Last updateThu, 18 Oct 2018 4pm


U.S. Pushes for Cyber Collaboration After Energy Intrusion

According to Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, hacking attacks are mounting against U.S. energy companies.

Electronic sensors and other monitoring devices are an integral part of tracking data from oil and gas wells and pipelines. Complex computer algorithms are constantly adjusting the flows of everything from oil and natural gas to electrical power, with automatic valves in place that can shut down flow at a moment's notice. However, these are vulnerable to electronic sabotage, as was evidenced by an attack against 5 energy companies in March, 2018.

This and other cyberattacks led this past week to Nielsen’s announcement that guarding the sector will be a top priority for a new cybersecurity effort including a "major" cybersecurity exercise to be held later this year. 

Second Quarter Saw Increase in Oil and Gas M&A Deals

During the second quarter of 2018, commodity prices achieved levels not seen in years, according to a quarterly report from PwC. Total deal value for the second quarter was the highest second quarter deal value in history, driving average deal value for the second quarter of 2018 to new record highs. The downstream segment had one of the best quarters in history, generating $35.03 billion in deal value, including the largest transaction of 2018. 

Atlantic Shore Pipeline Cleared for Construction

The $6 billion+ Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline “from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina remained on track to enter service in late 2019 after federal regulators approved the start of construction for the project in North Carolina,” Reuters  reports.

“The 600-mile (966-km) Atlantic Coast project is designed to carry about 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to customers in Virginia and North Carolina.” 

Chemicals Spur U.S. Commercial, Industrial Activity

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) rose 0.1% in July on a three-month moving average basis, improving upon June and May performances which were essentially flat. The barometer is up 3.9% year-over-year, a slower pace than of that earlier in the year. The unadjusted CAB also increased, notching a 0.2% gain, up from a 0.1% gain in June. July readings indicate a continued expansion of U.S. commercial and industrial activity well into the first quarter 2019.

All four broad categories remained strong. Production-related indicators in July were mixed as trends in construction-related pigments and related performance chemistry were slightly positive. 

Shintech Announces $1.49 Billion Expansion in Louisiana

Shintech Louisiana LLC will invest $1.49 billion to develop a new chlor alkali and vinyl chloride monomer production facility and to expand an existing polyvinyl chloride manufacturing facility in Plaquemine, LA. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd., the world’s largest PVC producer. The expansion is expected to be completed in late 2020 and operational in early 2021.

When this new project is in place, Shintech will have invested $6 billion to deliver the largest integrated complex in the U.S. for producing PVC, vinyl chloride monomer and chlor alkali. 

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