Williams Olefins LLC has awarded CB&I a $300 million contract for expansion of ethylene production capacity in Geismer, LA (see Shale Daily, Sept. 21, 2011). The award includes the license and basic engineering for the ethylene technology, the supply of the cracking furnaces and engineering, procurement, and construction of the expansion. Plant capacity is expected to be increased from 1.35 to 1.95 billion pounds per year. “The petrochemicals market is re-emerging in the U.S. due to the abundance of lower-cost ethane feedstock, directly attributable to increased shale gas production,” said CB&I CEO Philip K. Asherman. Ethylene, mainly produced via steam cracking, is the primary building block for the chemical industry and is used to produce a variety of products including plastics, fibers and rubbers.

Cress Oil Inc. is paying an undisclosed private company $30.8 million for 44,000 net acres in the Bakken and Three Forks formation in Montana and plans to drill a minimum of two to four wells on the acreage every year over the next three years, the X-Change Corp. subsidiary said. The leases can be taken in separate blocks of 1,000 or more acres at the discretion of Cress until the entire block of 44,000 acres is taken down, the Houston-based explorer said. “Our acreage position in the Bakken and Three Forks formation gives the company a big footprint for exploration and production,” said Cress CEO Atul Trivedi.