Williams to produce propylene in Canada

US-based energy firm Williams has sanctioned construction of a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility in Alberta, Canada. Said to be the first and only one in Canada, it will allow Williams to significantly increase production of polymer-grade propylene from its Canadian operations. Williams is the only company in Canada currently producing polymer-grade propylene and will initially produce up to 500 kilotonnes/year, with the opportunity to double capacity with a future expansion. The company estimates capital expenditures of up to C$900 million. Pending appropriate permitting approvals, the PDH facility is scheduled to go into service in the second quarter of 2016.

Williams has selected Honeywell's UOP as the vendor to provide the UOP Oleflex process technology for the dehydrogenation process. The technology uses a platinum-based catalyst system, as well as less energy and water than competing PDH technologies. Williams' PDH facility will be sited in close proximity to its existing Redwater fractionation plant near Edmonton, Alberta. The firm plans to primarily use propane recovered from its expanding oil sands offgas processing operations along with local propane purchases as feedstock for the new PDH facility. It will convert the propane into higher-value propylene that will be transported to the US Gulf Coast and sold to petrochemical producers. Plans are to sell the associated hydrogen byproduct in the Alberta market. Williams is also exploring development of new propylene markets for its production in Alberta.


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