Alberta’s petrochemical and chemical industry produces over $9.5 billion worth of products annually.
Alberta is home to four ethane-cracking plants including two of the world’s largest in Joffre and Fort Saskatchewan, with a capacity to produce 8.6 billion pounds of ethylene annually. The NOVA Chemicals Joffre Site consists of five manufacturing facilities: three for ethylene production and two for polyethylene production.
Prosperous Petrochemical Cluster
Central Alberta is home to an extensive petrochemical cluster of approximately 36 chemical and petrochemical manufacturers, including the NOVA Chemicals Joffre Site, one of the world’s largest ethylene production facilities.
This cluster’s competitive advantage comes from access to abundant low-cost feed stocks and the sharing of ancillary services such as utilities, co-generation storage, emergency services and waste disposal. These businesses are also tied into an intricate transportation network of rail, road and pipeline routes.
The large NOVA Chemicals Joffre Site recently completed the Polyethylene 1 (P1) Expansion Project, part of the greater R3 Project at the Joffre Site. The three-year construction process impacted the local economy, bringing approximately 800 jobs to the site at peak employment and continues to remain a strong presence. NOVA Chemicals stated the main construction contractor, Ledcor, paid out approximately $145 million in wages, with about 35% of those employees being local residents. That equated to approximately $50 million flowing to local residents who worked on the construction site.
This industry account for nearly 14,000 workers across Alberta. Central Alberta’s petrochemical industry employs over 1,600 people and each job is estimated to create a spin-off of another 2.5 jobs in the local economy.
Our petrochemical sector workers are educated and highly skilled. In fact, this industry has the largest percentage of workers with university degrees than any other.
The Future of Petrochemicals
The success of this industry is built on a secure supply of feedstock, low cost natural gas and access to global markets with competitively-priced products. Central Alberta’s access to the oil sands will prove increasingly important as research continues into the use of off-gases from bitumen upgrading as an additional feedstock.
The petrochemical industry has invested over $10 billion in Alberta since the 1990’s. From 2001 to 2011 revenues for this industry increased by 150%, earning $18.8 billion. In 2014 revenues totalled $36 billion.