Investments in Feedstock Infrastructure Key to Growth Of Alberta’s Low Carbon Chemistry Sector

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) today expressed its support for the three pillars of The Energy Diversification Act tabled in the Alberta legislature last week. In particular, the proposed expansion of the Petrochemicals Diversification Program (PDP) and the Petrochemicals Feedstock Infrastructure Program will contribute to significant investments in the chemistry sector.

With over 300 projects announced in North America in the last investment cycle, representing over $275 billion CDN in investment, chemistry is the fastest growing industrial sector on the continent. But so far, Canada and Alberta have not been able to capture their historical fair share of new investments due to higher capital costs and widely available, transparent, and predictable investment support programs in U.S. jurisdictions. This means that Alberta and Canada have missed out on opportunities to create sustainable jobs, environmental improvements and build the foundation for the development of made‑in‑Canada chemistry products and solutions necessary to meet Canada’s and the world’s clean energy challenge.

“It takes courage to look down the road, develop a long-term roadmap for energy diversification, and take the steps necessary to attract major capital investments – multi-billion-dollar investments – which can take up to six to eight years before they are complete,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC. “But the biggest natural advantage the Canadian chemistry sector enjoys is access to abundant low-carbon fossil fuel feedstocks,” he continued. “Alberta’s supports will help the chemistry sector leverage our low-carbon feedstock and create wealth and opportunity for Albertans in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.”

The chemistry sector is already a key contributor to Alberta’s energy value-add strategy. Natural gas liquids, in particular ethane, and natural gas itself (methane) are converted into high value chemicals and fertilizers resulting in $16 billion in sales in 2016, with over $8 billion in exports. Additionally, the industry creates well-paid high value jobs (over 1/3 of its employees have university degrees) with important multiplier effects within local economies – each chemical job results in another five in related sectors and services.