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Downstream industry announcements: 3 October 2014

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit to Natgasoline to construct a new natural gas to gasoline facility in Nederland, Texas. ‘The Texas economy continues to grow and add jobs, and energy projects like Natgasoline’s are an important part of that growth. EPA will continue to work with businesses to ensure they have the permits they need to operate,’ said Ron Curry, Regional Administrator.

The company plants to construct two units: a methanol plant, with a capacity of almost 1.75 million tpy of methanol, as well as a methanol to gasoline plant, which will produce over 8 million bbls/y of gasoline. The facility will use natural gas as a feedstock.

In June 2010, EPA finalised national GHG regulations, which specify that beginning on January 2 2011, projects that increase GHG emissions substantially will require an air permit. EPA believes states are best equipped to run GHG air permitting programs. Texas is working to replace the federal implementation plan with its own State program, which will eliminate the need for businesses to seek air permits from EPA. This action will increase efficiency and allow industry to continue to grow in Texas. EPA has finalised 54 GHG permits in Texas, proposed seven permits, and currently has 12 additional GHG permits in development in Texas.


ExxonMobil has announced US$ 18 million in grants for Houston health care facilities to support cancer prevention and cardiovascular research, expand paediatric care for children with autism and enhance paediatric liver disease research and clinical services. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre will receive US$ 10 million; US$ 5 million will go to the Texas Heart Institute and US$ 3 million to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corporation said, ‘ExxonMobil has had a long and deep involvement with Houston and Texas. These world renowned institutions are helping improve the health and lives of families in the greater Houston area and around the world, and we’re proud to support their important mission.’

Dr. Ron DePinho, president of MD Anderson said, ‘with this leadership gift we have the opportunity to make the vision of a healthy Texas a reality. We’re grateful for ExxonMobil’s generosity, its commitment to our community and its partnership in our mission to end cancer.’


The Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (FNGVC) has announced that the state’s recently created natural gas vehicle incentive program produced 1820 jobs and US$ 68 million in wages in the state. Economist Hank Fishkind supplied the figures for this follow up analysis of a 2012 report his firm (Fishkind & Associates) conducted for the coalition. FNGVC Chairman, Eric Criss, welcomed the report saying, ‘this is a great example of the public and private sectors working together for the greater good. We’re creating jobs and reducing air emissions.’

Senator Wilton Simpson commend on the positive report and said, ‘this economic report shows how successful Florida’s Natural Fuel Gas Vehicle Rebate program has been. This fuel provides significant budget savings to governmental entities, the business world, and our citizens. Natural gas has been a game changer for Florida and the US, not only for motor vehicles but for the energy sector, commercial businesses, and the manufacturing industry. I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation in the Florida Senate.’


Shell has become the first organisation to offer a globally available portfolio of natural gas based fluids and solvents for the chemicals industry. Its extensive supply chain, via Shell’s chemicals business hubs in Singapore, Houston and Rotterdam, makes the products available to customers across the world. The next generation, high purity paraffinic fluids are made from gas to liquids (GTL) products manufactured at the world’s largest GTL plant, Pearl GTL in Qatar, a joint venture of Shell and Qatar Petroleum. They boast qualities that can enhance performance over conventional products in the market.

Graham van Hoff, Executive Vice President, Shell Chemicals said, ‘the global solvents market continues to grow, trending towards performance products with lower environmental impact that meet stringent regulatory standards. Shell Chemicals is responding to this market demand.’


Velocys plc has announced that the UK High Court has ordered an immediate injunction restraining CompactGTL’s infringing activities and payment of approximately £1.4 million to Velocys. Following the UK High Court’s ruling upholding the Veolcys patents in suit and judging CompactGTL to be infringing them both, the Court has now ordered an immediate injunction restraining CompactGTL from infringing the patents or enabling, procuring, or assisting any third party to infringe the patents. In addition to being used at its Wilton plant in the UK, CompactGTL confirmed to the Court that the same infringing technology was the subject of its activities with Petrobras.

The Court also ordered CompactGTL to pay approximately £1.4 million to Velocys for its legal costs to date. The case is continuing, with determination of damages to Velocys expected after receipt of additional disclosures from CompactGTL regarding its activities.

Edited from various press releases by Claira Lloyd

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