CALGARY, AB – In an interview shared in the Journal of Commerce, Ken James, President and CEO of Calgary-based West Coast Olefins Ltd. talked about the Petrochemical complex to be built in Prince George, B.C.
Sharing, the company has secured a 120-hectare site in the BCR Industrial Area at the southeast end of Prince George and is now entering the regulatory approval process which would require an environmental assessment.
James says a final investment decision is to be made by the end of next year and, if approved, the project would be built over a three-year period with start-up at the end of 2023.
In the interview, James says Prince George was chosen as the preferred location for the complex because natural gas is now being exported mostly to Asia.
Noting, Prince George already has a lot of the pieces in place for such a venture, namely a pipeline, waterways, a connected rail system, designated industrial land and sizeable population base.
“I wanted a project where I didn’t need to build any pipeline for very obvious reasons,” says James. “I also wanted a community that was big enough to do this without total disruption and Prince George has that.”
The actual construction of the complex will have its challenges, components will have to be manufactured on or near the complex instead of being shipped in from other parts of Canada or Asia.
“LNG Canada is on the coast so they can actually have modules built in China and Indonesia and have them shipped across the ocean. However, there’s a big mountain range which is the Coastal Range and I can not bring modules into Prince George. To the east, I have the Rocky Mountains, another significant barrier to bringing in stuff from Alberta module shops, so I have to do my construction in Prince George.”
With most of the industry in Prince George geared to sawmill and pulp industries creates another challenge. The project will need fabrication of big pressure vessels and pressure piping, an effort will have to be put into converting the local industry to focus on petrochemicals and fabricating.
The interview continues to share James, who has worked on several ethylene plants, says he has asked the province to put money into fabrication and construction infrastructure in Prince George, as those skills will be needed for the venture and he is relying on the local workforce to build the project.
For the past year, company representatives have been meeting with local contractors to get a handle on the labour situation and fabrication infrastructure. They’ve also had meetings with local and First Nations leaders, as the project will be constructed within the territory of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
Chief Clay Pountney said in a statement that, “Lheidli T’enneh Nation looks forward to potentially partnering with West Coast Olefins to ensure that if the project is approved (it) will provide significant economic benefits to Lheidli T’enneh and our members and is designed and built in a way that is aligned with our values.”