02/01/2016 04:12 EST | Updated 02/01/2016 04:59 EST

Alberta Petrochemical Sector Will Get A Boost Under New Government Program

Chris Young/CP

CALGARY — The Alberta government is looking to boost the province's petrochemical sector with a new program that it expects will attract up to $5 billion in investment.

Royalty credits amounting to $500 million will be provided to new plants that turn raw natural gas products — methane and propane — into materials used to make plastics, textiles and other goods.

The credits will be paid out over three years once the projects are complete.

The idea is for the petrochemical companies to trade or sell the credits to natural gas producers, which can use them against their royalty payments.

The government says the program has the potential for two or three new facilities to be built in Alberta — employing up to 3,000 during the construction of each facility and more than 1,000 directly and indirectly once production starts.

One recommendation from last week's royalty review report was to examine ways to encourage more investment in facilities that turn raw resources into more valuable products.

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