Canada’s ultra-cheap natural gas drives hopes of petrochemical boom

(Reuters) by Rod Nickel – Canada’s gas-rich province of Alberta is looking to recreate the building boom spreading along the U.S. Gulf Coast, where inexpensive natural gas generated billions of dollars in investment by petrochemical companies. The adoption by drillers of fracking technology to unlock oil and gas from shale rock expanded U.S. production dramatically starting a decade ago. That abundance has generated $194 billion since 2010 in announced capital investment to build or expand U.S. chemical plants that use gas to make plastics, fertilizer and fuel, according to the American Chemistry Council. Alberta hopes to do the same thing, turning prices that are about one-third those at the U.S. Gulf Coast into a competitive advantage to attract petrochemical companies. Such investment would provide a badly needed market for oil and gas within the landlocked province, where energy companies struggle to reach buyers farther away. Alberta in 2016 launched incentives to diversify its oil-based economy. Two projects, including Inter Pipeline Ltd’s (IPL.TO) planned C$3.5 billion ($2.7 billion) petrochemical plant near Edmonton, have been approved to share C$500 million in royalty credits. Alberta solicited bids for a second subsidy round in June. “They’re getting all kinds of expressions of interests,” David… continue reading

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