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Chexpress - July 30, 2013

North America

FEED contract

Fluor Corporation has secured a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for Sasols world-scale ethane cracker and associated derivative chemicals facility at is Lake Charles Chemical Complex in Louisiana. FEED work is underway and is expected to be completed in late 2013. The new ethane cracker and associated facilities will allow Sasol to expand its differentiated derivatives business in the United States. Project start up and completion is forecasted in 2017 with the expected production of 1.5 million tons/year of ethylene with downstream derivative plants.

R&D center

Bayer CropScience will move its U.S-based research and development operations for vegetable seed and crop-protection products from Davis, California into an existing 164,000-square-foot facility in West Sacramento, California. The move is scheduled to happen in next years first quarter.

Isobutanol-blended gasoline

Gevo, Inc. has begun supplying the U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center with initial quantities of finished 16.1 percent renewable isobutanol-blended gasoline for engine testing. The U.S. Coast Guard R&D Center is using the Gevo-blended fuel as part of a 12-month, long-term operational study on marine engines that begin in June. The testing is being performed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement among the U.S. Coast Guard, Honda, and Mercury. The testing is focused on two of the Coast Guards platform boats 38-foot Special Purpose Craft-Training Boat and 25-foot Response Boat Small. Isobutanol is a biofuel that compared to ethanol, has higher energy density, lower RVP, and does not present the phase separation issues seen with ethanol. Testing will take place at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia.



QualiChem has completed a major expansion of its headquarters, laboratory and manufacturing facilities. The companys Salem, Virginia facility is now 70 percent larger, with 35 percent more space for quality control, R&D laboratories and manufacturing, plus 50 percent more floor space for raw material and finished goods. The shipping and receiving area has increased by 233 percent and the company has added a 45-seat training and conference center.



Safety Milestone

Qatargas Laffan Refinery Companys Diesel Hydrotreater (DHT) project completed two million-man hours without any Lost Time Injuries. The DHT Unit is designed to produce diesel with less than 10 parts per million sulphur content with the Euro 5 environmental specification and will be built and integrated into the existing Laffan Refinery by 2014. The Unit will process 54,000 barrels/stream day of straight run Light Gas Oil feedstock from the existing Laffan Refinery 1 and the second planned refinery.


FMC Corporation has moved into the Omega-3 market with the $345 million acquisition of Epax. The senior management team at Epax will remain with the business. As part of the deal, FMC has entered into a long-term supply agreement with Trygg Pharma to provide Trygg with high-concentration Omega-3 fish oil for use as an active pharmaceutical ingredient.


The first phase of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Cos 280 kilometer Muscat-Sohar pipeline project is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2014. The project is expected to cost between $200 250 million. The first phase will include the construction of a pipeline between Mina al Fahal refinery and Muscat airport. Phase two of the project is currently in the engineering phase and will involve the construction of a pipeline between Mina al Fahal refinery and Sohar Refinery as well as an intermediate storage facility. The company hopes to commission the second phase by 2016.

Shale oil deal

YPF has persuaded Chevron Corp. to sign a long-sought deal to invest $1.24 billion in developing Argentinas shale oil deposits. The joint venture adds up to $1.5 billion overall. The YPF-Chevron venture will start with a $300 million pilot hydraulic fracturing project involving more than 100 wells in an area known as the Enrique Mosconi Cluster.  


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