Fatality halts work on Albertan polyethylene project

Nova Chemicals Corp. has halted construction on the Polyethylene 1 (PE1) plant expansion project at its ethylene and PE complex in Joffre, near Read Deer, Alta. (OGJ Online, July 1, 2013), following an industrial accident at the site.

Nova Chemicals suspended work at the PE1 construction site on Apr. 27 after a contractor operating at stationary crane suffered severe trauma and subsequently died as a result of coming into contact with unidentified equipment, Bill Greene, senior vice-president of Nova Chemicals, said in a statement.

With construction activities suspended and the site now secured, regulatory authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.

In the coming days and weeks, the company will continue to work with the authorities, its partners, and its safety leaders to fully understand the cause of the tragedy and identify any changes it may need to make to ensure the safety of its employees, said Todd Karan, Nova Chemicals’ chief executive officer, on Apr. 28.

Work at the PE1 construction site remains suspended, Karan added.

A timeframe for the restart of construction activities was not disclosed.

Designed to expand PE capacity at the Joffre site by 40%, the PE1 project includes installation of a 450,000-tonne/year single-train linear low-density PE unit, as well as associated equipment, as part of the company’s Nova 2020 growth strategy (OGJ Online, Aug. 15, 2014; June 13, 2014; Mar. 3, 2014)

In a project update issued earlier in April, Nova Chemicals said the PE1 project was more than 75% completed, and at the time, was due to reach final mechanical completion and begin commissioning activities during third-quarter 2016 for a planned full-startup in the fourth quarter.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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