After two years and some $500 million, Williams Energy Canada is nearly ready to turn oil sands off-gas into a feedstock for plastic producers.
The company says it will soon be ready to remove ethane from the mixture of gases that are a byproduct of the oil sands upgrading process.
The gas will be collected at Williams’ facilities in Fort McMurray, Alta., and then sent by pipeline to Redwater, northeast of Edmonton, where it will be separated.
Interested companies — notably Nova Chemicals — will receive barrels of ethane and ethylene, which will then be used to make products such as plastic bags and bulk containers.
Williams plans to spend up to $900 million to build a plant near Edmonton that would convert a different gas, propane, into a more valuable product used to make plastics.