Last updateFri, 18 Aug 2017 1pm


LyondellBasell to Build the World's Largest PO/TBA Plant

LyondellBasell has made the final investment decision to build the world's largest propylene oxide (PO) and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) plant in the Houston area. The project is estimated to cost approximately $2.4 billion, representing the single-largest capital investment in the company's history. Once in operation, the plant will produce an anticipated 1 billion pounds (470,000 metric tons) of PO and 2.2 billion pounds (1 million metric tons) of TBA annually.

The proposed location for the PO/TBA plant is the LyondellBasell Channelview Complex located in Channelview, TX. The associated ethers unit, which will convert TBA to oxyfuels, is proposed for the company's Bayport Complex near Pasadena, TX. 

EPA Selects Projects for Water Infrastructure Loans

The EPA is inviting 12 projects in nine states to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. These potential applicants were selected from a group of projects that represent large and small communities from across the U.S. that submitted letters of interest to EPA in April 2017.

In FY2017, the WIFIA program received $25 million in funding, including an additional $8 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. This year’s projects will also leverage more than $1 billion in private capital and other funding sources including EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans, to help finance a total of $5.1 billion in water infrastructure investments. The selected projects demonstrate the broad range of project types that the WIFIA program can finance including wastewater, drinking water, stormwater and water recycling projects. 

U.S. Shale Oil Production Growth to Slow in 2018

In its newly released North America Watch, ESAI Energy projects that by the end of 2017, U.S. shale oil production will hit 5.6 million b/d, over 1 million b/d higher than at the end of 2016. But the pace of growth will slow in 2018 as current oil prices below $50 per barrel are likely to put a check on the momentum of rig additions.

Although U.S. shale producers are better equipped to operate profitably with low prices than a year ago, most require an oil price in the upper $40s to break-even. Growth will be challenging for many producers until prices remain north of $50 per barrel. ESAI Energy estimates that the most active basins will see cost inflation of roughly 15 to 20% in 2017, and notes that the impressive productivity gains of 2015 and 2016 are starting to show signs of leveling off. 

ExxonMobil, Wisconsin-Madison Advance Research into Fuel from Biomass

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and ExxonMobil have announced a two-year renewal of an agreement to research the fundamental chemistry of converting biomass into transportation fuels. The research is part of a broad effort to identify scalable and commercially viable solutions to help meet increasing global energy demand with a renewable resource. Over the past two years, research has focused on a multistep approach for converting cellulosic biomass to transportation fuels.

A new approach with the potential to reduce the number of processing steps will be explored in this collaboration. This approach using solvents could potentially dissolve the entire biomass, which might make it possible to convert the whole biomass into fuel-sized molecules in a single reactor. Another potential process that will be studied in this collaboration involves the catalytic transformation of bio-derived ethanol into bio-derived diesel and jet fuel. 

Oil and Natural Gas Drilling Sees 62% Increase

The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimates total wells drilled and completed in the second quarter of 2017 increased 62% compared to the second quarter of 2016. This includes a 41% increase in estimated development gas well completions and a dramatic 81% increase in total estimated oil well completions from year-ago levels. Total estimated oil well completions also increased 19% from the first quarter of 2017. Growing well completion figures could lead to an increase in U.S. oil production, which rose 62% from 2010 to 2016, and U.S. natural gas production which, also increased 26% during the same time. http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/API-Reports-62-Jump-In-Oil-Gas-Drilling-In-Q2.html  

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