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U.S. Chemical Production Saw Largest Gains Since 2010

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), as measured on a three-month moving average (3 MMA) basis, the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) continued to expand, rising by 0.2% in February following a downwardly revised 0.3% gain in January. The gain in February was the eleventh consecutive monthly gain. All major chemical producing regions posted consecutive gains in February.

Compared to February 2014, total chemical production in all regions was ahead by 4.2% on a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, its largest gain since July 2010. Chemical production was up from a year ago in all regions. 

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Sees Change in Leadership Following Controversy

Following calls from members of both parties in Congress that he be replaced, President Obama accepted the resignation of U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso.

“President Obama previously nominated Vanessa Sutherland, chief counsel for the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, to succeed Moure-Eraso when his term expired in June,” Chem.Info reports. “That transition, however, will move up by three months following a slew of controversies under Moure-Eraso's watch.”

In June 2014, a final report of a joint congressional investigation revealed that CSB leadership under Chairman Moure-Eraso had engaged in a “pattern of hostility toward career staff and whistleblowers” where CSB employees “fear retaliation” if they disagree with the chairman or other members of the leadership team. Chairman Moure-Eraso has been the subject of investigations by the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and by multiple Congressional Committees. 

ExxonMobil VP: North America Remains Competitive as Chemical Producing Region

ExxonMobil sees North America's chemical feedstock and energy costs remaining among the lowest in the world, Matt Aguiar, senior vice president at ExxonMobil Chemical Company, said in a speech at the IHS World Petrochemical Conference.

“We expect North America to remain competitive with other regions as a chemical producer. And we see continued growth in jobs, growth in production and growth in U.S. chemical exports,” Aguiar said.

“Today, the production of chemicals accounts for about 15% of global oil demand and 10% of natural gas demand – and includes more than 45% of the demand for natural gas liquids,” he said.

Aguiar pointed out that U.S. output of ethane, propane and other natural gas liquids has risen by more than 65% since 2008. “American chemical producers will continue to have an abundant long-term supply of ethane and other natural gas liquids for feedstock.”

Solvay Expanding Chemical Production at Washington Plant

Solvay plans to expand its production facility in Longview, WA to meet growing demands from pulp and paper producers in the Pacific Northwest and other industrial markets around the U.S.

The investment will be in two stages. Longview construction is expected to begin later in 2015 and completion of stage one is expected in late 2016. Stage two of the expansion will take place in the near future as market conditions require.

Chevron Phillips Chemical CEO: Weak Oil Won’t Stop Petrochemical Industry

“The party is not over for the chemical industry,” Peter L. Cella, president and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical, told an audience at the IHS 30th Annual World Petrochemical Conference. “The music may not be as loud as before, but we (petrochemical industry) are still dancing.”

According to a new study from IHS, “approximately 40 world-scale ethylene crackers will be needed to meet future olefins demand over the next 10 years; that same level of growth was previously achieved over a 17-year period. All options of olefins production (steam cracker, coal-to-olefins, methanol-to-olefins, and renewables) will be needed to meet the growing demand for olefins,” Hydrocarbon Processing reports.

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