Williams to build $900M PDH plant in Alberta

To be located near the company’s Redwater fractionation facility.

March 18, 2013

CALGARY — Energy infrastructure company Williams is building a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility in Alberta that will increase the Canadian operation’s production of polymer-grade propylene.

Williams is the only company in Canada currently producing the petrochemical feedstock used in plastics manufacturing.

The new facility, the first and only one in Canada, will be located close to its Redwater fractionation plant and will initially produce up to 1.1 billion pounds (500 kilotonnes) of polymer-grade propylene annually, but could double capacity with future expansion.

Pending approvals, the company said the $900 million plant will go into service in the second quarter of 2016.

Honeywell will provide the UOP Oleflex process technology for the dehydrogenation process. The technology’s platinum-based catalyst system uses less energy and water than other PDH technologies.

Williams said it will use propane recovered from its expanding oil sands offgas processing operations along with local propane purchases as feedstock for the new facility.

The higher-value propylene 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.

The Redwater complex includes fractionation, storage and distribution facilities and is currently being expanded to produce approximately 5 million barrels of propane and 280 million pounds of polymer-grade propylene annually from offgas, in addition to other NGLs and olefins.

Williams Energy (Canada) Inc.’s Boreal Pipeline is a 420-kilometre, 12-inch diameter, high vapour pressure pipeline that transports the liquids processed at the Williams liquid extraction plant near Fort McMurray to the Redwater facility.