Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline unveiled
Air Products recently completed its 600-mile Gulf Coast Connection Pipeline (GCCP) project and also started up operations at a dynamic customer service center.
The pipeline stretches from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. In August, it began supplying over 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day to refinery and petrochemical customers. Air Products had operated two hydrogen pipeline systems in Texas and Louisiana before joining them with a new 180-mile segment.
Completion of the GCCP project required overcoming several challenges. These included:
Securing 1,085 permanent landowner right-of-ways and over 300 temporary agreements
Obtaining numerous environmental permits and hundreds of non-environmental permits
Maneuvering the pipeline through three US Army Corps of Engineers flood-protection levees within the Atchafalaya Basin swamp
Installing more than 24,000 pipe sections that were each 40 feet in length.
Dow Chemical plans to close 20 plants and cut 2,400 jobs as part of a global cost-cutting program over the next two years. The 2,400 layoffs amount to 5% of Dows global workforce. With the moves, Dow expects to save $500 million in annual operating costs by the end of 2014. Dow says it also plans to further reduce capital spending and investments for certain unspecified growth programs. Those measures are expected to save the company an additional $500 million in cash. Plants to be shut down include a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) facility in Tessenderlo, Belgium, and a sodium borhidrate plant in Delfzijl, The Netherlands.
Moreover, a number of performance materials manufacturing facilities will be closed, including an automotive systems diesel particulate filters manufacturing facility in the US (Midland, Michigan); formulated systems manufacturing facilities in Spain (Ribaforada), the UK (Birch Vale) and the US (Solon, Ohio); and an epoxy resins facility in Japan (Kina Ura).
Gunvor Group has signed a one-year contract with Rosneft to export approximately 6 MM tons of oil products from Russia. Gunvor won the contract to export products from Rosnefts three refineries in Russias Samara region, following a tender. Gunvor will export the products via its Ust-Luga terminal on the Baltic Sea and its 50%-owned Novorossiysk terminal on the Black Sea.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, the District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The waiver was granted by the EPA in coordination with the US Department of Energy (DOE). The EPA determined that, as a result of the effects of Hurricane Sandy, extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist, which may result in a temporary shortage of gasoline compliant with federal regulations. The federal waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of fuels in the impacted states. The waiver allows the sale and distribution of conventional gasoline in a number of eastern states that are required to use reformulated gasoline, and allows a number of additional states to mix reformulated gasoline and conventional gasoline to remove potential barriers to the supply of gasoline to the region.
The relatively recent and intense exploitation of US natural gas reserves is resulting in an increased dependence on butadiene imports, according to a report from business intelligence group GBI Research. The study predicts that the disparity between butadiene production and demand will climb in the near future as the US moves away from crude oil and naphtha to increasingly cheap natural gas. The percentage of C4 hydrocarbons required for the production of butadiene is very low in natural gas compared to crude oil or naphtha. As a result, growing demand will necessarily require a boost in imports. US butadiene demand last year stood at 1.9 MM tons, compared to the 1.6 MM tons the country produced. GBI Research predicts demand will hit 2.4 MM tons by 2020, while butadiene yield will climb at a slower rate, reaching 1.9 MM tons by the end of the decade.
Shell has awarded Fluor a five-year enterprise framework agreement for engineering and project management services for downstream and potentially upstream onshore projects in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Under the terms of the agreement, Fluor will provide design, project and construction management and site-based engineering services. Fluor is currently working on Shell projects in Malaysia, the Philippines and Canada. Fluor also provides services at Shell sites in Australia, Qatar, Russia and The Netherlands.
Air Liquide has a new licensing agreement with Petrobras in conjunction with its recently awarded contract to Foster Wheeler for a world-scale, grassroots, gas-to-chemicals complex in Linhares, Espirito Santo, Brazil. The complex is to be called Complexo Gás-Químico UFN-IV. Air Liquide is the licensor for the integrated unit, which will produce syngas, methanol, ammonia, power and steam. Air Liquide will also furnish fully integrated basic engineering design (BED) and engineering services during the execution of the front-end engineering design (FEED), along with technical assistance during the engineering, procurement and construction phase through startup of the complex. The BED/FEED phase is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013. The complex is expected to produce in excess of 1 MM tpy of ammonia and urea fertilizers, methanol, acetic acid, formic acid and melamine.
Renewable Energy Group (REG) has acquired a 15-MM gpy biorefinery located in New Boston, Texas. With the acquisition, REGs nameplate biodiesel production capacity is expected to increase to more than 225 MM gpy. REG paid $300,000 in cash and issued 900,000 shares of its common stock to North Texas Bio Energy for the multi-feedstock biorefinery, located about 22 miles west of Texarkana. It is REGs second Texas biodiesel production facility, following the 2008 acquisition of its Houston-area plant. The New Boston facility began production in June 2008 and has been idled for approximately four years. Brad Albin, REG vice president of manufacturing, said the plant will undergo some construction and minor upgrades prior to the facilitys startup, which is expected in the first quarter of 2013. HP