Dow and Dupont get DoJ approval, Legislation pushed for energy storage, BP completes Charleston expansion

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Lawmakers say a storage hub is a crucial next step in transforming the Appalachian Basin and its natural gas assets into a petrochemical production center. Photo: MATRIC

Legislation pushed to advance U.S. energy storage potential

American Chemistry Council (ACC) President and CEO Cal Dooley praised proposed legislation from West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, seeking to encourage a natural gas storage hub in the Appalachian region.

"The prospect of an Appalachian storage hub is an exciting opportunity for the region and the nation. We see it as a way to not only maintain, but advance, American competitiveness," Dooley said.

The Capitalizing American Storage Potential (CASP) Act, would make a regional storage hub eligible for the Department of Energy’s Title XVII loan guarantee program, allowing West Virginia to realize the unique opportunities associated with Appalachia’s abundant natural gas liquids (NGLs) resources, naturally-occurring geologic storage, and expanding energy infrastructure.

“The Appalachian Storage Hub is a vital American energy infrastructure project that will enhance energy and national security while leveraging the region’s unique energy resources for the long-term economic benefit of families, manufacturers, and communities in nearby states and across the nation,” Senator Manchin said.

“This storage hub will create jobs and expand the economy in the Appalachian region, which has been affected by the decline in energy production and manufacturing in the region."

Dow and DuPont receive antitrust clearance from U.S. DoJ

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) approved the Dow-DuPont merger on June 15, with conditions.

DuPont is to divest certain parts of its crop protection portfolio and Dow is to divest its global Ethylene Acrylic Acid copolymers and ionomers business.

The proposed agreement with the DoJ, which remains subject to court approval, does not require the companies to make any additional divestitures. With this agreement, no further approvals are required in the U.S. for the merger to close.

The merger transaction is expected to generate cost synergies of approximately $3 billion and growth synergies of approximately $1 billion, the two companies said in a joint press release.

To date, Dow and DuPont have obtained clearance in many jurisdictions, including approvals in the U.S., Europe, Brazil and China. The companies are working constructively with regulators in the remaining jurisdictions to obtain clearance for the merger and are making progress in fulfilling the requirements of the conditional approvals that have already been received.

The companies reaffirmed their expectation to close the merger in August 2017, with the intended spin-offs to occur within 18 months of closing.

BP completes $200 million expansion in South Carolina

Photo: BP

BP completed a $200 million expansion of its purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant near Charleston, South Carolina. The expansions were first announced in 2014 and created over 400 jobs for Berkeley County.

The improvements include an on site unit that produces electricity from steam, and a state-of-the-art oxidation reactor. The reactor is the largest in the U.S. Much of the costs of the expansion were due to titanium piping and vessel, the company said.

The upgrades are expected to reduce the plant’s electricity use by 40% and cut carbon emissions by 109,000 tonnes/year.

BP plans to market low-carbon products called PTAir and PTAir Neutral later this year.