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USDA Providing $352 Million to Upgrade Rural Water Infrastructure

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing more than $352 million in loans and grants to upgrade rural water and wastewater systems nationwide and make infrastructure improvements.

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $11 billion in new and improved water and wastewater infrastructure that has benefited nearly 15 million rural residents and almost 6 million households and businesses.

USDA is providing $175 million in loans and $165 million in grants through the Water and Environmental Program. This is part of more than $1.5 billion USDA invested in rural water and wastewater projects during the 2014 Fiscal Year, which ended September 30. 

Pipeline Project Denied, Citing Lack of Shut-Off Valves

The Canada National Energy Board rejected a proposal from Enbridge Pipelines of Calgary for an oil pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta and the U.S. Bakken region to refineries in Quebec and eastern Canada.

“The energy board decided that the Enbridge proposal did not include enough shutoff valves on each side of all major waterways that Line 9B crosses to limit the damage of accidental oil spills. The proposal that was rejected included shutoff valves within 1 kilometer (1,093.6 yards) at only six of 104 waterways crossed by the pipeline,” The Watertown Daily Times reports.

“In its Oct. 6 letter to Enbridge explaining why the project was denied, the energy board said Enbridge did not explain why there are not an adequate number of shutoff valves.” 

Global Petrochemical Prices Fell 3% in September

Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market continued to fall in September, following the drop in upstream energy prices, according to the just-released monthly Platts Global Petrochemical Index (PGPI). The September PGPI was down $43, or 3%, from August to $1,384 per metric ton. On a year-over-year basis, petrochemical prices edged down less than 1% from September 2013.

"There were two factors contributing to lower prices in the petrochemical markets this past month," said Jim Foster, Platts editorial director of petrochemical analytics. "First, both crude oil and naphtha prices have been falling. This has reduced the cost of making petrochemical products. Second, the prices of petrochemical products have climbed too high for buyers, resulting in a fall in demand and slower sales." 

Multi-Billion Dollar Petrochemical Plant Planned for ND

Gov. Jack Dalrymple along with William Jeffrey Gilliam, CEO of Badlands NGL, LLC, have announced the development of a North Dakota manufacturing plant that will convert ethane into polyethylene. Badlands NGL, LLC, and its partners expect to invest $4 billion to build the polyethylene manufacturing facility. The project will be the largest private investment in state history.

The value-added manufacturing plant will tap into North Dakota’s supply of liquid natural gas to source ethane. The facility will convert ethane gas to low density and high-density plastics, which are used to make a wide range of products for consumers and industry. The facility will be able to produce 1.5 million metric tons of polyethylene, or 3.3 billion pounds annually. The project will take at least three years for full development. 

Economic Impact of Permian Basin Felt in TX, NM

The Permian Basin Petroleum Association commissioned a report from Texas Tech, “Economic Impact of the Permian Basin’s Oil and Gas Industry” which shows the region (comprised of West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico) is now one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world with an economic impact felt across the country.

In Texas alone, the Permian Basin is estimated to produce and sustain more than 444,000 jobs with $113.6 billion in economic output, and contribute more than $60.2 billion in gross state product for the state. For New Mexico, the Permian Basin is estimated to produce and sustain more than 94,000 jobs with $22.7 billion in economic output and more than $10.2 billion contributed to the gross state product.

Much of the growth of the rig count can be attributed to wells that are being drilled horizontally, which includes the increasingly popular multi-state hydraulic fracturing. According to the report, since Dec. 27, 2013, the number of horizontal, oil-directed rigs in the Permian Basin rose by 63%, which accounts for half of the total increase in those types of rigs in the U.S. 

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