The direct tax benefit will be small but the spinoff investment for Sarnia “will be huge”.
That’s the view of Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley to the announcement that Calgary – based NOVA Chemicals is spending $2.2 billion expanding polyethylene production at its Corunna plant.
The project includes a new one billion pound polyethylene facility located south of the existing cracker unit that will increase ethylene capacity by 50 per cent. The two expansions will require 1400 construction workers and create 150 high paying permanent jobs once completed in the second half of 2021.
Bradley says he gives NOVA a lot of credit for elongating the construction schedule beyond three and a half years so that the impact on the local economy will be more controlled and less dramatic. “This gives local contractors a lead position in building this facility,” says Bradley.
The mayor adds, “This has happened due to project agreements with no strike provisions and lower costs”. He describes it as a huge endorsement of the area and its skilled labour force.
“When the construction trades work the whole City works,” says Bradley.
The Province, which has had a love affair with green energy, has come to the realization of the value of NOVA and Sarnia’s petrochemical industry contributing $100 million to the project.
Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of economic development and growth described the announcement as a “game changer”. He went on to describe NOVA as being “vital to the chemistry sector and the local and provincial economies”.
The $100 million grant is the largest made in Ontario for a petrochemical investment and is the second largest manufacturing investment made in Ontario in a century.
Tom Thompson, NOVA’s regional, manufacturing director described the scope of the project telling reporters and politicians that the $2.2 billion expenditure is the largest capital investment in the history of the Chemical Valley.
Thompson echoed the comments of Bradley saying work being done by NOVA employees, suppliers and contractors were key in the decision to build in Corunna.
The other factor in the decision was the conversion of Corunna facility to natural gas liquid feedstock from the Marcellus Shale Basin in Pennsylvania. That decision five years ago secured the future of NOVA Chemicals in the Sarnia area.
NOVA Chemicals, headquartered in Calgary is wholly – owned by the Mubadala Investment Company of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Bradley expects the NOVA expansion is the first of many in the growth cycle of the City.