An Alberta government subsidy program lured its third industrial customer for natural gas into construction Wednesday, when Nauticol Energy committed to build a C$2 billion ($1.5 billion) methanol plant.
The package includes C$80 million ($60 million) in credits against provincial royalties, which are granted to gas-consumer projects for them to transfer to producers in exchange for supply arrangements.
Nauticol, a private Calgary firm led by industry and finance veterans, plans to use about 300 MMcf/d to make 3 million metric tons/year of methanol starting in 2022.
The plant site, in northwestern Alberta near Grande Prairie, is in a shale and tight gas region where horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing tap the Montney and Duvernay formations.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, announcing the success for the subsidy program, described the methanol project as a big contributor to “a stronger, more diversified energy sector.”
Notley’s New Democratic Party government previously granted C$500 million ($375 million) in royalty credits to Canada-Kuwait Petrochemical Corp. and Inter Pipeline Ltd. to build two polypropylene plants for C$8 billion ($6 billion) near the Alberta capital, Edmonton.
The new Canada-Kuwait plant would use 23,000 b/d of gas-byproduct propane to make 550,000 tons/year of polypropylene. Inter Pipeline’s plant, aided by the Alberta government and also in the Edmonton area, is building a C$3.5 billion ($2.6 billion) plant to make 525,000 tons/year of polypropylene from 22,000 b/d of propane.
More announcements are expected as the province heads into a spring election campaign.