Inter Pipeline announces approval of Alberta incentives for PDH/PP project; Harsh February winter weather curbed U.S. chemical production; Nauticol says planned methanol project would also capture carbon dioxide; Face shields market to expand 10% annually

News Briefs

Inter Pipeline's Heartland Petrochemical Complex in Alberta. Image courtesy of Inter Pipeline.

Inter Pipeline announces approval of Alberta incentives for PDH/PP project

Canada’s Inter Pipeline will receive C$408 million under the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) in support of its integrated propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene production facility, the company said on April 5.

The C$3.5 billion plant “will be operational in early 2022,” according to a press release to announce the award.
APIP is an incentive program introduced by the government of Alberta to attract investment into the development of petrochemical facilities in the region.

The project has taken a more central stage in recent weeks after Inter Pipeline earlier this year became the object of an unsolicited takeover bid. Inter Pipeline’s board has recommended shareholders to reject the offer saying the project would bring new cash flow next year.

Inter Pipeline is a Canadian midstream company that is diversifying by going further downstream and turning plentiful propane into propylene and then polymerize with expectations to export the resulting polypropylene to the U.S. and other markets.

Another Canadian midstream company, Pembina Pipeline, earlier this year announced that considering post-Covid 19 volatility it would not continue construction as planned of a similar PDH/PP project, also near Edmonton.

(C$1 = US$0.80)

Harsh February winter weather curbed U.S. chemical production

Chemical output fell in the U.S. in February as winter storms in central parts of the country that extended unusually south down to the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast disrupted petrochemical production, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

The U.S. chemical production regional Index fell 3.6% in February following a 0.7% gain in January and a 1.3% increase in December, the ACC said on March 24.

Chemical output for the Gulf Coast region fell 5.8% compared with January, the largest monthly drop since September 2008 and the second-largest decline since at least 1988.

Production of petrochemical and other organic chemicals and plastic resins fell in February. Manufacturing of inorganic chemicals, coatings, adhesives and pesticides posted small declines.

Chemical production fell across most categories “except consumer products, manufactured fibers, fertilizers and other specialty chemicals,” according to the ACC.

The U.S. chemical production remained off by 3.8% compared with February 2020. Production has declined for 21 consecutive months.

The U.S. chemistry industry is “a $565 billion enterprise,” according to the ACC . Nearly 96% of all U.S. manufactured goods include chemistry, it said.

Nauticol says planned methanol project would also capture carbon dioxide

Canada’s-Nauticol has entered into an accord to work to capture up to a million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually from its planned Blue Methanol facility that may be constructed in Alberta in case an FID is announced.

"Our plant design was already targeted to be a global leader in low emissions," said Mark Tonner, CEO and co-founder of Nauticol, according to a March 23 statement. Alberta-based carbon management company Enhance is a partner in the project.

"Partnering with Enhance on CO2 capture and sequestration changes the game of what low carbon methanol production at world scale will be from this point on," he added.

The project, if approved, would create up to 5,000 jobs during construction. The press release did not report on potential changes in overall investment plans.

Nauticol has contemplated for years a final investment decision that it initially anticipated by 2019.

Covid-19 impacted several petrochemical projects in 2020. In the case of methanol, demand fell during the pandemic. Some producers idled some plants. 

Face shields market to expand 10% annually until 2025

The global face shields market will expand to $4.2 billion in 2025 from $2.6 billion in 2020, according to a report titled “Face Shield Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth and Change.”

The report projects that this market will grow to nearly $2.9 billion in 2021, according to a March 26 press release. Face shield demand surged on Covid-19 concern “as it adds an extra level of protection from getting infected by the virus,” the press release said.

Face shields are generally made of polycarbonate and cellulose acetate and sold into the healthcare, construction, chemical, oil & gas, and manufacturing industries.

“Asia Pacific was the largest region in the face shield market in 2020. This region is expected to continue to be the fastest growing,” according to the report.

The inefficiency of face shields to offer full prevention limits the market’s growth potential. For partial protection “masks are still the preferred alternatives to face shields,” the company said.

Face shield manufacturers are using 3D printing machines and computer-aided designs to create three-dimensional objects through a layering method also called “additive manufacturing,” the report said.

ICIS natural gas benchmarks available on the Bloomberg terminal

ICIS, which provides price information and consulting on products including petrochemicals, said on March 29 that the ICIS European gas benchmarks data is now available on the Bloomberg Terminal to mutual clients.

ICIS is a division of RELX, a FTSE 15 company with a market cap of £34.1 billion and an employee base of over 30,000 across 40 countries, according to the release.

(£1 = US$1.39)

By Reuters Events