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Chexpress - January 8, 2014

North America


Ergon Inc. has purchased Bunge North America Inc’s stake in the Ergon Biofuels plant in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Ergon purchased Bunge’s share of what had been a 2007 joint venture of a 54 million gallon/year ethanol plant, the only facility that produced corn-based ethanol in the state. Financial terms were not disclosed. A company spokesperson said the transaction allows them to look at alternative feedstocks as well as how the plant may be used for other products. 


Ergon-Texas Pipeline, Inc. has acquired the Thompsons pipeline and associated assets from Blueknight Energy Partners, LP. The 42-mile pipeline originates in Thompsons, Texas and terminates in Webster, Texas. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Ethylene Cracker

Axiall has selected the state of Louisiana as the location of a possible ethylene cracker to be built in conjunction with a related derivatives plant. The company is proposing to construct the facility with a to-be-named partner. The company anticipates it will make a $1 billion capital investment for the project. Axiall is set to begin the permitting process and certain front-end engineering design activities as the next steps to select a final site for the project. If the project moves forward, commercial operation could begin in 2018.

Chlor-Alkali Plant

Westlake Chemical Corporation has started up its new chlor-alkali plant at its vinyls manufacturing complex in Geismar, Louisiana. The plant has the capacity to produce 350,000 electrochemical units (ECUs) annually and uses state-of-the-art membrane technology. The plant is adjacent to the complex’s existing vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) facilities.



Coal-to-Chemical Plant

Sinopec Engineering Group has entered into an agreement to build a $3.1 billion plant in northern China to turn coal into petrochemicals. Sinopec Engineering will be responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant. The plant would produce 3.6 million tons/year of olefins, mostly ethylene. Key facilities of the investment include a 3.6 million tons/year synthetic methanol unit, two 1.8 million tons/year methanol to olefin units and two polypropylene units. Sinopec Engineering will hand over the project to Zhong Tian He Chuang Co. Ltd., a joint venture which has Sinopec Corp. and China Coal Energy Company among its main investors, by Oct. 30, 2015.

Phosphate Project

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) has commitments from banks for financing worth up to $4.2 billion for a $7 billion phosphate project in Saudi Arabia. The project in Waad-al-Shimal is a joint venture between Ma’aden, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. and Mosaic. It is part of the Saudi state efforts to create a stronger industrial base beyond oil refining and export. The rest of the funding should come from the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) as well as some export credit agencies (ECA). The project will have a production capacity of 16 million tons/year of phosphate concentrate, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, as well as plants to produce calcium monophosphate and calcium diphosphate. Phosphate production is expected to start in late 2016.

Stake Purchased

EPH has bought E.ON’s 40 percent stake in gas storage company Nafta. SPP is Nafta’s main shareholder with a 56 percent stake. EPH also holds a 49 percent share in SPP. Nafta has natural gas storage capacity of 2.3 billion cubic meters.


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