05242017Wed
Last updateTue, 23 May 2017 4pm

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ExxonMobil, SABIC Agree on Proposed Petrochemical Project

Affiliates of Exxon Mobil and SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) signed an agreement to conduct a detailed study of the proposed Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project in Texas and begin planning for front-end engineering and design work. The agreement was signed during the Saudi-US CEO Forum in Riyadh.

In April 2017, ExxonMobil and SABIC selected a site in San Patricio County, TX, for the proposed petrochemical complex that would include an ethane steam cracker capable of producing 1.8 million tons of ethylene per year, a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units. The project is one of 11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects associated with ExxonMobil’s Growing the Gulf initiative in the U.S. that have been made possible by the abundance of low-cost U.S. natural gas. 


Report Shows Potential for Appalachian Petrochemical Industry

An economic report released by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) shows that the Appalachian region could become a second center of U.S. petrochemical and plastic resin manufacturing, similar to the Gulf Coast.

ACC's report presents a hypothetical scenario that includes the development of a storage hub for natural gas liquids (NGLs) and chemicals (e.g., ethylene, propylene), 500-mile pipeline distribution network and associated petrochemical, plastics and potentially other energy infrastructure and manufacturing in a quad-state area consisting of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. The analysis projects a $32.4 billion investment in petrochemicals and derivatives and a $3.4 billion investment in plastic products, put toward the construction of five ethane crackers and two propane dehydrogenation facilities. 

Nuclear Industry Turning to State Governments for Aid

“Just like coal companies, America's nuclear power industry is having a tough time. It faces slowing demand for electricity, and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables. And now, touting itself as a form of clean energy, the nuclear industry is lobbying state legislatures with a controversial pitch for help,” NPR reports.

The states of New York and Illinois “recently agreed to give billions in subsidies to the nuclear industry by essentially broadening the definition of clean power.” 

Pulp & Paper Waste Could Lead to New Manufacturing Industry

About 50 million tons of lignin -- or structural part of a plant -- piles up each year as waste from the U.S. pulp & paper industry. Additional lignin could come from biorefineries that use plants to produce ethanol, yielding another 100 million to 200 million tons of lignin waste each year. Yet only about 2% of the lignin waste is currently recycled into new products, according to Dr. Joshua Yuan, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

"Lignin is considered as one of the most abundant biopolymers in the world," he said. "All this waste accumulates, and it will be great to use it for something." 

Mining Companies Increasingly Using Renewable Power

Some of the world's largest mining companies "are seeking to use more renewable energy themselves as they strive to drive down costs and curb emissions,” Reuters reports.

Miners “say that coal still can be the cheapest, most reliable baseload power depending on circumstances, but the sector has been turning to renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, in the kind of inaccessible regions where mines are found and supplies from the grid can be unreliable.” 

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