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Why Ohio is working with Pennsylvania and West Virginia to build an Appalachian petrochemical industry

June 29, 2016

Columbus Business First 

With the competition for the first multibillion-dollar ethane cracker decision complete and Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the winner, cooperation between Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, all three of which have been pushing for a cracker plant in their respective states, is the name of the game in the next stage of the nascent Appalachian petrochemical industry. "The competition is pretty much over," said Keith Burdette, West Virginia's secretary of commerce, at the Northeast U.S. & Canada Petrochemical Construction conference in Pittsburgh. "Each state has a project they're working on." ... One of the ways Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have already begun to work together is through the Tri-State Shale Coalition, a group formed last year to move the region toward a much larger petrochemical industry. ... Read more..

Craft labor in demand for chemical project wave

June 29, 2016

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

With dozens of announced and proposed chemical projects in this corner of Appalachia, an estimate by Bechtel Corp. shows the region will need up to 15,000 more craft laborers than it currently has. ... Bechtel is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Beaver County ethane cracker, a multibillion-dollar megaproject that Shell recently announced would move forward after five years of capturing the region’s hopes and frustrations. The plant will “crack” ethane, a natural gas liquid found in the Marcellus and Utica shales, into ethylene, a building block of the chemical industry. ... “For skilled labor, wages are going to go up,” predicted Jeff Burd, founder of the construction industry analysis outfit Tall Timber Group. That will be across the board, because contractors not involved in the cracker or other chemical projects will be competing with them for workers. ... Read more...

Shell exec expands on plan to build cracker plant in Beaver County

June 28, 2016 

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 

Royal Dutch Shell's decision to build a multibillion-dollar petrochemical plant in Beaver County came down to three key considerations: location, location and tax incentives. Pennsylvania lies above the ethane the facility will consume, is close to most customers of the polyethylene it will produce, and offered the global energy giant a package of credits worth as much as $1.6 billion over 25 years. ... Officials said the plant will employ 6,000 construction workers, create 600 good jobs for operation and attract related manufacturers to build additional facilities. ... Read more...

Chemical-Plant Investments Drive U.S. Manufacturing Surge

June 21, 2016


Chemical makers spent a record $42 billion on plant construction last year, more than half of what all U.S. manufacturers invested. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Dow Chemical Co. are among those leading the way, building new facilities near the Gulf of Mexico to convert natural-gas liquids into ethylene and then into plastics. The U.S. is among the least-expensive places to manufacture chemicals as fracking produces abundant gas, a key feedstock. ... Read more...

Natural gas giant to build another plant, pipelines

June 20, 2016

Houston Business Journal

Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP  continues to expand its natural gas footprint as natural gas production and piping continues to grow in the U.S. The midstream energy company announced June 20 it plans to build a cryogenic natural gas processing facility — its third facility announced in less than 24 months — as well as additional natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines. Enterprise’s target: the NGL-rich Delaware Basin in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The facility’s site hasn’t been determined, but the plant is expected to have a nameplate capacity of 300 million cubic feet per day and extract more than 40,000 barrels of NGL daily. The facility is expected to start up in the second quarter of 2018. ... Read more...

The next great global glut: plastic

May 31, 2016


The North American shale oil boom has played havoc on the petroleum industry, with increased reserves driving down the price of crude oil. The increased production is also leading to surpluses of materials created from petroleum, such as plastic. ...  In the form of pellets, those raw plastics are easily transportable and higher in value. ... "It was only when shale gas came into the picture, and these U.S. producers had access to low cost feedstocks and the ability to be very competitive and profitable, that they decided to expand the industry again,” said Nick Vafiadis, global business director of polyolefins and plastics at IHS Chemical. ... Read more... 

Chemours plans $230 million expansion in Ingleside

May 2, 2016

Corpus Christi Caller-Times

The Chemours Co. will spend $230 million the next three years to expand its facility in Ingleside to produce a refrigerant required in European cars. The former DuPont plant is located on 600 acres along the banks of the LaQuinta Channel. ... The plant is expected to be open by third quarter of 2018. The company is the world's largest producer of titanium dioxide, which is used for coatings, plastics, laminates and paper. It also makes fluoroproducts, such as refrigerants and industrial fluoropolymer resins that require liquefied natural gas for production. ... Read more... 

PREIT's CEO: Shell advancing planned western Pa. petrochemicals plant

April 28, 2016

Philadelphia Inquirer

Royal Dutch Shell appears to be moving forward with its plan for a petrochemicals plant in the Western Pennsylvania city of Monaca, according to the Philadelphia-based owner of a nearby shopping mall that expects to benefit from the proposal. Shell recently made a fresh land acquisition near the site of the proposed complex and started leasing part of Beaver Valley Mall's parking lot from owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) "for a significant sum of money," said Joseph Coradino, the mall developer's chief executive officer. ...  The energy giant has begun completion of some preliminary work at the site of a proposed $2 billion ethane cracker on the Ohio River in Beaver County, but it has not yet officially committed to the project. The facility would process ethane derived from Marcellus Shale gas into ethylene, which is used in the production of plastics and solvents. ... Read more... 

PTTGC plans ethane cracker plant in US 

April 26, 2016

Bangkok Times 

PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) is expected to finalise plans to develop a petrochemical complex in the US by next year after a delay caused by falling global oil prices. The ethane cracker plant based on shale gas in Belmont County, Ohio is to be finalised in terms of partnership, finance and design in early 2017, said chairman Prasert Bunsumpun. He said completion of the petrochemical complex would take two years, by which time low oil prices should help reduce energy, feedstock and development costs. The plant costing US$5.7 billion will have an annual capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of ethylene cracker, 700,000 tonnes of high-density polyethylene, 500,000 tonnes of monoethylene glycol and 100,000 tonnes of ethylene oxide. ... Read more... 

Expert: Two ethane cracker plants in region would be beneficial, support each other

April 20, 2016

Beaver County Times

The chief executive officer of Consol Energy said last week at a conference he believes the region will eventually be home to two ethane cracker plants, with one of those being the proposed Shell Chemicals facility in Potter Township. ... “There are many benefits of having two cracker plants close together, and companies tend to like that,” said Tom Gellrich of TopLine Analytics, based in Philadelphia. “You see it in the Gulf Coast all the time. Suppose one goes down for maintenance or some other issue. There can be an agreement in place where the other picks up in production. What it does is reduce risk for everybody.” ... Read more... 

CITGO Lemont Refinery promotes STEM education in Illinois with Project Infinite Green

April 18, 2016

Your Oil and Gas News 

CITGO Petroleum Corporation employees from the Lemont Refinery served as mentors teaching interactive workshops on diverse energy sources and sustainability to local middle and high school students as part of Project Infinite Green. This innovative, locally based afterschool program offered middle- and high-school students the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from industry experts both inside and out of the classroom. Founded in 2011, Project Infinite Green engages students from sixth to twelfth grade in twice-weekly classes and fieldwork studies focused on the energy industry. Throughout the fall semester, five CITGO Lemont Refinery employees prepared and presented lessons at Lemont High School, Old Quarry Middle School and St. Cyrils Middle School on geology, molecular structure, the refining process and environmental stewardship that emphasized the science and business of sustainability ... Read more... 

Consol Energy CEO predicts 2 ethane cracker plants for region

April 17, 2016

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 

The global crash in oil prices and resulting squeeze in financing available to energy companies have raised questions about whether two companies will build ethane cracker plants in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. The head of one of the top shale gas producers in the area, however, predicts both petrochemical facilities will be built in the next decade. Such facilities would take ethane — a liquid that comes up with natural gas from many shale wells in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia and Eastern Ohio — and convert it to ethylene and polyethylene, the building blocks of many common plastic products. ... Read more... 

Axiall, Lotte Invest $3 Billion in Louisiana Chemical Plants

March 30, 2016

Business Facilities

Axiall and Lotte Chemical Corp. recently announced the companies will make a combined $3 billion capital investment in two new chemical manufacturing plants in Lake Charles, LA. Axiall and Lotte, through a joint venture called LACC LLC, will make a $1.9 billion capital investment in a new ethane cracker facility beside Axiall’s current Lake Charles manufacturing plants in Calcasieu Parish. Additionally, Lotte will make a $1.1 billion capital investment in a new monoethylene glycol manufacturing plant on the same site. Combined, the projects will create 215 new direct jobs, with the ethane cracker producing 135 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $75,500, plus benefits, and the monoethylene glycol, or MEG, facility producing 80 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $87,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the combined projects will result in 1,892 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 2,100 new jobs in Southwest Louisiana. ... Read more... 

Largest new U.S. refinery since 1976 planned for N.D.

March 30, 2016

Fuel Fix

Plans are moving forward to build the biggest new refinery in 40 years in the U.S. at a time when gasoline consumption is expected to break an all-time record in 2016. California-based Meridian Energy Group is expected to begin construction soon on the planned Davis Refinery in North Dakota that would take advantage of the Bakken shale play and process up to 55,000 barrels of oil a day. The project comes on the heels of the 2015 opening of the 20,000-barrel-a-day Dakota Prairie Refinery that represented the nation’s first new refinery since 1976. ... Read more... 

Chevron Phillips adds new growth beyond Houston expansion project

March 29, 2010

Fuel Fix

Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. said Tuesday it will keep growing locally beyond its $6 billion petrochemical expansion in the Houston area by adding capacity to produce more high-performance lubricants for the automotive and industrial industries. ... The project announced Tuesday will expand its low-viscosity polyalphaolefins, or PAO, capacity at its Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown by 10,000 metric tons per year, or by about 20 percent. ... The company said there’s increasing demand for performance lubricants used in the auto and other industries to help boost energy efficiency. ... Read more... 

Potential for ethane cracker builds excitement

March 10, 2016


The oil and gas industry was a big topic of conversation Thursday night, as the Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association held its membership meeting at Belmont College with officials from PTT Global Chemical in attendance. "Belmont County, Monroe County, Harrison County are really the areas that our producers are very active in right now because the rock is so economical," said Mike Chadsey, OVOGA director of public relations. There's a lot of excitement over whether or not PTT Global Chemical will build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County. The petrochemical plant has been proposed for a 420-acre site in Dilles Bottom. ... Read more... 

Petrochemical Output Contributes To Texas' Overall Job Growth

March 10, 2016

Oil and Gas Investor 

... Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., a joint venture of Chevron Corp. and Phillips 66, are building mammoth chemical crackers to process polyethylene from natural gas, and logistics firms have created millions of new square feet of warehouse space as they plan to ship the output to the global plastics industry. Rising chemicals output has contributed to record traffic at the Port of Houston Authority, and officials say the trend is expected to continue. Throughout the Baytown area on the outskirts of Houston, an estimated $8 billion worth of projects are expected to be finished this year and another $22 billion completed in 2017. This has all propped up employment in Texas at an otherwise difficult time. The positive impact on the overall U.S. economy from the chemicals industry that this illustrates is also one of the reasons the U.S. should avoid a downturn despite troubles elsewhere in the world. ... Read more... 

Sunoco begins first exports of Marcellus Shale ethane via Marcus Hook terminal

March 10, 2016

Philadelphia Daily News

The first export shipment of Marcellus Shale ethane set sail Wednesday afternoon from Sunoco Logistics Partners' Marcus Hook terminal to a petrochemical plant in Norway. The JS Ineos Intrepid, one of eight 575-foot tankers commissioned by European chemical manufacturer Ineos, was loaded this week with 173,000 barrels of ethane that had been delivered to Marcus Hook from Western Pennsylvania through the Mariner East pipeline, Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said. Ethane, a liquid used in plastics manufacturing, is derived from natural-gas production. ... Read more... 

Total opens Texas plant to produce high-purity special fluid

March 8, 2016

Today's Energy Solutions 

Total inaugurates the production of the company’s new high-purity special fluids facility in Bayport, Texas. The company's ribbon-cutting represents the completion of a $100M investment by the global integrated energy producer and leading international oil and gas organization. Total’s Bayport hydro de-aromatization (HDA) plant, the second in the world - modeled on a similar facility in France - will produce a range of 40 different high purity special fluids for customer use across a wide spectrum of industries including pharmaceuticals, crop protection, water treatment, printing inks, paints and coatings, and cosmetics. ... Read more... 

Shale Gas Proves More Resilient Than U.S. Government Expected

March 7, 2016 


America’s energy explorers have become so good at pulling natural gas out of the ground that government forecasters are having a hard time figuring out how much they’re producing. This month, the Marcellus shale formation of the eastern U.S., the country’s biggest gas play, will yield 17.4 billion cubic feet a day, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Monday. That’s almost 2 billion cubic feet, or 11 percent, more than the agency had forecast last month. It said the field’s output was revised based on more recent production data from Pennsylvania. ... Read more...

Total, Phillips 66 see more petrochem growth in Texas

Feb. 23, 2016


The petrochemical industry is looking to expand in both Texas and the Middle East, top officials from Total and Phillips 66 said Tuesday. Paris-based Total considers a proposed $2 billion steam cracker in Port Arthur that would produce ethylene a top priority for its refining and petrochemicals business.  The cracker would produce up to 2.2 million pounds of ethylene a year. Ethylene is the primary building block of most plastics. ... The Gulf Coast’s ongoing petrochemical chemical boom is fueled by cheap and abundant natural gas from shale that serves as a key feedstock to help make chemicals and plastics. ... Read more... 

Calumet finishes Montana refinery expansion

Feb. 23, 2016

Kallanish Energy

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has completed a $400 million project to more than double crude processing capacity at subsidiary Calumet Montana Refining’s Great Falls, Montana, refinery. The facility’s 25,000-barrel-per-day (BPD) crude unit is now online and slated to reach full operating capacity by the end of March, Calumet CEO Tim Go told investors in the company’s most recent earnings report, Kallanish Energy reports. ... The crude unit is designed to process heavy sour crudes, allowing Calumet to process less expensive Canadian crudes. ... Read more... 

First U.S. shale gas exports imminent as tanker docks at Sabine Pass

Feb. 22, 2016


A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker on Sunday docked at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, with only days to go before the United States ships its first export cargo of seaborne gas from the lower 48 states. U.S. exports will add to a wave of supply coming from Australian projects at a time when demand is faltering in major consuming countries and prices plummeting in line with oil. Expected to become an importer of LNG just a decade ago, the shale gas revolution in the United States that unlocked cheap, abundant supplies has wreaked havoc on global gas markets as LNG meant for the country was redirected around the world. ... Read more... 

Study: Petrochemical Projects Could Transform Pacific Northwest Into Export Hub

Feb. 18, 2016


Projects in the works for the Pacific Northwest could turn the region into a major hub for exporting petrochemicals and products derived from fossil fuels, according to a new study from the environmental think tank Sightline Institute. The proposed plant in Tacoma to convert natural gas into methanol has grabbed headlines lately, but Sightline said it’s just one of a number of fossil-fuel-based projects in the works for the region. Northwest Innovation Works, the Chinese-backed company behind the Tacoma plant, also wants to build two more: one in Kalama in southern Washington and another in Oregon along the Columbia River. ... Read more... 

Lockport Industrial Area expands to include 600 more acres for manufacturing plant

Feb. 18, 2016

KPLC News 

The Lockport Industrial Area was created by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury in 1966. ... Thursday marks its fifth expansion. ... Axiall called for a feasibility study last November. The 14-page study outlining the expansion was shared with jurors Thursday. ... Axiall and Lotte Chemical - a south Korean corporation - plan to turn some 600 acres of company-owned land into a $3 billion investment. ... The site will hold an ethane cracker and mono-ethalyne glycol manufacturing plant. But before construction, it needed the police jury's approval to include their land in the Lockport Industrial Area. ... Read more... 

New coker in operation at CHS Kansas refinery

Feb. 17, 2016

Hydrocarbon Engineering

Member-owners of CHS Inc. are now benefitting from the recently completed coker at the company's central Kansas refinery. Construction of the coker unit at the CHS refinery at McPherson began in March 2013 and took nearly 2.8 million man-hours to complete. The unit began operating on 5 February 2016. "The new coker allows the refinery to process a larger variety of crude oils, thus delivering the best value to our owners and customers by purchasing the most cost effective crude oil available," said Jim Loving, CHS Senior Vice President, refining, pipelines and terminals. "We're also able to meet increased product demand while creating an even safer operating environment for our employees." ... Read more... 

Women in petrochemical jobs is focus of February conference

Feb. 6, 2016

The Vindicator

Nine area community colleges and several major refineries and manufacturers are joining together to recruit women into what was once a male-dominated industry. Women in Industry is a one-day conference for women interested in well-paying career positions in the petrochemical industry. ... Petrochemical refineries need to replace as many as 40 percent of current employees over the next decade—due to plant expansions and an aging workforce.. ... Attendees will hear from women already working the industry about actual job experiences, how to best prepare for these careers, what training is required, and how to network with other women while on the job. ... Read more... 

Flint Hills to spend $750M to reduce emissions

Feb. 4, 2016

MPR News

Flint Hills Resources announced plans Thursday to reduce emissions from its Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount. The upgrades to the crude oil refinery, a major producer of transportation fuel used in Minnesota, are estimated to cost about $750 million. One goal is to decrease the refinery's overall permitted emissions of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants by 500 metric tons per year, the company said. Flint Hills Resources also plans to install "state-of-the-art technology" that will enable the company to improve energy efficiency. ... Read more... 

MarkWest, Marathon focusing on projects postmerger

Jan. 27, 2015

Pittsburgh Business Times 

Two months after consummating their merger, MarkWest Energy Partners LP and MPLX are starting to work on projects involving the Marcellus and Utica shale plays that speak to the strengths of both companies, executives said Wednesday. ... One of those potential projects would be the building of a facility that would convert butane, a substance in abundance in the Marcellus and Utica, into alkylate, a chemical that is blended into gasoline that allows it to comply with environmental regulations in the traffic-heavy Northeast.  ... MarkWest is considering potential locations for the alkylate facility. One spot could be near MarkWest's Hopedale fractionation facility near Cadiz, Ohio, about an hour and a half west of Pittsburgh. ... Read more... 

Investing $9.4bn in US ethane facility

Nikkei Asian Review 

Jan. 25, 2015

Taiwan's leading industrial conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, has said it will invest as much as $9.4 billion to build a new ethane cracker in the U.S., in what appears to be an attempt to maximize the benefits of cheap shale gas in the world's largest economy. ... If approved, the new facility would be FPG's fourth ethane cracker plant in the U.S., and its first one in Louisiana, leveraging easy access to water and transportation provided by the Mississippi River. Ethane crackers process ethane, a component of natural gas found in shale, and extract ethylene, which is used in the manufacture of plastics. ... Read more... 

Westlake Chemical will expand plants in Kentucky and Louisiana

Fuel Fix

Jan. 8, 2016 

Houston-based Westlake Chemical said Friday it authorized an expansion of its petrochemical plant in Calvert City, Kentucky, and that it will launch a growth project after March in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Both projects aim at increasing Westlake’s capacity to produce ethylene, a primary building block of plastics, as the company continues to ride the nation’s petrochemical boom. Many chemical companies in the U.S. have boosted their ethylene production because of the cheap and abundant natural gas from U.S. shale that serves as a primary feedstock in the petrochemical manufacturing process. ... Read more... 

Proposed $9.4 billion in Louisiana named top-three deal by trade publication

The Advocate

Jan. 5, 2016

A proposed $9.4 billion Formosa Petrochemical Corp. project in St. James Parish was ranked as one of the nation’s top three deals in Business Facilities magazine’s 2015 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition. ... Pending a final investment decision by mid-2016, Formosa would develop the project in two phases on the west bank of the Mississippi River, near the Gramercy bridge. The project would create 1,200 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $84,500, plus benefits, and result in an estimated 8,000 new indirect jobs. ... Read more... 

Shell to Increase Production at Louisiana Plant

Machinery Lubrication 

Jan. 5, 2016

Shell recently announced its decision to increase alphaolefin (AO) production at its chemical manufacturing plant in Geismar, Louisiana, making the site the largest AO producer in the world.  Shell will construct a fourth AO unit, adding 425,000 tons of capacity. The plant, which is located next to the Mississippi River about 20 miles south of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is used in the production of stronger and lighter polyethylene plastic for packaging and bottles as well as engine and industrial oils and drilling fluids. ... Read more... 



Dec. 16, 2015

Shell Chemical is exploring a project to expand its olefins plant in Deer Park, Texas, and increase its ethylene production, the company said Wednesday. ... The company noted that several steps remain before it would make a final investment decision, ranging from concluding preparatory engineering and design work and seeking permits from Texas regulators, to evaluating downstream product support and any other potential global investments. ... Read more... 

New Mexico governor meets with energy stakeholders in Colorado

Associated Press

Dec. 15, 2015

Gov. Susana Martinez has made a quick trip to Colorado to meet with energy stakeholders from New Mexico and Mexico to discuss the region’s energy future. Specifically, they’re looking at ways in which to better export energy from New Mexico into Chihuahua. Tuesday’s meeting in Ignacio had area producers, federal government officials from Mexico, Chihuahua officials, and New Mexico officials in attendance. ... Read more...

Valero starting up new crude topping unit at TX refinery


Dec. 14, 2015

Valero Energy Corp is starting up the first of two new crude topping units at a pair of its Texas refineries to increase light crude processing capability, a company spokesman said on Monday. The $350 million, 70,000 barrels-per-day unit at the company's 205,000 bpd Corpus Christi refinery will not increase overall capacity, but will increase ability to run lighter crudes. ... Read more.. 

Phillips 66 working on major refinery upgrade in Billings

Independent Record 

Dec. 14, 2015 

Phillips 66 is spending several hundred million dollars on improvements to its Billings refinery. The project will generate hundreds of construction jobs for the Billings area over the next year and is part a trend in which companies are investing millions in Billings area refineries. ... But Steve Arveschoug, executive director of Big Sky Economic Development, welcomed the investment in refinery improvements for a significant boost to the Billings economy. "It keeps the folks in the trades employed, and it means business opportunities for suppliers," Arveschoug said. Between CHS and Phillips 66, more than a half-billion dollars is being invested in local refineries, he said. ... Read more... 

Plastics handler considering site in Ashley

The Journal Gazette

Dec. 10, 2015

An Ohio manufacturer is inching closer to making a $90 million investment in Steuben County. The project could create up to 136 jobs by 2019. But officials caution that it’s not a done deal. RES Polyflow has developed technology that allows it to convert waste from the plastic manufacturing process into fuel additives that can be sold to the oil refineries that produce gasoline and diesel fuel, said David Koenig, executive director of the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. ... Read more... 

More ethane than takeaway capacity sets table for crackers

Kallanish Energy

Dec. 7, 2015 

The Marcellus/Utica Shale plays holds so much natural gas liquids, primarily ethane, that within five years – despite all the pipelines built, under construction or slated to be built – regional ethane production will outpace take away capacity by at least 200,000 barrels per day, a new study maintains. The 144-page study is one part of a three-part, nearly 300-page study released last week produced by the Cleveland State University Center for Economic Development’s Energy Policy Center, part of the university’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Shale gas well development over the last four years, sharply cut back due to continuing low prices, has prepared the way for a regional petrochemical and plastics manufacturing boom, according to the study. ... Read more... 

Demand for petrochemical industry jobs continues

Houston Chronicle 

Dec. 6, 2015

The petrochemical industry in Baytown, which is approximately 26 miles east of Houston, has become a worldwide epicenter for the chemical and petrochemical industries, and adding thousands of jobs. "The two largest plants in Baytown are ExxonMobil and Chevron Phillips. They both are spending over $5 million each on their plant expansions. In construction, for all of the expansions including the smaller plants, we are looking at over 20,000 additional construction workers. The construction will continue for another two to three years, and there are more jobs in every area, across the board," said Patti Jett, coordinator of public affairs at Baytown Chamber of Commerce. ... Read more... 

Chemical and plastics maker to expand research center in Selkirk

Albany Business Review 

Dec. 3, 2015 

An international chemical, plastics and metals manufacturer will close two research centers and expand its innovation and technology development center in Selkirk, New York. SABIC, the Saudi Arabian company that acquired General Electric's plastics business eight years ago for $11.6 billion, employs 450 at its Selkirk manufacturing and research center. The company is preparing to construct new facilities in Selkirk by 2017 as it consolidates its Northeast research for material science, process engineering and application development. ... Read more... 

Bill proposes opportunity zones for natural gas 

Dec. 1, 2015

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

... The proposal, known as the Keystone Energy Enhancement Act, would offer 10 years of tax breaks in special development zones to entice heavy natural gas users, like manufacturers and petrochemical makers, to Pennsylvania brownfield sites. Mr. Turzai, a Republican from Marshall and the bill’s prime sponsor,described the broad outlines of the proposal during a shale gas industry conference in September, but his office has added more detail in recent weeks as it encourages other lawmakers to get behind the idea. ... Read more... 

Shell Chemical expanding Louisiana petrochemical complex

Nov. 30, 2015


Houston-based Shell Chemical said Monday it will expand its petrochemical complex in Geismar, Louisiana to produce more chemicals used in plastics, industrial oils and drilling fluids. Shell said the expansion will make the Shell Geismar Chemical Plant the largest producer of alpha olefins in the world with the addition of a fourth production unit. The expansion will add 425,000 tonnes of annual capacity, or about 468,000 U.S. tons, creating a total capacity of 1.3 million tonnes, or about 1.4 million U.S. tons. ... The expansion is a $717 million investment, according to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. ... Read more... 

Rubber City, region have potential to thrive in polymer industry

Nov. 22, 2015

Crain's Cleveland Business

Paul Boulier, vice president of business attraction for Team NEO, is optimistic about the outlook of the polymer industry. That’s because, he said, there are positive global demand trends in the automotive, medical device, consumer products and electronics/electrical industries. That’s a good thing for Akron, as the city — and Northeast Ohio overall — is well positioned in the polymer industry, Boulier said. ... Earlier this year, Team NEO took a look at the polymer and chemical-related companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, concentrated in the parts of the states around the Utica Shale. As of early 2015, that three-state region boasted nearly 1,150 plastics manufacturers, close to 1,800 rubber makers and converters, about 6,370 chemical makers, and more than 8,000 plastic converters, according to information from Team NEO. ... Read more... 

LyondellBasell developing world's largest PO/TBA plant

Nov. 20, 2015 

Your Petrochemical News

LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, today announced that it is advancing plans to build the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area.  This project, considered to be the largest of its kind, is expected to create up to 2,500 construction jobs and approximately 100 permanent positions. "We are moving forward in a deliberate fashion to develop what could become the single largest capital investment in LyondellBasell's history," said Chief Executive Officer Bob Patel. ... This project is part of LyondellBasell's previously announced $3 - $4 billion expansion effort that will take place on the U.S. Gulf Coast over the next five years. ... Read more... 

CSU study predicts Utica Shale will fuel big demand for new jobs

Nov. 18, 2015

Canton Repository

The greatest challenge facing the oil and gas industry isn’t the low price of commodities, it’s demographics. ... To capture new jobs from the anticipated “great crew change,” Ohio needs to educate workers for a range of highly skilled jobs, according to a three-part study released Wednesday by researchers at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Researchers from the college’s Center for Economic Development and Energy Policy Center estimate Utica drilling and production will generate 10,505 full-time jobs in Ohio by 2019; a third of those jobs will require higher education. ... Constructing an ethane cracker and associated plants would create 7,400 construction jobs and 1,570 supply jobs for every $1 billion spent, according to the report. ... Read more... 

Lakeshore plastics industry thriving

Nov. 17, 2015

Sheboygan Press

At the Kaysun Corp. manufacturing plant on Manitowoc’s west side, workers are more than halfway through with a much-needed 31,000-square-foot expansion at the fast-growing plastic manufacturer’s headquarters. Less than 30 minutes away in Sheboygan’s south-side industrial park, construction crews just broke ground on a 20,000-square-foot office that will serve the affiliated SACO Polymers and NWP plastics manufacturing plants. The two projects are just the latest evidence of continued growth in the lakeshore’s plastics industry, which has a combined $238 million in annual sales and now employs an estimated 950 people at 15 companies in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties, according to Manitowoc-based Progress Lakeshore. As Wisconsin’s robust manufacturing sector looks to maintain its edge, industry officials say the lakeshore’s plastics business cluster appear poised to thrive in the coming years. ... Read more... 

Lima’s OEAMC looking to start petroleum research center

Nov. 16, 2015 

The Lima News 

The Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center is considering starting a Center for Petroleum Research in Lima. “The quality of crude oil is changing and it’s happening all over the Midwest,” said Patrick Conrath, director of operations at Husky Lima Refinery and an OEAMC board member, at the Rotary Club of Lima meeting Monday. “There’s a lot of refineries in the area. … They’re having similar problems that require laboratory research to solve.” ... Long-term, the funding could potentially help companies such as Ford, Procter & Gamble, Husky Energy and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, Cowan said. ... Read more... 

Plastics play bigger role in today's autos

Nov. 11, 2015


The use of plastics in the production of light vehicles is continuing to grow, with more than $18.1bn worth of finished automotive plastic products incorporated into vehicles assembled in the US and Canada last year, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Wednesday. In a new report, the ACC found that the use of plastics and polymer composites has grown from an average of 20 pounds per car in 1960 to 329 pounds in today’s cars, minivans, pickups and SUVs. Additionally, the ACC said that US companies producing plastic automotive parts directly employ 55,000 people, which then creates an additional 50,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy. ... Read more... 

Shell applies for DEP permit to enable transition from construction to plant operation

Nov. 11, 2015

Ellwood City Register 

Shell Chemicals has applied for a water quality management permit that would enable the company to transition from a construction phase into an operations phase. Shell spokesman Michael Marr said the permit would only be necessary “should the company decide to build the facility” in Potter and Center townships. Shell officials previously have said they expect to make a decision on the multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant sometime next year. Regardless, progress continues at the site as the company works toward remediating the old Horsehead Corp. site for possible development. ... Read more... 

Oil Refiners Get Nimble on Refining

Nov. 9, 2015

Fox Business

Valero Energy (VLO), the largest U.S. refiner, expects 2016 to be a strong year. Unlike traditional oil companies such as Chevron (CVX) which are being punished by declining crude prices, Valero and other refiners are awash in cash. This is partly because crude is cheaper to refine these days but also because the refiners are becoming more nimble with operations by using sensors, wireless networks and computer algorithms to most accurately meet demand. ... The ability to implement new technology is especially key for smaller and medium sized refiners says Jeff Hazle, Senior Director of Refining Technology at American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) a trade association representing high-tech American manufacturers of virtually the entire U.S. supply of energy. ... Read more... 

Ohio, Pa. and W.Va. hope shale gas brings more investment

Nov. 9, 2015

Plastics News

... As vice president of business attraction for Team NEO, an economic development group based in Northeast Ohio, part of Paul Boulier’s job is to understand and then promote the economic growth potential surrounding all of that cheaper natural gas coming from hydraulic fracturing. ... Several companies are considering spending billions of dollars on local projects to transform ethane from natural gas into ethylene — through a process called cracking — which then can be made into resin. ... Boulier told the crowd that there will be plenty of ethane to go around, and he sees a future where multiple such facilities could be located in the tri-state region. ... Read more...  

Shale gas industry flourishes in W.Va.'s Marshall County

Nov. 7, 2015 

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Signs of a developing shale gas economy abound in Marshall County, W.Va. ... Shale-related business fed a 9.5 percent increase in the area's gross domestic product from 2013 to 2014, the bureau said in September. ... Leaders say the county, at the geographic center of liquids-rich Marcellus and Utica shale operations, pipeline development and legacy industries, could anchor a regional center for shale-related manufacturing and industry. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other officials who gathered last month in Morgantown to discuss tri-state planning said they want to build a gas and petrochemical complex that would rival that found on the Gulf Coast, boosting local demand and prices for gas and the liquids that also come from shale wells. ... Read more... 

At conference, the drum beat for a Philadelphia energy hub builds

Nov. 6, 2015

Philadelphia Inquirer 

Local business leaders on Thursday continued to beat the drum to build out Philadelphia as an energy hub, saying the region should take advantage of its proximity to the Marcellus Shale natural-gas boom to revive the area's manufacturing sector. ... Patrick T. Harker, president of the Philadelphia Fed, said the shale-gas boom "is not the first, nor the last, energy cycle for this region." ... Joseph Hughes, dean of Drexel University's College of Engineering, said that when he arrived at the school four years ago, few energy companies participated in its cooperative-education programs. Now, 13 of the top 20 employers accepting Drexel engineering co-op students are energy companies. ... Read more... 

PBF Energy acquires Chalmette Refinery

Nov. 2, 2015

NJ Biz

Parsippany-based PBF Energy announced Monday that its subsidiary has acquired Chalmette Refining LLC for $322 million. The company consists of the 189,000 barrels per day Chalmette Refinery and related logistics assets, from ExxonMobil and PDV Chalmette LLC. The acquisition will allow PBF Energy to increase its total throughput capacity to more than 725,000 barrels per day. Read more... 

Hardy: Collaboration, safety keys to Shell Geismar’s prosperity 

Nov. 1, 2015


When you walk into Shell Chemical Geismar Plant General Manager Rhoman Hardy’s office, a sense of collaboration permeates the air — from his office room furniture complete with a circular meeting table to his genuinely warm smile. ... Not only do the Shell Chemical Geismar Plant’s administrators and employees make safety a top priority, but they also place their commitments to the community in high regard. ... The Shell Chemical Geismar site is also one of the sponsors of the Louisiana Youth Seminar, a program where young people are sponsored to attend weeklong leadership camps. Moreover, Shell is one of the main sponsors of Jazz Fest, which is an annual music festival in New Orleans. ... Read more... 

$600 million petroleum storage site planned for St. John

Oct. 21, 2015

The Times-Picayune

Pin Oak Terminals will invest $600 million to build a St. John Parish facility to store liquid petroleum products along the Mississippi River. The project is expected to create 70 jobs. ... Pin Oak, based in LaPlace, plans to build up to 10 million barrels of storage capacity and railroad loops on the 431-acre site. The facility will be able to receive, blend and store a range of liquid petroleum products. The project is expected to create 70 jobs paying more than $60,000 per year. Another 250 construction jobs are expected when building starts later this year. ... Read more... 

Houston Energy Day Festival Sets Another Attendance Record 

Oct. 19, 2015


Another fun-filled, chock-full Energy Day Festival, another new attendance record – just as plans to expand the event to three other cities next year unfold.  About 27,000 people – along with one of country music’s rising stars – turned out Saturday afternoon to applaud the dozens of Houston-area teachers and students recognized at the 5th annual Energy Day Festival. The record-amount of festival goers viewed more than 75 interactive exhibits and scientific demonstrations showing on-going advancements and innovations in one of America’s fast-growing sectors – energy. Check out photos from the event and read more about AFPM's commitment to STEM!

Phillips 66 eyes adding hydrocracker at Lake Charles refinery

Oct. 20, 2015


Phillips 66 is considering adding a hydrocracker to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel at its Lake Charles, Louisiana refinery, plant manager Steve Geiger on Tuesday. ... The refinery is also laying the foundation for a new fuels hydrotreater to enable it to meet Tier III gasoline standards, Geiger said to reporters. He declined to disclose the capacity of the new hydrotreater, which is scheduled to be complete and in operation by the end of 2016. ... Read more... 

Consultant: Expand petrochemical manufacturing at Marcus Hook site

Oct. 20, 2015

Philadelphia Inquirer 

An energy consultant that is exploring potential new uses of the former Sunoco refinery known as the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on Tuesday recommended the expanded development of petrochemical manufacturing at the waterfront site. IHS Inc., which conducted the study for the Delaware County Industrial Development Authority, recommended the construction of a propane-dehydrogenation plant to make propylene. The dehydrogenation plant would consume some of the Marcellus Shale natural-gas liquids that Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. has started to deliver by pipeline to the Marcus Hook complex, which it owns. ... Read more...  

Emerson to automate petrochemical complex in Lake Charles

Oct. 14, 2015

Hydrocarbon Engineering

Sasol, an international energy and chemical company, has selected Emerson Process Management to help automate its US$8.9 billion petrochemical complex in Lake Charles, La., designed to take advantage of abundant, low cost natural gas. The automation project is one of the largest in history awarded to Emerson. When completed sometime in 2018, the massive petrochemical complex will more than triple Sasol’s chemical production capacity in the United States. The complex includes an ethane cracker that will produce 1.5 million tons of ethylene annually, as well as six chemical manufacturing plants designed to convert the ethylene into a diverse range of chemicals. Ethylene is a key ingredient in the production of plastics, detergents, anti-freeze, and other petrochemical products. ... Read more... 

OH, PA, WV likely to get ethane cracker plants to produce ethylenes for plastics

Oct. 13, 2015

Akron Beacon Journal 

Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia are likely to see three or four multi-billion dollar plants built to turn ethane from the Utica Shale into ethylene, a key ingredient for making plastics. That analysis came from Tom Gellrich of TopLine Analytics, a Philadelphia company that closely follows ethane markets, at Tuesday’s Utica Summit III that drew 125 people to Kent State University’s Stark Campus. ... Cracker plants are very desirable because they create hundreds of construction jobs, will create permanent jobs and will attract chemical plants and other companies to locate nearby. ... Read more... 

Greenville investor to build $32M plastics export center in Charleston County

Oct. 12, 2015

The Post and Courier

Sea Pac LLC, an Upstate-based startup company that plans to transport plastic pellets to overseas manufacturers, is investing $32 million to build a large export operation off U.S. Highway 78. The Greenville company expects to create 50 jobs initially and more than 200 in the next five years, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office said Monday. ... Jim Newsome, CEO of the State Ports Authority, said plastics resins 'are a key commodity sector' for the maritime agency and 'a significant component of the port’s planned above-market volume growth.'" ... Read more... 

Petrochemical boom a boon as Beaumont shows economic growth

Sept. 28, 2015

Beaumont Enterprise

Name a big U.S. city - Miami, Las Vegas, L.A. - and chances are Beaumont's economy grew faster last year. In fact, this area outpaced all but 19 U.S. cities for growth in 2014, meaning regional improvement has now surpassed a vast majority of the nation for two consecutive years. ...  An ongoing petrochemical boom is most responsible for the growth, the numbers show. Several petrochemical plants, as well as locally based refineries, have either expanded or announced plans to ramp up production. ... Read more... 

Firm behind $4 billion petrochemical plant in North Dakota enters deal with Continental Resources

Sept. 25, 2015

Grand Forks Herald 

A Denver-based company that unveiled plans last fall for a $4 billion petrochemical plant in North Dakota said Friday it has entered into a long-term ethane supply agreement with one of the biggest players in the state’s Oil Patch. Badlands NGL’s said it has entered a “precedent agreement” with Continental Resources Inc. to supply the plant with ethane gas, a byproduct of natural gas processing that will be converted into polyethylene for use in a wide variety of plastic products. ... Read more... 

Shale revolution revitalizing U.S. manufacturing

Sept. 24, 2015 

San Diego Union-Tribune 

Quietly but unquestionably, the shale revolution has jump-started a U.S. manufacturing sector long thought in terminal decline. Surging domestic oil and natural gas production has strengthened America’s energy security, pushed down global oil and gas prices, and saved many consumers thousands of dollars at the pump and on their heating and cooling bills. But less obvious has been the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing – particularly of the most energy-intensive products, such as chemicals, plastics, steel and aluminum. ... Read more... 

Jindal: Dormant ethane cracker in Carlyss to be restarted creating more than 600 jobs for SWLA

Sept. 23, 2015


A dormant ethane cracker in Carlyss will be restarted, creating more than 600 direct and indirect jobs in Southwest Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Wednesday in a news release. ... Bangkok, Thailand-based Indorama Ventures, or IVL, acquired the dormant facility and 250 acres. ... The project will create 125 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $50,000, plus benefits, Jindal and Lohia said. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 481 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 600 new jobs in Southwest Louisiana. ... Read more... 

Total planning $2 billion ethane cracker in Port Arthur

Sept. 23, 2015

Fuel Fix

French energy giant Total is planning to build a new, $2 billion steam cracker in Port Arthur to produce up to 2.2 million pounds of ethylene a year. Total contracted with The Woodlands-based CB&I for front-end engineering and design for a second cracking unit at the Paris-based company’s existing Port Arthur campus. A final decision on the project is expected next year and the project would be completed in 2019, Total announced Wednesday. Ethylene is the primary building block of most plastics; the growth of petrochemical projects in southern Texas is surging thanks to the influx of cheap natural gas from U.S. shale that serves as the feedstock to help make chemicals and plastics. ... Read more... 

New Mexico Energy Plan: Identifying and Attracting Petrochemical and Manufacturing Companies  

Sept. 16, 2015

New Mexico EMNRD

Governor Martinez released a comprehensive energy strategy for New Mexico, which "ensures that the state will expand its role as an energy leader, while continuing to provide income and create jobs across energy industries." One of the 12 key objectives in the report includes “stimulat[ing] energy investment in New Mexico through utilization of abundant natural gas.” In order to invest in and further utilize the state's natural gas resources, the report recommends "[i]dentifying and attracting petrochemical and manufacturing companies that utilize natural gas as a feedstock to New Mexico, particularly to San Juan County" and "[i]nvolving state universities and laboratories in economic research and modeling to assist industry in petrochemical projects". Read the full report here

Ethane Crackers Are Cropping Up

Sept. 13, 2015

Wheeling News-Register

It remains to be seen if Belmont County will ultimately land the $5.7 billion PPT Global Chemical ethane cracker, but six similar projects already are under construction along the nation's Gulf Coast, with Marcellus and Utica shale gas scheduled to provide at least a portion of their feedstock. Industry leaders believe ethane yields from just the Marcellus and Utica fields could reach 590,000 barrels daily by 2020, which is up from none at all in 2012. That has led firms such as Exxon Mobil Chemical, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Dow Chemical and other industry giants to begin building their own ethane crackers in Texas and Louisiana. ... Read more... 

Shell Chemicals to rehabilitate landscape around proposed ethane cracker plant site

Sept. 11, 2015 

The Times 

Shell Chemicals will undertake an extensive re-vegetation plan to rehabilitate the area surrounding the old Horsehead Corp. site along the Ohio River. The company, which hasn’t yet announced whether it will build a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant in Potter Township, has been undertaking significant site preparation, including tree removal and dirt relocation, for potential development. ... Jim Shaner, executive director of the conservation district, said Shell had to present an acceptable re-vegetation plan in order to secure necessary permits for land development. ... “(The site) is going to be totally rehabbed,” Shaner said. “We’re totally behind it.” ... Read more... 

Wood Group partners with Koch Industries to convert Texas refinery for Eagle Ford oil

Sept. 10, 2015


Houston-based Wood Group Mustang has signed on with Koch Industries’ refining arm to convert its West refinery in Corpus Christi to process more crude oil from the nearby Eagle Ford Shale. The $600 million “Project Eagle Ford” by Koch’s Flint Hills Resources subsidiary is part of a growing trend as more Gulf Coast refineries move to utilize cheaper, nearby domestic shale crude. ... “This project will allow us to process more of the crude that is in our backyard due to Eagle Ford, while reducing criteria air emissions,” said Valerie Pompa, vice president and manufacturing manager for Flint Hills, in a prepared statement before construction began. ... Read more... 

Thai Firm Considering Building Petrochemical Plant In Ohio

Sept. 4, 2015

AP & Ohio Public Radio

A company based in Thailand plans to spend 100 million dollars to  investigate whether it can build a petrochemical facility in Belmont County. ... “This facility will take the natural gas and they will be able to crack that natural gas and break it down and create plastics,” said Gov. John Kasich. “This is a big deal when we talk about the downstream.” Kasich says it could mean hundreds of construction jobs and then permanent positions if the company decides to build its multi-billion dollar project in Ohio – along with jobs in the textile, drug and packaging manufacturing industries that would use the plastics. ... Read more...  

Formosa Petrochemical considering building $9.4B production complex in Louisiana

Sept. 3, 2015

Greater Baton Rouge Business Report 

Taiwan-based Formosa Petrochemical Corp. is studying the feasibility of building a $9.4 billion industrial complex in St. James Parish to produce ethylene and other chemical products, company officials and Gov. Bobby Jindal announced this afternoon. ...  If Formosa decides the investment makes financial sense, it would move forward with construction on the first phase of the project in late 2016, with hiring to begin in 2018. The project would create 1,200 new direct jobs paying an average annual salary of $84,500, plus benefits, Louisiana Economic Development estimates. ... Read more... 

CB&I signs on to do early engineering for Louisiana chemical plant

Sept. 2, 2015


CB&I has won the contract to perform early engineering and services work for a petrochemical plant a U.S.-Korean joint venture is planning in Louisiana. South Korea’s Lotte Chemical Corp. and Atlanta-based Axiall Corp. finalized the agreements in June on their LACC joint venture to build an ethane cracker plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The cracker would make ethylene, which is the primary building block of most plastics. The plant would produce about 1 million metric tons of ethylene a year. ... Read more...

NASA creating Terminator like polymer material that can “heal” itself after gunfire

Sept. 1, 2015


A polymer material that can sustain damages due to its self healing capabilities has now been created by NASA-supported scientists. Lovers of movie Terminator: the Judgement Day, might very well recollect the impregnable T-1000 role played by Robert Patrick and the amazing effects which the magic poly-alloy produced on the silver screen. Well, it seems not only common people but even some scientists have actually loved the idea and got tremendous inspiration due to which some of the NASA-supported scientists have actually created a polymer material that can “heal” itself even after gun fire. ... Read more... 

Del Mar College receives $250,000 from Cheniere Energy

Sept. 1, 2015


Del Mar College received a major donation Monday that will help give students the real-world experience they will need to work in Coastal Bend industries. Cheniere Energy presented a $250,000 check to the College for Process and Instrumentation. The money will go toward a pilot plant, which is basically a mini refinery. The pilot plant is poised to give students hands-on experience, as they train for careers in the refining industry. ... "At the end of the day, it's about training who belong to the families of this community and that's the great thing about this whole thing," said Mark Escamilla, the president of Del Mar College. ... Read more... 

New plant, industry, jobs announced for Hancock County

August 28, 2015

Associated Press

DAK Americas, a company that already operates the largest plastic-resin manufacturer in North America at Port Bienville Industrial Park in Hancock County, has announced a new manufacturing plant at the site that will produce 230 million pounds of polyester staple fibers a year. The polyester fibers are used by the automotive, textile and other industries. ... The new operation will create 86 jobs with an average salary of $50,000 a year, and bring the number of DAK employees at the site to 239. ... Read more... 

Chemical company to bring its headquarters, 120 high-dollar jobs to Charlotte

August 25, 2015

Charlotte Business Journal 

Specialty chemicals firm Albemarle Corp. plans to move its headquarters and 120 jobs to Charlotte. The move represents a $13 million investment for Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) as it relocates from Baton Rouge, La., says Luke Kissam, Albemarle CEO. ... The company says the average annual salary for the headquarters jobs is $169,425, much higher than the average annual wage in Mecklenburg County of slightly less than $60,000. ... Read more... 

LyondellBasell looking at Texas sites for new chemical plant

August 21, 2015 


While giant LyondellBasell has been expanding throughout the Houston area, CEO Bob Patel said the company is also looking to build a new polyethylene plant at one of its sites in southern Texas. Speaking at the Houston-based company’s sprawling Channelview complex where LyondellBasell will start up 250 million pounds of new ethylene capacity near the end of August, Patel said an announcement likely will come later this year on adding more production of polyethylene, the most common type of plastic. ... Patel said LyondellBasell is planning to spend up to $4 billion in capital through 2020 along the Gulf Coast, mostly in Texas, as the company looks to take advantage of cheap natural gas that is used as feedstock for manufacturing chemicals and plastics. ... Read more... 

How the Louisiana Chemical Corridor designation came about and what it means for manufacturing

August 19, 2015

Greater Baton Rouge Business Report 

As of July 8, the “Louisiana Chemical Corridor” from New Orleans to Lake Charles is now one of 24 places nationwide with the federal government’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designation. ... The designation comes with no guarantee of new federal dollars, although the U.S. Department of Commerce says it’s “an important signal to potential investors that these communities are a good place to spend their money.” ... In other words, the feds have a mandate to grow the nation’s manufacturing economy, and they want to spend their effort and taxpayers’ money where it will do the most good. South Louisiana was picked because of its traditional strength in the chemical business, and because its application showed broad cooperation between the public, private and nonprofit sectors. ... Read more... 

Cheap energy is reviving manufacturing in America's industrial heartland

August 9, 2015

Cleveland Plain-Dealer

... But the most important factor in America's industrial renaissance has been cheap and abundant energy, a result of the "fracking boom" that started about six years ago and has boosted America's oil and natural gas output by 70 percent.  Consequently, the average cost to manufacture goods in the United States is now only about five percent higher than in China and 10 to 20 percent lower than in major European economies.  ... Natural gas, diesel and gasoline prices have dropped dramatically in recent years, significantly lowering energy costs for households and businesses. ... The shale boom has also helped revive a number of industrial areas in the Northeast and Midwest that had recorded job losses for decades. ... Read more...  

New research may enhance display & LED lighting technology

August 7, 2015

Engineering at Illinois

Recently, quantum dots (QDs)–nano-sized semiconductor particles that produce bright, sharp, color light–have moved from the research lab into commercial products like high-end TVs, e-readers, laptops, and even some LED lighting. However, QDs are expensive to make so there’s a push to improve their performance and efficiency, while lowering their fabrication costs. ... With funding from the Dow Chemical Company, the research team–led by Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Brian Cunningham, Chemistry Professor Ralph Nuzzo, and Mechanical Science and Engineering Professor Andrew Alleyne–embedded QDs in novel polymer materials that retain strong quantum efficiency. ... Read more... 

Exxon expands Texas refinery for lighter crude

August 4, 2015


Exxon Mobil said Tuesday it was increasing the capacity for processing light crude oil grades at a Texas refinery in order to exploit gains in U.S. production. The company announced plans to increase the production capacity at its refinery in Beaumont, Texas, by nearly 6 percent, or 20,000 barrels per day, in an effort to expand its position in the regional shale sector. ... "This project will grow our capacity and flexibility to process light crude oils," Jerry Wascom, president of ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Co., said in a statement. ... "The increase in capacity at the Beaumont refinery is made possible in large part by abundant, affordable supplies of U.S. light crude from shale," Wascom said. ... Read more... 

Petrochemical expansions lead to growth for industrial storage company

August 4, 2015

Houston Business Journal 

Dixie Cullen Interests, a Houston-based industrial storage, export preparation and transloading company, is a three-time Fast 100 finalist (including this year) and has spent three years on HBJ's List of Fastest Woman-Owned Businesses. ... This can-do attitude has earned James clients like Exxon Mobil Corp., who used Dixie Cullen's services as the company carried out its massive move to its new campus. Another client is Phillips 66, as the company builds its Freeport and Sweeny petrochemical plants. Those two clients have fueled a lot of the company's growth, James said. ... Read more... 

Charlotte production training center gets $1M expansion

July 31, 2015

Charlotte Business Journal 

A production automation company is spending $1 million to expand its Charlotte training center. Emerson Process Management, a unit of St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co., operates the center to train customers on its machines. The 37,500-square-foot center will get new training equipment, including a “flow lab” that simulates larger-scale processing and manufacturing. ... Emerson customers are trained at the site in “real-world plant conditions” for such processes as oil refining and chemical manufacturing. ... Read more... 

Illinois Institute of Art -- Chicago Video Promotes Industry Products and Careers 

July 30, 2015

Chicago, Illinois 

Illinois Institute of Art -- Chicago students participated in AFPM and EdVenture Partners' "Recruitment Challenge", developing a PR campaign to educate millennials on the essential fuels and products the refining and petrochemcial industries manufacture as well as the variety of well-paying jobs available within the sectors. Check out their video and learn more about industry career opportunities at

Chevron refinery donates $8M to help Richmond students

July 29, 2015


Chevron, whose refinery is based in Richmond, donated $8 million to a program aimed at helping Richmond Students afford college or a trade school. Chevron has agreed donate $27 million more over the next decade. "This is real. This is happening. And our students will benefit from it," said Richmond Vice-mayor Jael Myrick. ... Under the plan approximately 600 Richmond public school seniors would receive up to $4,000 a year to help pay for college. ... Read more... 

CMU Students Video Promotes Industry Career Opportunities 

July 29, 2015

Grand Junction, Colorado

Colorado Mesa University students participated in AFPM and EdVenture Partners' "Recruitment Challenge", developing a PR campaign to educate millennials and the public on the range of well-paying jobs and career paths within the fuel and petrochemical industries. Check out their video and learn more about industry career opportunities at

Vote for Petro! University of Houston Students Video Promotes Petrochemical industry 

July 26, 2015

Houston, TX

University of Houston students recently participated in AFPM and EdVenture Partners' "Recruitment Challenge", developing a PR campaign to educate millennials and the public on the importance of the petrochemical industry. Check out their video on YouTube and #VoteforPetro! 

Energy industry develops more women as resources

July 26, 2015

Victoria Advocate

...When Maglio-Johnson began in the industry almost two decades ago, few women worked alongside her. But she’s witnessed the growth of the industry, bringing with it an increase in women. ... Energy companies continue working toward closing the gender gap. They’ve created women’s networks that not only offer support for the women who work for the company but also help recruit more women to the field. ... Attracting women to the workforce is important for several reasons, those in the industry say. Diversity in the workplace has proven to drive innovation, said Tyson Taylor, the director of Organizational Development and Recruiting at Pioneer Natural Resources Company in Dallas. ... Read more ... 

Paulsboro Refining awards scholarship to local student

July 24, 2015 

NJ Advance

Paulsboro Refining Company LLC (PRC) is awarded a college scholarship to a local student, Thomas Pettigrew, who recently graduated from Woodbury Junior-Senior High School in Woodbury. Thomas is receiving a scholarship to attend the Williamson College of the Trades in Media, Pennsylvania. He is currently taking courses as part of Williamson's Rook program, which is designed to prepare incoming students to enter the college this September, when he will begin a full class schedule in the Specialized Technology program. This scholarship marks the latest academic partnership for PRC, which in cooperation with Salem Community College (SCC) launched a new Associate's Degree program in September 2014. The refinery plans to sponsor four full scholarships per year for local students to earn degrees in SCC's Process Operator Technology program, which prepares students for careers in refineries, chemical and power plants and other process industries. ... Read more... 

Proposed Shell plant would generate own power — a lot of it

July 23, 2015

Associated Press

A proposed petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania would use — and generate — a substantial amount of power. The Beaver County Times reports that Shell Chemicals’ ethane cracker plant proposed for Potter and Center townships in Beaver County would likely require more than 100 megawatts of electricity to operate. That would power 100,000 homes at any given moment, FirstEnergy Corp. spokesman Doug Colafella said. ... Shell would use natural gas-fired cogeneration on site to create steam and electricity for the plant. Officials have said any surplus electricity would be sold for use in the regional power grid. The proposed plant would convert ethane from Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids into chemicals used to make plastics, tires and even antifreeze. ... Read more... 

Cypress Springs Educator benefits from HCDE industry workshop

July 22, 2015 

Cypress Creek Mirror 

Cypress Springs High School physics teacher Frank Gill learned a greater understanding of the chemical industry and area chemical plants through the Science Teachers and Industry Workshop hosted by the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) and sponsored by the Texas Chemical Council. Academic science specialists and industry experts presented a full scope of environmental viewpoints during the three-day workshop, held July 13-16. Included were field trips to a chemical plant, an overview of the Houston Ship Channel, careers in the chemical industry, and materials and experiments to take back to the classroom. “The workshop was awesome,” Gill said. “As teachers, it is important we know the subject we teach. It is even more important to know the opportunities students have after they graduate.” ... Read more... 

Chemical giant staffing up for major Freeport projects

July 20, 2015

Houston Business Journal 

Germany-based BASF SE, which has a major operating presence in the Greater Houston Area, has committed to hiring 60 full-time employees for its ammonia plant and methane-to-propylene plant in Freeport, according to its tax abatement forms. The propylene plant is still pending approval. The real number of jobs that these massive construction projects will likely offer is much higher, said Chris Witte, senior vice president and Freeport site manager for BASF. ... Construction jobs for example could number in the thousands, and it's typical for the project management teams based in BASF's Houston offices to also expand to keep pace with the project demands, said Witte.... Read more... 

Innovative Roof Makes Minnesota Stadium Lighten Up

July 19, 2015

Associated Press 

Ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene. ... Look higher for the clues to this tongue-twister, all the way up to the roof of Minnesota's new stadium. Sixty percent of the colossal venue, some 248,000 square feet of it, will be covered solely by this transparent material called ETFE. The space-age product, scientifically categorized as a copolymer plastic, lets in light like glass would. It's just lighter, cheaper and cleaner.  ... Read more... 

U.S. chemical companies poised for growth as demand swells

July 15, 2015


U.S. chemical plants are expected to grow in the coming months as they take advantage of cheap natural gas prices and a strengthening economy that has boosted domestic demand for raw materials used in housing and automobiles, a new credit rating analysis finds. ... Domestic chemical companies have been able to crank out chemicals at a lower cost because they rely primarily on natural gas to feed their operations while their overseas competitors typically use oil-based inputs to make chemicals. ... That means that companies that make ethylene and polyethylene, the building blocks for plastics, are particularly well-suited to stay competitive against foreign suppliers and benefit from an expected uptick in demand in the coming year, the ratings report found. ... Read more... 

Refiners Race to Make Cheap Oil Into Gasoline

July 15, 2015

Bloomberg Business

Drill, baby, drill? More like refine, baby, refine. As the shale oil boom faces its first slowdown, America’s refiners are running harder than ever to keep up with drivers. Refineries in the U.S. used 16.8 million barrels of oil a day last week, the most in government data going back to 1982. They are burning through stockpiles of crude that earlier this year were the highest since 1930 to provide gasoline to motorists who are driving at a record pace. ... Read more... 

Lee College offering local vocational courses for area students

July 12, 2015

Cleveland Advocate 

Lee College will soon open an educational center in Liberty, Texas in a building on the SH 146 bypass that was formerly used as an alternative school by a number of local school districts. The college is working in cooperation with the Liberty, Dayton, Anahuac, Hardin and Hull-Daisetta school districts and will initially offer dual-credit courses for high school students before expanding their course offerings later to include courses for adults. The first three dual-credit programs to be available there starting this August are process technology, electrical technology, and computer aided drafting and design. ... Read more... 

Training center finds job opportunities for students despite declining production

July 6, 2015


Employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector may be growing scarce, but Appalachia's short-term education and certification program for aspiring energy workers is still going strong. ... Since its inception, ShaleNET's training hubs have been focused on educating participants on the realities of work in the Marcellus Shale -- the long hours, the inclement weather, the safety culture (EnergyWire, April 19, 2013). Those lessons have kept graduates in high demand among the region's employers: The program boasts a 94 to 98 percent retention rate. ... Read more... 

Free Job Training Classes for Industrial Careers Begin in July

July 2, 2015

The Richmond Standard 

The Regional Occupational Program (ROP), a free job training program that prepares local residents for careers at industrial facilities including the Chevron Richmond Refinery, is now enrolling students for its next semester of courses which begin in late July. ...  “As the largest employer in Richmond, Chevron is committed to increasing our local hiring by training our community’s workforce to become the next generation of refinery employees,” said Don Zarraonandia a Maintenance Supervisor at the Chevron Richmond Refinery. “As a ROP graduate, I am proud to see individuals explore new careers in pursuit of their dreams. No advanced degree is required to take this free training course.” The award winning program has a strong track record of placing graduates in good-paying career jobs with companies such as Chevron, Shell, Tesoro, Valero and Phillips 66. Read more... 

CB&I jumps on $1.5 billion Houston petrochem project with Oxy

June 30, 2015

My San Antonio

The Woodlands-based CB&I has signed on to build storage as part of a $1.5 billion petrochemical project owned by Houston-based Occidental Petroleum. The ethylene cracker project is being constructed by Occidental’s OxyChem subsidiary and Mexichem as part of the Ingleside Ethylene joint venture near Corpus Christi. ... CB&I has a new $115 million contract to engineer and build the surface facilities and piping at the salt cavern storage location. Occidental announced the overall project in late 2013 with a projected 2017 opening to take advantage of cheap shale gas feedstock. ... Read more... 

North Dakota refinery completed

June 30, 2015 


The completion of a new refinery in North Dakota will help bring jobs to the state while ensuring U.S. energy security, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. MDU Resources Group and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, which has headquarters in Indiana, announced the completion of the Dakota Prairie refinery, characterized by the state as the first environmentally friendly refinery build in the country in nearly 40 years. ... North Dakota's economy is leading others in the nation and its unemployment rate has hovered below the national average rate of 5.5 percent for the better part of the year. ... The Dakota Prairie refinery is designed to process 20,000 barrels of oil per day from the state's Bakken shale reserve. Up to 7,000 bpd worth of production in the form of diesel fuel will be sold to in-state customers. ... Read more... 

Tech and innovation power Detroit's manufacturing revival

July 29, 2015


"I'm born and raised in Detroit, and it's different than it's ever been." That's the professional and personal view of Gerry Phillips, co-founder and CFO of Prism Plastics, a highly automated injection-molding manufacturer headquartered in Chesterfield Township, Michigan, about 35 miles north of Detroit. His perspective comes not just from living in the city for all of his 52 years but also as a supplier of precision plastic components to the region's bedrock auto industry for nearly 30 years.  ... Prism represents the so-called next-generation manufacturers—characterized by leading-edge technology, innovation and entrepreneurship—that are reconfiguring Detroit's legacy as a place that makes stuff. ... Read more... 

Big Spring Refinery eyes expansion

June 28, 2015 

In The Pipeline

Cheap and abundant crude continues to prove a boon to the Alon’s Big Spring Refinery, the chief supplier of gasoline to the Odessa and Midland market, that now considers expanding. ... Instead, the Permian Basin’s status as an oil giant could mean long-term changes at the Big Spring refinery and potential changes for consumers that could mean an age of lower gas prices, said Jeff Brorman, Alon’s vice president of refining in Big Spring. ... Read more... 

Foreign companies helping fund U.S. petrochemical expansions, analysis finds

June 26, 2015 


Foreign investors are helping fuel the U.S. petrochemical renaissance, as overseas companies scramble to take advantage of the surge of cheap domestic natural gas, according to a new industry analysis. Twelve of the 25 companies proposing to build or expand ethane crackers in the United States are international firms, underscoring the competitive advantage the U.S. continues to reap from the shale boom, according to Petrochemical Update, which analyzes construction trends for the petrochemical industry. ... Read more... 

Site of Ohio's potential ethane cracker confirmed

June 23, 2015

Columbus Business First

... Now, an executive for the company has confirmed the site will house the plant if Thailand's PTT Global Chemical Public Co. and Japan's Marubeni Corp. decide to go through with the facility. James Lash, president of FirstEnergy Generation, said the company is moving a machine shop from the Burger site to a spot in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, in part because the cracker could soon take over the site, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.   Announced in April, the multibillion-dollar plant would take natural gas components from Ohio's Utica shale play and the Marcellus in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and break it down for use in the plastics and chemical industry. ... Read more...

St. Paul Park Refinery increasingly focuses on Bakken oil

June 22, 2015 

The Star Tribune

Minnesota’s oldest oil refinery sees a bigger future with Bakken crude. The refinery on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul Park plans $100 million in upgrades that by next year will boost its refining capability to more than 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day. With that upgrade, on top of significant investment since 2011, the refinery will be able to refine 29 percent more crude than it did when Marathon Oil Corp. sold it in 2010 to new owners. Today, 58 percent of the refinery’s crude oil comes from North Dakota — a level that’s expected to grow. Five years ago, 51 percent of its crude arrived from Canada. ... Read more...  

Shell Chemical wins air permit for proposed ethane plant

June 22, 2015


Shell Chemical has been granted an air quality permit for a proposed petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania, a step the company called “a critical milestone” as it decides whether to build the multibillion-dollar project along the Ohio River. ...  Shell bought the former zinc plant this year but said it is still evaluating whether to build the so-called “ethane cracker” about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The plant would convert ethane from Marcellus Shale natural gas liquids into chemicals used to make plastics, tires and even antifreeze. Local officials hope the plant will bring hundreds of jobs and thousands of related jobs to the region. ... Read more... 

Shell closes on property for proposed ethane cracker

June 15, 2015

Pittsburgh Business Times

Horsehead Holding Corp. has closed on a deal to sell the site of its former Beaver County zinc smelter to Shell Chemical, Horsehead announced Monday. Terms of the sale are confidential. Shell is buying the 1000-acre site, which sits off the Ohio River in Potter Township, for its proposed ethane cracker plant. The multibillion dollar plant would take ethane and convert into polyethylene. Shell is continuing to consider whether to build the plant, but has yet to make a final decision. ... Read more... 

Oil still on top as North Dakota's largest economic sector

June 13, 2015

Grand Forks Herald 

Oil remained king in North Dakota as the largest economic sector and the engine that powered the state's impressive growth last year despite a drop in petroleum prices. The mining sector, dominated by oil and gas extraction, contributed $9 billion toward the state's $55 billion economy last year, as measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis' gauge of the state's gross domestic product. North Dakota's economy grew 8 percent from 2013 to 2014 -- 6.3 percent when adjusted for inflation -- topping the state growth rate for the sixth year in a row. ... Read more... 

Chalmette Refining and ExxonMobil sponsor summer job program for St. Bernard youth

June 10, 2015

 The Times-Picayune

The St. Bernard Career Solutions Center has joined the St. Bernard Parish School Board, St. Bernard Parish Government, Nunez Community College, St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce,  and the St. Bernard Council on Aging Inc. in an effort to provide job opportunities for local teenagers this summer. The Summer Partners Program, sponsored by Chalmette Refining and ExxonMobil, recently begins its 20th summer to provide young adults with a job that directly benefits the community. ... For the second year, the students will also attend seminars given by local community leaders on management of personal finances; the importance of business leadership to a community, and educational opportunities for jobs in demand, to name a few.  ...  The program is sponsored by a grant of more than $25,000 from the ExxonMobil Foundation. ... Read more... 

Texas Oil Boom Fuels Corpus Christi Port Growth

June 9, 2015

The Wall Street Journal 

... Corpus Christi is a regional oil hub, taking in imported crude for Gulf Coast refineries and serving as the endpoint for pipelines carrying production from oil and gas fields across Texas. As domestic production has taken off, so have volumes at the port. About 560,000 barrels of oil leave the port each day, mostly headed for U.S. and Canadian refineries, up from 300,000 barrels a year in 2011, Mr. LaRue said. Chemical companies and other energy-intensive businesses seeking access to cheap domestic supplies are also building new facilities near the port, with some $30 billion in construction projects underway, Mr. LaRue said. ... Read more... 

If your clothes aren’t already made out of plastic, they will be

June 5, 2015


Polyester has been a fixture in our closets since 1951. That’s when the first polyester suits, made from fabric created not by a textile mill but by the American chemical company DuPont, went on sale. ... Nowadays, polyester is easy to miss unless you check fabric tags rigorously. It’s already ubiquitous in our most basic garments, such as t-shirts, dresses, and jeans, while calling almost no attention to itself—and that’s the point. ... Because it’s inexpensive, easy to blend with other materials, remarkably improved in its look and feel, and no worse for the environment than conventionally grown cotton, it has allowed us to keep churning out more and more cheap clothes without a hiccup. ... Read more... 

Total Petrochemicals chooses Port Arthur as site for new ethane cracker

June 3, 2015

The News 

Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA has chosen Port Arthur as the site for its proposed new ethane cracker with a capacity of 1,000 kilotons to supply ethane to the Gulf Coast region. Total had been mulling two different expansion locations, one is Port Arthur and the other in Louisiana, to construct the estimated $1.6 billion project. Melyssa Rodgers, spokeswoman with Total, said the project will require thousands of workers during the engineering and construction phase and once the plant is operational, permanent positions will be created and that number has not been decided. ... Read more... 

Company behind N.D. plastics plant eyes another U.S. facility

June 3, 2015

Grand Forks Herald

A company that announced plans last fall for a $4 billion petrochemical plant in North Dakota now plans to build a second plant in the continental United States but has yet to secure a supply for the North Dakota facility, its CEO said Wednesday. The North Dakota plant proposed by Badlands NGL’s LLC and two partners last October would convert ethane gas, a byproduct of natural gas processing, into polyethylene for use in a wide variety of plastic products. CEO Bill Gilliam said the Denver-based company is close to choosing a location for the North Dakota plant, which Gov. Jack Dalrymple said last fall would be the largest private investment project in state history. ... Read more... 

Chevron, Phillips 66 joint venture may have a second natural gas “megaproject” in the works

June 2, 2015


Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., a joint venture of Chevron Corp. and refiner Phillips 66, is considering a second “megaproject” in the U.S. that would take advantage of low natural gas prices for making plastics and other materials. “We are certainly looking seriously about the possibility of another project in the U.S.,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Cella said Tuesday. “This is the right time to get serious about the next project.” The company is on schedule to begin producing ethylene in mid-2017 at its $6 billion project outside Houston, Cella said in an interview at the American Chemistry Council annual meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. ... Read more... 

Oil and Gas Energize U.S. Job Market

June 1, 2015

The Huffington Post

The American job market is the best it's been in six years, according to the latest government data. The jobless rate is below 6 percent for the first time since 2008. And in 2013, the United States became the world's top producer of oil and natural gas -- surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. This U.S. energy boom is creating many new jobs here in America, and it's a leading contributor to American workers' vaulting out of the unemployment line and into the middle class. Our leaders must continue to support domestic energy exploration, which is proving our nation's strongest job-growth engine. Read more... 

Chevron gives the public a glimpse of its Salt Lake refinery

May 30, 2015

The Salt Lake Tribune

Like many who drive Interstate 15 where Davis and Salt Lake counties converge, Antonio Salmero had always wondered about the "white puffs of smoke" rising from the stacks at Chevron's refinery. On Saturday, Salmero and others discovered the answer — it's water vapor— during a unique refinery tour offered to the public. More than 750 residents from all over the Wasatch Front signed up for the free bus tours to see the workings of the refinery, which is usually off limits to the public. ... Many years ago, the Chevron refinery gave public tours but they were discontinued. Greg Gabel, the current refinery manager, said he wanted to bring them back as a way to "share what we are doing" with the public, especially in the areas of safety and protecting the environment. ... Read more... 

Lee College receives more than $210,000 from ExxonMobil for academic, student success programs

May 30, 2015

The Observer

Members of the Lee College community recently gathered with staff and managers from ExxonMobil to recognize 80 years of partnership and thank the company for contributing more than $210,000 this year toward academic and student success programs. ExxonMobil presented the college with three checks at a special reception held Tuesday, May 26, in the Performing Arts Center on campus. A $125,000 donation is earmarked for technician training programs that prepare students for petrochemical careers – bringing the company’s total contribution to similar technical programs at the college to $1 million since 2008. ... Read more... 

More U.S. Oil Production Enhances U.S. Energy Security

May 28, 2015


Shale oil development has increased U.S. crude production over by 80% since 2008 and 7% this year alone to around 9.3 million b/d. This growth continues to lower our imported petroleum requirement, long the main energy security issue that we’ve faced. In particular, U.S. oil imports from riskier and undemocratic OPEC members continue to fall. Neighbors and friends Mexico and Canada now supply nearly 25% of our total oil supply. ... Read more... 

US Operators Assert Refining and Petrochemicals Dominance

May 26, 2015


There might be an ongoing commotion in the wider oil and gas world, but in the background a vital shift with profound implications for Western markets is underway – the slow but sure rise of the US refining and petrochemicals industry. While Europe faces uncertain margins and overcapacity, the Middle East looks regionally inwards, and Asia often processes at reduced returns in a subsidy burdened climate, US operators are marching ahead taking in benefits of low natural gas prices courtesy of the shale gas exploration to fire up sector growth. ... Read more... 

EIA: U.S. retail gasoline prices lowest since 2009 heading into Memorial Day weekend

May 22, 2015

Washington, D.C.

On May 18, the U.S. average retail price for gasoline was $2.74 per gallon ($/gal), or 92¢ per gallon (¢/gal) lower than at the same time last year. This is the lowest average price heading into the Memorial Day weekend—the traditional start of the summer driving season—since 2009. Lower gasoline prices reflect lower crude oil prices, with the spot price of North Sea Brent crude oil at more than $45 per barrel ($/b) lower than the same time last year, despite having increased more than $10/b since the beginning of February. ... Read more... 

Governor Herbert says fossil fuels remain big part of economy

May 21, 2015

Associated Press

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said at his Energy Development Summit on Thursday that the state is moving toward using more renewable energy, but fossil fuels will remain important to the economy for the next generation. ... “The practical realities are the base load for energy production in this state and in this country is going to come from carbon-based fuels: oil, natural gas, coal, and-or nuclear power, or a combination thereof, for the next generation to come,” he said. ... Read more... 

Chevron, W.R. Grace plan $135 million expansion in Lake Charles

May 18, 2015

The Times-Picayune 

Chevron Products Co. and W.R. Grace & Co. will invest $135 million to expand the existing Grace manufacturing facility outside Lake Charles. Gov. Bobby Jindal and W.R. Grace & Co. CEO Fred Festa announced the planned expansion Monday (May 18) in a news release. The project, overseen by Advanced Refining Technologies, a joint venture of the two companies, is expected to create 295 jobs at the site. In addition, Advanced Refining Technologies will add 30 new jobs. ... Read more... 

The Importance of Texas' Oil and Natural Gas Surge

May 17, 2015


“The Texas Miracle” is being built on oil and natural gas. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) coupled with horizontal drilling, Texas crude oil production has tripled since 2010, and gas output is up 15%. Every day, Texas now produces 3.6 million barrels (b/d) of crude oil and about 22 billion cubic feet (Bcf/day) of natural gas. Texas now accounts for nearly 40% of U.S. crude output, compared to less than 20% in mid-2009, and over 30% of our natural gas. Texas is the source of ~55% of the incremental U.S. oil production since 2008 that has transformed the international market. ... Read more...  

U.S. refiners dominate western hemisphere markets

May 15, 2015


The United States is fast becoming the major refining hub for the entire western hemisphere as plentiful crude at home and superior efficiency enable U.S. refiners to grab market share across the region. U.S. refiners now supply almost a quarter of the rest of the hemisphere’s daily fuel demand, up from less than 10 percent a decade ago. U.S. refiners are exporting more than 4 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and other fuels every day around the world, up from 1 million barrels per day in 2005. ... Read more... 

Shell executive: Cracker plant decision expected 'soon'

May 14, 2015

Pittsburgh Business Times 

More than three years after announcing it would consider building a ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, Royal Dutch Shell may be nearing a final decision. According to IHS Chemical Week, Graham van't Hoff, executive vice president of Shell Chemicals, said the company expects to reach a decision soon. He also said the front-end engineering and design study on the project has been completed. Van't Hoff spoke to the publication during an aside at an industry event Germany. ... Read more... 

Cheap shale gas to create thousands of new plastics jobs, group forecasts

May 13, 2015


The U.S. shale-gas revolution was, to some, supposed to spur a manufacturing renaissance, as companies took advantage of cheap, abundant natural gas. ...  A new report from the American Chemistry Council released Wednesday forecasts the plastics industry will directly generate 127,500 new jobs over a decade. That’s because chemicals companies are bringing new production online to take advantage of cheaper energy.... Read more... 

Cheniere receives federal approval for LNG Terminal

May 13, 2015


Cheniere has finally received word on the federal permit to build a liquefied natural gas or LNG terminal near Ingleside. They have been given the green light. The plant will be one of the largest construction projects ever in the Coastal Bend, both in size and economic impact. ...  When it's finished, the plant will provide roughly three-hundred full time, high-paying jobs. ... Read more... 

Job creation in U.S. plastics manufacturing rebounding

May 12, 2015

The Washington Post 

Last June, Chevron Phillips Chemical broke ground on a pair of facilities in Texas. When they open in 2017, the company pro­jects, those plants will produce a combined 1 million metric tons per year of plastic resin, which will find its way into plastic bags, piping and bottles. Along with a third plant, the facilities will create 400 new permanent jobs, along with 10,000 temporary ones while they’re being built. Those jobs are part of a mini-resurgence of U.S. plastics manufacturing. The sector has added 60,000 jobs since mid-2009, a 12 percent increase. It has reversed a job-shedding trend that began in 2000, and it has nearly recouped all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession. ... Read more... 

LSC-Kingwood team named finalists in 2015 AFPM Recruitment Challenge

May 8, 2015

The Humble Observer 

As technology advances and the petrochemical industry continues to grow, more jobs are created in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. ... “In order to recruit the millennial generation, AFPM connected with EVP to create the Recruitment Challenge,” Melissa Hockstad, AFPM’s vice president of petrochemicals, said.  ... Of the nine participating schools, only three were chosen, on Monday, May 4. They will present their projects to a board comprised of executives from AFPM and EVP on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15.... While the AFPM Recruitment Challenge 2015 experience provides LSC-K’s students with invaluable opportunities in-and-of-itself, the team is confident in their ability to take home the gold. ... Read more... 

APIC: Technology changes to revolutionize propylene as fracking did US gas, says WoodMac

May 7, 2015


Looming changes in the manufacture of propylene over the next few years are akin to the explosion in hydraulic fracturing that revolutionized US natural gas and then oil production, Wood Mackenzie analyst Stephen Zinger said Thursday, May 7. Speaking at the Petrochemical Industry Conference in Seoul, Zinger, vice president chemicals research at the global consultancy, said he "can't emphasize enough" how much of an impact a ramping up of propane dehydrogenation and methanol-to-olefins/propylene output would have. ... Read more... 

U.S. shale boom is changing energy economics, adviser tells Kansas City audience

May 6, 2015 

Kansas City Star

The U.S. “shale revolution” has reshaped world energy markets and appears to be here to stay despite Saudi efforts to undercut it, an energy industry adviser told a Kansas City gathering Wednesday morning. ... Natural gas is costly to ship overseas because the infrastructure to liquefy natural gas requires a lot of capital. But pressure to get gas-exporting facilities built will remain high because Europe’s natural gas costs are running three times those of the U.S., and gas costs in Asia can be eight to 10 times those in the U.S. ... The new shale supplies of affordable oil and natural gas in North America could fuel a reindustrialization in the U.S. in such industries as cement and steel. Being close to supplies of natural gas, in particular, is a big advantage in such industries. ... Read more...

Ethylene storage facility planned in Markham

May 5, 2015

The Bay City Tribune

Representatives of Occidental Chemical Corp. appeared before the Matagorda County Commissioners Court Monday to outline a proposed ethylene storage facility planned for property the company owns in the Markham area. ... Read more... 

Dakota Prairie Refinery Commences Startup Operations

May 4, 2015


MDU Resources Group, Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. today announced that the Dickinson, North Dakota-based Dakota Prairie refinery, the first greenfield fuels refinery built in the U.S. in nearly 40 years, has commenced operations. The facility has begun producing diesel fuel and is expected to begin sales of diesel as the plant ramps up during May. The refinery is designed to process 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of locally sourced Bakken crude oil, resulting in a production slate that includes up to 7,000 bpd of diesel fuel that will be sold from the plant to regional, North Dakota-based customers. ... Read more... 

EIA: The U.S. will be a net natural gas exporter by 2040, even with the most conservative projection

April 28, 2015

Fuel Fix

The U.S. could export anywhere between 0.2 trillion cubic feet and 10.3 trillion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas annually by 2040, according to the latest government projection. Where along that spectrum the actual figure lands will be determined by global energy prices and the availability of U.S. natural gas, the agency said in a Tuesday rehashing of projections made in the Annual Energy Outlook for 2015. The wide range of outcomes hasn’t stopped U.S. companies from proposing dozens of new export facilities. ... Read more... 

Biopolymers: New fluid gels delay release of drugs to benefit young children, others

April 27, 2015

Medical News 

Scientists at the University of Huddersfield are pioneering the use of a special gel that is ideal for administering medication to young children and others - including the elderly - who have difficulty swallowing pills and capsules. Unlike purely liquid medicines, the gel delays the release of the drug, so that it has maximum effect. The research project is a response to the increasing demand for "age appropriate" drugs for pediatric and geriatric patients. ... The project that has led to this discovery is headed by Dr Alan Smith, whose lab at the University of Huddersfield specialises in pharmaceutical and biomedical biopolymers research. ... Read more... 

Shintech to spend $1.4 billion to add ethylene plant at Iberville Parish facility

April 23, 2015 

Associated Press

Shintech will spend $1.4 billion to add an ethylene plant at its Iberville Parish facility. The company said in a news release that the plant will create 100 new jobs, with an average annual salary of $68,500, plus benefits. The new project will lift Shintech's total capital investment to date in Louisiana to $4.7 billion. ... Read more... 


April 23, 2015

Washington, DC

New analysis released today concludes that emissions from U.S. fuel manufacturers have decreased substantially over the last two decades, even as U.S. petroleum fuel production increased during the same time period. These findings, combined with other Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data showing continuous and significant reductions in all criteria pollutants economy-wide, raise further questions regarding EPA’s rationale for proposing new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). ... Read more... 

A Swiss Army Knife for Neuroscience

April 21, 2015 

MIT Technology Review

Various powerful new tools for exploring and manipulating the brain have been developed over the last few years. Some use electronics, while others use light or chemicals. At one MIT lab, materials scientist Polina Anikeeva has hit on a way to manufacture what amounts to a brain-science Swiss Army knife. The neural probes she builds carry light while collecting and transmitting electricity, and they also have tiny channels through which to pump drugs. ... Anikeeva makes the probes by assembling polymers and metals into large-scale blocks, or preforms, and then stretching them into flexible, ultrathin fibers. ... Read more... 

Thai company has eyes on Ohio for natural gas cracker plant

April 20, 2015

Columbus Business First 

A Thai energy corporation is taking a big step toward building a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant in eastern Ohio,Columbus Business First has learned. PTT Public Company Ltd., a $92.6 billion state-owned business based in Bangkok, is looking to develop the complex in Belmont County, one of the hottest areas for energy exploration in the state, industry sources told me. State officials are expected to disclose PTT’s plans this week. ... Read more... 

Detroit police precinct receiving makeover courtesy of Marathon Petroleum refinery

April 17, 2015 

Detroit News

Volunteers plan to spruce up the Detroit Police Department Fourth Precinct between noon and 4 p.m. Friday. The Detroit Public Safety Association, a nonprofit that supports the Detroit police and fire departments, with up to 30 volunteers from the Marathon Petroleum Michigan Refining Division plan to landscape, renovate the Fallen Officer cabinet and paint three rooms. ... Read more... 

Report: United States to be completely energy independent in 2020s

April 16, 2015

Memphis Business Journal

Record crude oil and natural gas production from the Eagle Ford and other shale regions is among the factors that will allow the United States to declare energy independence within the next decade, according to a new federal report. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Annual Energy Outlook 2015 report early Tuesday afternoon. Looking at high, medium and low prices scenarios, analysts with the EIA reported that it's not a question of if it will happen but when. ... Read more... 

Tanks full of oil, U.S. refineries to pump out cheap summer gas

April 13, 2015

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The United States has so much excess oil -- a product of booming production from the nation's shale formations -- that it is running out of places to store it. But before storage tanks begin to spill over, relief is on the way as refiners are set to churn out record amounts of gasoline this year, turning the oil surplus into a gasoline glut. ... Read more... 

Texas leads nation in exports, thanks to petrochemicals and gasoline

April 9, 2015

Fuel Fix

Texas refineries churning out gasoline and diesel — and selling the bounty overseas in record levels — helped make the Lone Star State an export leader in 2014, according to new government data. About a fifth of Texas’ $289 billion in exported goods last year were petroleum and coal products — about $59.1 billion worth — according to a report from the Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative. “Texas is leading the way,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker told reporters on a conference call to discuss the report Thursday. “They support more than 1.1 million jobs through exports.” ... Read more... 

More jobs coming to refinery in Wood River

April 7, 2015


Phillips 66 announced it will be investing $200 million in its Wood River refinery, a project that will create hundreds of jobs. Two projects are slated to begin at the refinery, one of which involves removing more sulphur from gasoline. In total, the projects will take two years. Many jobs will be created for electricians, pipe fitters, and carpenters. ... Read more... 

Increased refinery activity could cut gasoline prices

The Oklahoman

April 1, 2015

The country’s crude oil refineries are beginning to emerge from extended biannual maintenance in a move that could signal good news for both oil producers and energy consumers. Gasoline prices often fall when refinery activity picks up, driving up the country’s gasoline supplies. This year, oil markets also are closely watching the country’s storage levels. Increased refinery activity could lead to less unused oil looking for a home in storage tanks in Cushing and other storage yards throughout the country. ... Read more... 

U.S. Refiners Rely on North American Oil Most in 29 Years


April 1, 2015

U.S. refiners are relying more on North American crude than at any time since 1986 as a glut of supply makes local oil cheaper than imports from overseas. Domestic production and imports from Canada and Mexico made up 85 percent of crude processed at U.S. plants in January, the most since March 1986, according to U.S. Energy Department data. ... Read more... 

Petrochem, port improvements drive surge in industrial real estate

Houston Business Journal

April 1, 2015

A flurry of expansion activity is taking place at the port to accommodate the billions of dollars' worth of petrochemical facilities currently under construction, and a panel of industrial real estate experts weighed in on what that means for Houston's industrial market. ... Curtis Spencer, president of IMS Worldwide Inc., a consulting firm with expertise on foreign trade zones and industrial real estate, told the crowd that the logistics involved in manufacturing, storing, packing and exporting plastic resin, which is what these petrochemical plants are made to do, require a vast amount of industrial space. ... Read more... 

AFPM Sparking Students’ Interest In Math

Washington, DC

March 31, 2015

When it’s time for a math lesson, Sarah Richardson’s kindergarten class sits in a group, with one hand on their heads, counting on the other hand in front of them. ... After a tough math lesson, the students sit down to enjoy a new story.  She begins to read a book about a builder named Jack who uses different numbers of blocks to build robots, a hot dog stand and the tallest building in the world.  .... Sarah’s students aren’t just enjoying a new story. As she reads, the students begin to use the skills they just learned to solve the problems in the book. ... First Book was able to bring this collection of books to the First Book Marketplace thanks to the support of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM.) ... Read more... 


San Antonio, TX

March 30, 2015 

Women are approximately 25% of the petrochemical manufacturing workforce, yet networking opportunities specific to women remain limited. Last year, AFPM took the lead to change that situation. At the 2014 International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), thanks to BASF’s conceptualization, we held the first ever “Women in Petrochemicals” reception. The event proved so popular that attendees requested it be an ongoing initiative – as a result, we held the second annual reception on March 30 at our 2015 IPC, which attracted over 175 attendees to the reception from across the country. In addition, AFPM is continuing the conversation 365 days a year and networking online through our Women in Petrochemicals LinkedIn Group, which allows us to use social media to connect with members across the globe. Connect with us on LinkedIn and learn more about workforce development opportunities! 

U.S. oil production growth in 2014 was largest in more than 100 years

Washington, DC

March 30, 2015

U.S. crude oil production (including lease condensate) increased during 2014 by 1.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) to 8.7 million bbl/d, the largest volume increase since recordkeeping began in 1900. On a percentage basis, output in 2014 increased by 16.2%, the highest growth rate since 1940. Most of the increase during 2014 came from tight oil plays in North Dakota, Texas, and New Mexico where hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling were used to produce oil from shale formations. ... Read more... 

Sasol breaks ground on $8 billion phase of petrochemical complex near Lake Charles

The Times-Picayune

March 27, 2015

Officials with the state and Sasol Ltd. gathered Friday (March 27) to break ground on the first phase of the company's $8 billion petrochemical complex outside Lake Charles. ... The initial phase includes a new ethane cracker and six chemical manufacturing plants to be built near Sasol's existing facilities in Westlake. ... The cracker complex is expected to create 500 full-time jobs. Construction will employ 5,000 workers over the next several years. ... Read more... 

Heart patch fashioned from stem cells and polymers holds promise 

March 24, 2015 

Technology developed at The University of Akron for re-growing the cardiac muscle tissue that dies as the result of a heart attack is ready for testing in laboratory rodents. ... The lab dishes are lined with a temperature-sensitive polymer that rapidly expands when the temperature is lowered. The expansion separates the cell sheets from their dishes, lifting them up for easy harvesting. This separation technique avoids using a solution to strip away the cells' glue-like secretions. Preserving the "glue" helps the patch stick to the heart without suturing, sparing the muscle more trauma. ... Read more... 

Western Refining Participates in American Heart Association’s Heart Walk 

Tempe, AZ

March 21, 2015

Western Refining sponsored the  American Heart Association – My Heart. My Life Heart Walk on March 21. Company employees raised more than $2,000 to fight heart disease! Check out photos from the event on Western Refining's Facebook page.

Western Refining Sponsors Tour de Cure Bicycle Ride

Phoenix, AZ

March 21, 2015

Western Refining was a sponsor of the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure bike ride in Phoenix on March 21. Its employee team raised nearly $2,600 to fight diabetes! Explore Western Refining's Facebook page to learn more. 

Hydrocracker installed at Calumet Montana Refinery in Great Falls


March 20, 2015

Installation of a "mild hydrocracker" was completed at the Calumet Montana Refinery in Great Falls on Friday.

It's part of a $400 million dollar expansion project, which is expected to double the production capacity of the refinery from 10,000 to 25,000 barrels per day. ... Read more... 

Chemical company gives Vidalia students hands-on science lessons


March 17, 2014

Tuesday, Chemical Company BASF gave students at Vidalia Junior High School a chance to become scientists for a day during BASF Kids’ Lab.

With the help of 20 employee volunteers from BASF's sites in Vidalia, Geismar and Zachary, 300 students in grades 6th – 8th explored chemistry through safe and engaging hands-on experiments and learned the many ways that chemistry is part of daily life. ... Read more... 

Polymers designed for protection

Space Daily

March 16, 2015

Today's soldiers rely on polymers as part of their protective systems. Polymers are molecular chains that can vary from a few linked monomers to millions of chemical units. With highly tunable properties and versatile processing they have become ubiquitous in use.

In the defense community polymer fibers are particularly well known, especially polyamide fibers such as Kevlar and Nomex and polyethylene fibers such as Dyneema and Spectra. By combining good ballistic protection with a minimal weight penalty these materials have become commonplace in Soldier protection systems. ... Read more... 

Oil production in Colorado and North America is changing the balance of power worldwide

Denver Business Journal

March 14, 2015

The boom in oil and natural gas production in North America, largely due to the new technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is changing the balance of power across the world, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told attendees at the Vail Global Energy Forum. ... 

New U.S. production that can now be unlocked from reserves that geologists have long known held oil and natural gas means there's more energy available to the world, and in turn has dropped prices on the global market, she said. ... Read more...

Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really): Saturday Essay

The Wall Street Journal 

March 13, 2015

The environmental movement has advanced three arguments in recent years for giving up fossil fuels: (1) that we will soon run out of them anyway; (2) that alternative sources of energy will price them out of the marketplace; and (3) that we cannot afford the climate consequences of burning them.

These days, not one of the three arguments is looking very healthy. In fact, a more realistic assessment of our energy and environmental situation suggests that, for decades to come, we will continue to rely overwhelmingly on the fossil fuels that have contributed so dramatically to the world’s prosperity and progress. ... Read more... 

Calumet Montana Refining forum updates Great Falls expansion project

March 12, 2015 

Calumet Montana Refining of Great Falls has hit the half-way point of its expansion project. 

On Wednesday night, the company held a public forum at North Middle School to provide an update on the project. 

Dozens of people turned out to get information and learn more at the various tables set up at the school. 

The refinery is in the middle of a $400 million dollar expansion project, which is expected to double the production capacity from 10,000 to 25,000 barrels per day. ... Read more... 

Methanex brings quality jobs to Louisiana

Shale Plays Media
March 12, 2015

While much of the nation is experiencing industry-wide slowdown, Louisiana’s petrochemical sector is proving a boon to job growth, and it’s even managing to bring some jobs back from foreign outsourcing.

Methanex Corp, a Canada-based methanol powerhouse, has methanol plants across the globe, but the company recently dismantled two facilities in Chile and moved them to North America. ... Read more... 

Energy workforce training company expands to Houston

Houston Business Journal
March 11, 2015

A new workforce training company geared toward oil and gas refineries has expanded its program to the Houston and Gulf Coast market.

Carson, California-based Occupational Safety Councils of America, or OSCA, is the lone safety council on the West Coast, said Jason Vogel, director of workforce development and occupational safety for OSCA. ... Read more...

Opinion: Pipelines are good for growing Ohio's economy

March 11, 2015

Gaining ready access to domestic fuel and natural gas requires a robust modern energy infrastructure capable of accommodating expanding supply and demand. The Rover Pipeline, which is a project poised to move through Ohio, is an example of the type of infrastructure activity that will help us to grow our economy in Ohio. ... Read more... 

Why Chevron Is Helping Fund STEM Education


February 23, 2015

From a TIME column by analyst Tim Bajarin: "... Like many people, I believe the U.S. education system needs to do more to get kids interested in math and science, as technology sits at the heart of new job creation and is impacting our lives in ways none of us could have imagined 50 years ago. ... At the beginning of the new school year last fall, I visited a unique STEM program that the San Francisco 49ers, with help from Chevron, created in their new stadium in Santa Clara, California.  ... Chevron’s backing of various STEM programs around the world comes from over 100 years of early workforce development commitment. ... Chevron will spend $30 million in STEM-related programs in 2015 and has another $130 committed to STEM and other educational projects over the next three years. ... Read more...