Alberta energy minister says petrochemical program attracting lots of interest

RED DEER, Alta. – Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd says a program to encourage more value-added processing in the petrochemical sector is getting a lot of interest.

The Petrochemicals Diversification Program was announced earlier this month and provides $500 million in royalty credits to the sector.

McCuaig-Boyd was in Red Deer on Tuesday and spoke to the local chamber of commerce and toured a petrochemical plant in Joffre.

She says the Joffre plant’s expansion will be opened soon.

The program will focus on two types of natural gas: methane and propane, which can be used in the manufacturing of fertilizers, plastics and other products.

The government has said it expects 3,000 jobs during construction and 1,000 directly and indirectly once plants start up.

“We’ve launched a new program, you know, 500 million (dollars) in royalty credits, to see if we can come up with two or three plants that can work with propane and methane that we have lots of in Alberta and we’re getting a lot of interest in that,” McCuaig said.

The credits will be paid out over three years once the projects are complete in an effort to reduce risk to government. The idea is for the petrochemical companies to trade or sell the credits to oil and natural gas producers, which can use them to offset their royalty payments to the province.

The application process for the program closes in April.

(CKGY, The Canadian Press)