The Rimbey gas plant is slated to receive a $210-million upgrade that will dramatically increase the ethane and other marketable liquids it extracts from natural gas.
Keyera Corp., which operates the plant and has a 97 per cent ownership interest in the facility, announced Monday that it wants to install a 400 million cubic feet per day “turbo expander unit” and construct a 34-km, six-inch-diameter ethane pipeline to connect to the Alberta Ethane Gathering System.
It anticipates that the turbo expander will allow the plant to recover more 90 per cent of the ethane in the gas it processes — which would equate to up to 20,000 barrels per day.
The extracted ethane will be sold to a large consumer in Alberta under a long-term agreement, said Keyera.
In 2009, Keyera commissioned a $30-million ethane extraction facility at the Rimbey plant, which was expected to extract up to 5,000 barrels of ethane per day. That output was transported to Dow Chemical Canada for conversion into ethylene for Dow’s petrochemical plants at Fort Saskatchewan and Prentiss.
Keyera expects construction of its latest project to begin this year, with start-up anticipated in late 2014. Regulatory approvals are still required.
Although the turbo expander will initially replace the plant’s existing ethane recovery system, in time both could be used to boost the plant’s processing capacity, said the company.
Meanwhile, Keyera said it has a new long-term processing agreement with a large natural gas producer, and is in discussions with other producers.
“We are excited about this expansion opportunity,” said David Smith, Keyera’s president and chief operating officer.
“With increased liquids-rich drilling activity in the area, raw gas processing capacity with deep-cut liquids extraction capability is in demand.”
The Rimbey gas plant is Keyera’s largest natural gas processing facility. It has a licensed raw gas processing capacity of over 400 million cubic feet per day and is connected to more than 2,500 km of gathering pipelines.