An abundance of petroleum in the U.S. has prompted many companies in Houston’s petrochemical sector to work on projects expanding capacity, something that — in the case of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) petrochemical arm — will bring about 45,000 new jobs to the Gulf Coast in the next several years.But at about the same time, the existing workforce has been aging, and there aren’t as many young skilled laborers entering the industry to take their place. So in 2013, the Irving, Texas-based company funded the Community College Petrochemical Initiative, which granted scholarships to Houston-area community colleges in order to draw new talent to the industry.
Source: Exxon Mobil chemical exec: ‘We’re hiring at record levels today’ on Gulf Coast – Houston Business Journal
The first of several new petrochemical plants coming online this year became operational this week when Houston-based Occidental Petroleum opened its new facility near Corpus Christi.The $1.5 billion ethylene plant in Ingleside is a joint venture between Occidental’s OxyChem subsidiary and Mexico-based Mexichem. The facility, called an ethylene cracker, takes ethane from natural gas production and converts it into ethylene, which is the primary building block for most plastics.The project is the smallest and first of several Texas Gulf Coast ethylene crackers being completed this year. Others are under construction in the Houston area by Exxon Mobil, Chevron Phillips Chemical and Dow Chemical.The plant will churn out 1.2 billion pounds of ethylene a year that Occidental will turn into vinyl chloride mononers, which Mexichem will then convert into polyvinyl chloride to make PVC piping.
Source: Occidental’s massive petrochemical plant comes online in Texas | Fuel Fix
A small town near Corpus Christi is pushing back against plans to build a petrochemical plant near the city.Portland city officials have opposed the construction of an ethylene plant by Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. due to safety issues, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Both companies have ties to the Houston area — SABIC recently relocated its its regional headquarters for the Americas to the Bayou City and Exxon Mobil has a massive campus in north Houston.
Source: Exxon-Saudi petrochem plant eyes area near Corpus Christi – Houston Business Journal
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co., two historic giants of U.S. industry, will merge in a deal that’s the first step in a plan to create three new highly-focused businesses. The merger, the largest ever in the chemicals industry, will combine products from both Dow and DuPont in the areas of agriculture, commodities chemicals and specialty chemicals to create the new businesses. It comes after two years of pressure from activist investors who argued that shareholders of both companies would realize greater value if they were broken up.
Source: DuPont, Dow Chemical to Combine in Merger of Equals – Bloomberg Business
The Texas petrochemical industry is booming. Houston is doing excellent business, but the same is true of nearby Port Arthur, a growing city with a reputation for supporting and welcoming investorsThanks to the strong petrochemical industry in the US, many businesses are flocking to those states that have seen the most activity in oil and gas. In particular, Texas is leading the way, with major oil and gas hubs in Houston. However, a short trip east along the coast will find a burgeoning port city set to rival its bigger neighbour.Port Arthur has steadily grown over the last decade, welcoming international businesses that cater for the petrochemical industry. With a first-class infrastructure and education system, Port Arthur is attracting considerable interest worldwide. The Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation was formed to oversee this growth. European CEO caught up with the group’s CEO, Floyd Batiste, to find out why this city is proving to be so attractive to businesses.
via Port Arthur attracts top business from the petrochemical industry | European CEO.
The Gulf Coast energy boom continues to drive a hot job market, and companies such as Fluor Corp. are positioned to design and build many of the new projects in the region. Fluor is a complete solutions provider offering engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction services EPFC.A growing resumeDan Spinks, Fluor’s Houston operations vice president and general manager, said, “Our Houston office is currently executing several large projects and we have many good prospects. We look forward to continued growth and are ready to ramp up to meet our clients’ needs and expectations.”In October, Fluor, in a joint venture, announced a new contract to provide engineering, procurement and construction services to Sasol for their petrochemical complex near Lake Charles, Louisiana.This new project will provide significant opportunities for both technical and skilled craft workers. To support this new project, Fluor is hiring construction workers in the Louisiana region, as well as professional engineers and support staff in the company’s Houston office. Fluor also is responsible for significant petrochemical projects in Texas. As part of a joint venture, the company is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for a new ethane cracker for Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. in Baytown. Additional workers are needed in the Baytown area to support the project ramp-up, with an expected peak of 3,500 craft workers hired by fall 2015.In addition, Fluor is designing and building a new expansion to Dow’s Oyster Creek complex in Freeport. The project expects to peak at 3,000 in late 2014.Other refinery projects in Texas, Louisiana and Indiana also constitute Fluor’s deep portfolio of projects in the U.S.Germany-based BASF has chosen Fluor as its engineering partner for chemicals capital projects across North America, and a number of BASF projects are under way along the Gulf Coast.
via Employer Profile: Fluor – Energy boom means job growth – Houston Chronicle.
A sense of urgency, concern and optimism flowed through the 34th annual meeting of the Latin American Petrochemical Association APLA in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Increased competition from US shale gas-based petrochemical and polymers production is only expected to intensify in the years ahead as new capacities come online with a bull’s-eye on Latin American markets.But the first major project in the Americas to start up in the olefins space will be Mexico’s Ethylene XXI by Braskem Idesa, comprising a 1.05m tonne/year cracker and polyethylene PE units set to commence commercial operations near the fourth quarter of 2015.Ethylene XXI was hailed as the “most important project in Mexico in 40 years”, according to Jordy Herrera Flores, the former energy secretary of Mexico.And Mexico’s energy reforms, the positive implications for increased hydrocarbon production and resulting boom in feedstocks for the petrochemical sector provided fuel for optimism throughout the meeting.Indeed, just about every new petrochemical project divulged at the APLA meeting is taking place in Mexico. This includes Alpek’s planned on-purpose propylene plant of 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes/year, using either propane dehydrogenation PDH or methane-to-propylene MTP technology – both based on local natural gas.Alpek is also planning a 750,000 tonne/year ethylene glycol EG project in Mexico, while Pemex plans to expand its ethylene oxide EO/EG facility by 80,000 tonnes/year and build a new 500,000 tonne/year paraxylene project in the country.Meanwhile, Mexico’s Idesa is aiming to more than double ethanolamines production by 50,000 tonnes/year at Coatzacoalcos.
via Commentary: Sense of urgency strikes Latin America petrochemical industry at APLA.
Houston is among the top cities in the country with the most industrial construction underway, thanks mostly to the booming energy industry. And there’s more to come.There are currently 45 spec and build-to-suit industrial buildings totaling 5.2 million square feet under construction in Houston. Only Atlanta; Chicago; Baltimore; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Indianapolis; Southern California; and Philadelphia are building more this year, according to Graham Hildebrand, JLL research manager.
via Port of Houston spurs industrial construction – Houston Business Journal.
The shale gas boom in the US is prompting global petrochemical majors to rush to the country for setting manufacturing units. The latest to join the list is LyondellBasell, which has announced its plans to build a state-of-the-art PO/TBA plant on the US Gulf Coast with an annual capacity of 900 million pounds of propylene oxide PO and 2 billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol TBA and its derivatives. The preliminary timetable is to have the plant operational in 2019. The project is expected to generate up to 1,200 construction jobs at its peak. The plant is expected to sell propylene oxide in the global marketplace to meet growing demand for polyurethanes, which are used primarily for the manufacture of bedding, furniture, carpets and car seats. Tertiary butyl alcohol and its derivatives will be sold to meet the need for high octane gasoline blending components as well as for use in manufacturing synthetic rubber and lubricant additives.
via Shale gas boom prods LyondellBasell to invest in PO/TBA plant in USA | Business Standard News.
The Texas petrochemical industry is in the midst of its biggest expansion in decades. That’s thanks largely to the availability of cheap natural gas, used both for fuel and as a raw material. It’s hardly the first time the region has seen this scenario.Barbara Shook is senior reporter-at-large for Energy Intelligence Group. She spends much of her time these days covering the construction boom in the petrochemical industry. Last week, she was on hand at a ceremony at ExxonMobil Chemical’s Baytown plant, where a multi-billion dollar expansion is already under way.
via Echoes Of The Past In Today’s Petrochemical Building Boom | StateImpact Texas.