Continue reading

Various vaping nicotine e-liquids or "juice" are shown in a lab at Portland State University in in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products… Continue reading

Most Read