Sector News

Nova completes $2.1 billion acquisition of Geismar ethane cracker from Williams

July 6, 2017
Chemical Value Chain

Nova Chemicals has completed the $2.1 billion acquisition from Williams Partners of its 88.46% share of the 885,000-metric tons/year Williams Olefins Plant in Geismar, Louisiana.

The deal, which was announced in April, also brings Nova about 525 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the plant and Williams’s interest in the ethylene trading hub at Mont Belvieu, Texas. Williams will continue to supply feedstock ethane to the plant under a long-term supply agreement.

“This is a game changer for our company, as it marks our entry into the US Gulf Coast, which allows us to better serve our customers in the Americas,” says Todd Karran, president and CEO of Nova. Prior to the deal with Williams, all of Nova’s olefins assets have been located in Canada at Joffre, Alberta, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Nova paid for the acquisition with the proceeds of a private offering of $2.1 billion in senior notes that concluded last month.

In March, Nova, Total, and Borealis announced plans to form a joint venture to build a 1-million metric ton/year ethane cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, and a 625,000-metric ton/year polyethylene plant in Bayport, Texas. Total, which is expected to hold a 50% interest in the JV, will contribute an existing 400,000-metric ton/year PE in Bayport. Nova and Borealis are both owned by International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates).

Alan Armstrong, CEO of Williams’s general partner, says the transaction is part of a natural gas-focused strategy aimed at predictable long-term growth and less commodity-margin exposure. “Around 97% of our gross margins will now come from predictable fee-based sources, including the previously announced new long-term supply and transportation agreements with Nova,” he says.

Williams plans to use the cash proceeds from the sale to pay off an $850 million term loan and to fund a portion of the capital and investment expenditures in its growth portfolio.

In September 2016, Williams sold its Canadian natural gas midstream business, including plans to build a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant in Alberta, to Inter Pipeline (Calgary, Alberta) for $1.05 billion.

By Clay Boswell

Source: Chemical Week

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