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EIA: U.S. Oil Exports Reducing Trade Deficit

Crude oil and petroleum products play a significant role in the balance of U.S. trade accounts, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the value of petroleum trade is sensitive to both changes in price and volume.

As a result of the last recession, dramatic declines of imports in excess of exports during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 reduced the merchandise trade deficit by 49%, to $449 billion in the second quarter of 2009. This trend of declining imports resulted in the lowest quarterly deficit level since early 2002. The merchandise trade deficit then increased to $686 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, with much of the difference from the 2008 level ($131 billion) attributable to a $158 billion increase in net exports of crude oil and petroleum products. 

Chinese Chemical Company Investing $1.85 Billion in Louisiana Methanol Project

Yuhuang Chemical Inc., a subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd., will make a $1.85 billion capital investment in a world-scale methanol manufacturing complex on the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, LA. Shandong Yuhuang Chemical recorded more than $4 billion in 2013 sales and employs more than 5,600 people worldwide.

The newly formed Yuhuang Chemical subsidiary will make its first major U.S. investment in Louisiana, where it has secured an option to purchase more than 1,100 acres for a three-phase project next to the Plains All-American Pipeline terminal. After the first methanol plant is completed, the company will build a second methanol plant and reach an annual capacity of 3 million metric tons per annum of methanol. A third phase will include a methanol derivatives plant that will produce intermediate chemicals. Most of the project’s methanol will be exported by oceangoing vessels for use in the parent company’s production of downstream chemicals in China, with approximately 20-30% of the methanol to be shipped by barge and rail and sold to North American customers. 

South Carolina Nuclear Plant Offline After Leaky Valve Discovered

The Virgil C. Summer nuclear station near Columbia, SC went offline on July 13 after water was discovered leaking from a pressurized safety valve. The decision came from South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and not the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) since the amount of water leaking didn’t meet NRC shutdown standards. The reactor will be shut down for at least two weeks while repairs are made and the valve is replaced.

“This is part of the water that would cool the (reactor) core and be circulated through the core,” said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah. “If you had a really large leak of water, then you could potentially lose that ability over time. But we are talking about a very small percentage of water.” 

Upton: Oil Export Ban Will Not be Lifted in 2014

Some have speculated that Washington will eventually lift the 1975 ban on exporting crude oil, but “that won’t happen this year,” House energy and commerce committee chair Fred Upton (R-MI) told attendees of the 2014 EIA Energy Conference.

“Lifting the prohibition on exports would help alleviate a glut of oil building up along the U.S. coasts as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling help producers pull record volumes of crude out of shale formations across the middle of the country,” Bloomberg reports. “The boom has propelled domestic output to the highest level since 1986 and earlier this year sent stockpiles of the feedstock to a record on the Gulf Coast” 

FERC Approves Cameron LNG Liquefaction-Export Project

Cameron LNG, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to site, construct and operate a natural gas liquefaction and export facility at the site of the company's LNG receipt terminal in Hackberry, LA.

The FERC permit is one of the last major regulatory approvals required to start construction on the natural gas liquefaction facility.

The authorization approves the development of the three-train liquefaction facility that will provide an export capability of 12 million tons per annum of LNG, or approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet per day.

FERC also authorized a subsidiary of Sempra Energy to construct a 21-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline expansion of the Cameron Interstate Pipeline, new compressor station and ancillary equipment that will provide natural gas transportation for the liquefaction facilities. Construction will begin later this year.


Valve Magazine Digital Edition

14 SUM CVR 160x214Inside the Summer 2014 issue…

• Attracting Talent
• Advances in Machining
• Severe Service in Power Plants
• SIS Tests and Standards


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