Dow intends to retrofit the natural-gas-to-plastics complex to make it the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions petrochemical plant
CALGARY — Dow Chemical Co. plans to triple the size of an Alberta petrochemical plant and transition the facility to net-zero emissions in a major project that experts believe will cost upwards of $10 billion, marking the biggest capital investment in the province in 15 years.
Dow on Wednesday announced it planned to build a 1.8-million-tonne per-year ethane cracker at its existing Fort Saskatchewan petrochemical complex near Edmonton and also triple the facility’s ethylene and polyethylene production.
At the same time, the Midland, Mich.-based company intends to retrofit the natural-gas-to-plastics complex to make it the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions petrochemical plant by capturing the facility’s gasses and pumping them into an existing captured carbon pipeline.
“This investment builds on Dow’s strong leadership position and allows us to meet the increasing needs of customers and brand owners seeking to lower the carbon footprint of their products,” Dow chairman and chief executive Jim Fitterling said in a release.
The company’s board has yet to formally approve the project and Dow did not provide a cost estimate for the project. But experts believe it’s expected to cost between $6 billion and $10 billion, given the price tags associated with similar projects in other jurisdictions.
“They haven’t given a dollar figure, but you’re not going to build an ethane cracker and polyethylene plant for less than $6 billion, I wouldn’t think, and I would expect it’ll be significantly more,” said Bob Masterson, chief executive of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, which represents petrochemical companies.
“If we look at a similar facility, the Shell facility in Pennsylvania, you’re looking at a $10-billion investment for the ethylene cracker and the polyethylene production,” he said, adding that Dow’s announcement is “absolutely staggering and positive news” for Alberta.