Royal Dutch Shell plc hasn’t given any indication that it will back out of plans to build a world-scale petrochemical complex in Pennsylvania, but a developer working on a smaller project in the Northeast thinks bigger isn’t always better.
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Westlake Chemical Corp.’s previously announced expansion of the Petro 2 ethylene unit at its complex in Lake Charles, LA, has begun. This expansion will be completed in conjunction with a planned maintenance turnaround and will increase ethane-based ethylene capacity by 230-240 million pounds annually in support of the company’s ethylene integration strategy. The unit is expected to be down approximately 60 days for the work to be completed.
Running counter to recent public and private sector analyses, mediocre results so far and complex geology have combined to cause an Alliance Bernstein (AB) analyst to question whether the Monterey Shale will live up to some of the hype surrounding its future prospects. Even with these reservations, high oil prices could push the play closer to its potential, the report conceded.
ExxonMobil Chemical recently made a regulatory filing to add a multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker and other facilities at its Baytown, TX, chemicals complex with the intention of taking advantage of cheap ethane being thrown off by liquids-rich shale gas plays.
Copano Energy LLC plans to add an additional 400 MMcf/d of cryogenic processing capacity at its Houston Central complex in Colorado County, TX, to meet demand from producers in the liquids rich Eagle Ford Shale. The expansion would bring Copano’s cryogenic capacity at the facility to 1 Bcf/d. The project is expected to cost $190 million and be in service mid-2014. Copano also announced a new long-term fee-based gathering and processing agreement with a “major” Eagle Ford producer, which combined with previously announced producer commitments, will support the expansion. Copano had previously announced plans for an initial 400 MMcf/d cryogenic processing expansion at Houston Central, which is expected to be in service during the first quarter of 2013 (see Shale Daily, April 21, 2011). “This second cryogenic expansion project reaffirms our commitment to being a leading midstream service provider in the Eagle Ford shale,” said CEO R. Bruce Northcutt.
Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP said it will expand the natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionator complex at its Sweeny Plant in Old Ocean, TX. Construction is to begin in April for completion in February. The expansion will increase capacity by about 22,000 b/d, or 19%. “One of the main drivers for the project is the rapid development of natural gas, crude oil and NGLs from the shale formations in the region,” said Martin Dale, feedstock procurement manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical. “This expansion positions Chevron Phillips Chemical to take additional raw NGL product from the Eagle Ford and Permian basins and ultimately convert the NGLs into products for consumer and commercial use.” The fractionation unit at Sweeny was built in the 1960s and is composed of two trains with current capacity of 116,000 b/d.
Shale and liquids-rich production will be the primary focus for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. this year, with dry natural gas efforts receiving less than 10% of its 2012 exploration and production budget, the Houston-based company said Tuesday.
January natural gas declined Wednesday largely in concert with the petroleum complex and as traders braced for a government storage report with widely varying estimates but nonetheless anticipated to show a decline significantly less than historical averages. At the close January had slid 6.6 cents to $3.421 and February had given up 6.5 cents to $3.458. January crude oil dropped 79 cents to $100.49/bbl.