The Alberta government says a program intended to encourage more value-added processing in the petrochemical industry has drawn more interest than expected.
Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd says the petrochemicals diversification program, which provides $500-million in royalty credits to the sector, has attracted 16 applications from local and international companies.
McCuaig-Boyd says that's twice as many as what the government had hoped for.
She says the government will take 60 days to examine the proposals before picking two or three plants worth a total of $3-billion to $5-billion.
Petrochemical companies don't pay royalties to the province, but the credits they would receive could be passed on to their oil and gas suppliers, which in turn could use the credits to help offset their royalty payments.
When the program was announced in February, the government said it would focus on two components of natural gas: methane and propane, which can be used in the making of fertilizers, plastics and other products.
The program's goal is to create 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 full-time permanent jobs in the value-added facilities.
McCuaig-Boyd says there are about 8,000 petrochemical workers in the province.