CALGARY — Fears of coronavirus contagion and depressed commodity prices have gutted much of Alberta’s economy but there is one sector experiencing a surge: the province’s petrochemical sector, which produces a range of plastic inputs used in medical devices and packaging of everyday goods.
“Demand so far has been steady. While we have seen some cancelled orders, we are experiencing increased demand for many grades of polyethylene to meet the needs of essential businesses, especially food packaging, e-commerce and medical packaging,” NOVA Chemicals Corp.’s senior vice-president John Thayer said in an emailed statement to the Financial Post.
Thayer said the Calgary-based company, which is owned by UAE’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, is operating its facilities in Canada at full capacity.
Nova and competitor Dow Inc. operate ethane-cracking petrochemical plants in Alberta that produce polyethylene, which is a plastic product used to make a range of products ranging from plastic wrap and packaging to medical devices. Key plastic ingredients are natural gas and chemicals derived from natural gas processing and crude oil refining.
Plastic packaging had been the target of multiple levels of government across Canada prior to the coronavirus pandemic.