Last updateFri, 19 Jan 2018 7pm


Shale Gas Leading to Billions in Chemical Investments

After years of high and volatile natural gas prices, new domestic supplies of more affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) have created a competitive advantage for U.S. chemical manufacturers, leading to greater investment, industry growth and new jobs. Companies from around the world are investing in new projects to build or expand their shale-advantaged capacity in the U.S. As of July 2017, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is tracking 310 projects cumulatively valued at $185 billion in capital investment, with 52% completed or under construction and 48% in the planning phase. Much of the investment is geared toward export markets for chemistry and plastics products, which can improve the nation’s trade balance. Fully 62% of the announced investment is by firms based outside the U.S. 

Oil Demand May Peak in the Near Future

Demand for oil in developed countries will revert to structural decline by 2020, wiping out about four million barrels per day by 2035. In contrast, developing economies will increase their demand for oil by nearly 16 million barrels per day by 2035.

While transport demand will flat-line around 2030, Wood Mackenzie forecasts continued growth in overall global oil demand, supported by the petrochemical sector. Nonetheless, the prospect of peak oil demand is very real. The industry needs to start planning now if it is to be prepared for what lies ahead. 

Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipelines Receive Approval

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has greenlit both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural-gas pipelines, which would both start in West Virginia, “carrying gas from the Appalachian basin to U.S. markets,” the Associated Press reports.

“The $3.5 billion, 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline would run south from northern West Virginia through the center of the state, cross into Virginia west of Roanoke and then cut southeast to a point north of Danville.

“The 600-mile, approximately $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline would start in north-central West Virginia, cross Virginia and bend through eastern North Carolina.” 

Gulf Coast Refiners, Producers Plan Re-Openings after Nate

“Some oil ports, producers and refiners in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that shut facilities ahead of Hurricane Nate were planning re-openings as the storm moved inland on Sunday, away from most energy infrastructure on the U.S. Gulf Coast,” Reuters reports.

“Oil producers Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell began on Sunday to redeploy personnel, assess facilities and restore oil output in the Gulf of Mexico, including platforms, pipelines and terminals shut ahead of Nate, the companies said in statements.” 

Bill Would Streamline Natural Gas Pipeline Approval Process

U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Angus King (I-ME) announced the introduction of the bipartisan Coordinating Interagency Review of Natural Gas Infrastructure Act of 2017. This legislation seeks to streamline the permitting process for interstate projects at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

“For too long, the natural gas pipeline permitting process has been crippled with inefficiencies that unnecessarily delay critical projects for interstate commerce,” said Inhofe. “By streamlining the permitting process, we can get pipelines from planning to serving the public faster and more efficiently. This bill brings all federal, state and local regulatory agencies to the table early on to coordinate participation—resulting in a more collaborative and timely review process.” 

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