5.6 Billion Petrochemical Plant Announced

Aug 5, 2019 | Featured, Prince George

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West Coast Olefins CEO Ken James said the company has secured a 300-acre site at the BCR Industrial Site to pursue the project.

Calgary-based company  West Olefins has announced its plans to build a $5.6-billion petrochemical plant in the BCR industrial site.

If all goes well, a fully operating facility is expected to be up-and-running by the end of 2023 and employ as many as 1,000 people in permanent, highly skilled jobs. The feedstock would be natural gas supplied via the Enbridge West Coast pipeline.

“This will be the biggest project the city has ever seen,” said James, who lived in Prince George from 1974-1984 and highlighted the city’s access to the CN Rail line to Prince Rupert, availability of land and proximity to the pipeline as three reasons why the city was chosen.

The distance to Asia from Prince Rupert is about half that from the U.S. Gulf Coast, James noted. Another competitive advantage, said James, is a supply of cheap Canadian natural gas, its price driven down by the shale-gas revolution in the U.S.

He said a plant in Prince George will have a $250-per-tonne advantage over product produced in the U.S. Gulf Coast and $50-$75 per tonne on product produced in Alberta. James said as many as five more petrochemical plants will be built in B.C. over the next 20 to 30 years and added there is room for three plants in total at West Coast Olefins property at BCR.

“This will totally change the economy here,” he said.

Construction at the site is slated to begin in spring 2021. And once operating, about $50 million per year would be spent on maintaining the facility. In a scrum with local media, James said he is “over 50-per-cent confident” that the project will go ahead.

Read full announcement from The Province

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