Nova using Bakken Shale ethane in Joffre operations

Nova Chemicals Corp. has dipped into North Dakota to help satisfy the feedstock needs of its Joffre operations.

Nova Chemicals Corp. has dipped into North Dakota to help satisfy the feedstock needs of its Joffre operations.

The Calgary-based company announced on Friday that ethane from the Bakken Shale formation is now being used at its complex east of Red Deer.

That ethane originates at a Hess Corp. plant in North Dakota and is transported to Alberta in the Vantage Pipeline, and then into the Alberta Ethane Gathering System (AEGS) at Empress.

Nova operates the Vantage Pipeline and the Alberta Ethane Gathering System.

“The introduction of Bakken Shale-based ethane into the feedstock diet at Joffre marks an important milestone in the diversification of our ethane sources for the region and our NOVA 2020 strategy to capitalize on North American demand,” said Todd Karran, Nova’s acting CEO and CFO, in a release.

“The new supply sources we recently began to use, together with those currently in development, should enable us to run our existing polyethylene plants at full capacity, as well as support our (polyethylene 1) expansion project in Joffre and position us well for potential further growth.”

Nova has traditionally relied on ethane from natural gas produced in the province, but in recent years has worked to diversify its supply. It’s also now using ethane from the off-gasses that result from oilsands upgrading.

Ethane is used in the production of ethylene and polyethylene, which in turn are used in the manufacture of plastics and other products.

Expansion of Nova’s polyethylene 1 plant at Joffre, which is currently underway and is expected to wrap up by the end of 2015, will boost ethane requirements there substantially.

The Vantage Pipeline has a design capacity of 40,000 barrels per day but is expandable to more than 60,000 barrels per day.

That higher volume would represent more than 20 per cent of Alberta’s existing installed ethylene production capacity.

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