Williams advances proposed Alberta PDH unit

Williams Cos. Inc., Tulsa, is advancing to next stage of development for its proposed propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit, which the company plans to build near Edmonton, Alta. (OGJ Online, July 20, 2012).

Williams has decided to move into the next development phase, which primarily includes detailed engineering and certain commitments to securing long-lead equipment, and expects to make a final investment decision on the project by second-half 2016, the company said.

Designed to produce 525,000 tonnes/year of polymer-grade propylene from low-cost propane feedstock from local producers, the PDH unit tentatively is scheduled for startup at yearend 2019, Williams said.

The decision to move forward with the project follows a recent sales agreement Williams entered with North American Polypropylene (NAPP), an affiliate of private-equity global project developer and petrochemicals marketer Goradia Capital LLC, Houston, under which NAPP will buy 450,000 tpy of propylene from Williams on a 25-year term, fee-for-service basis.

NAPP will use the propylene at its own project to produce homopolymer polypropylene, a recyclable plastic used in consumer and industrial products, Williams said.

Also due to be commissioned at yearend 2019, NAPP’s project will share the same site as Williams’ PDH unit and be based on UNIPOL polypropylene technology.

Once operational, the two projects will provide the foundation for a larger petrochemical complex at the site, including a second PDH unit, according to David Chappell, president of Williams Energy Canada.

In 2013, Williams awarded a preliminary engineering contract for the proposed PDH plant to Fluor Corp., Irving, Tex. (OGJ Online, Jan. 31, 2013).

At the time, the plant under study was to be near Redwater, Alta., and use propane feedstock recovered from a nearby fractionator owned by Williams.

Upon first announcing the project in 2012, Williams said the PDH unit would have a capacity of about 1 billion lb/year and cost $600-800 million.

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