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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, April 2014
WEB Exclusive story

Freudenberg Oil and Gas Technologies is investing £11 million (nearly US$18.4 million) to consolidate its three sites in Baglan, Wales, to create a center of excellence in Port Talbot. With £3 million in financing from the Welsh Government, the investment will safeguard around 90 jobs and create a further 60 skilled jobs. The expansion and investment project will result in new office accommodation as well as R&D facilities with additional investment in new CNC machinery. The German company's Welsh manufacturing base employs 237 people and is the largest within Freudenberg Oil and Gas Technologies.

National Geographic has launched its Great Energy Challenge.


Substantial reductions in emissions would require large changes in investment patterns, says a new IPCC report from the UN.

A new report released Sunday, April 13, in Berlin by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. “There is a clear message from science," said Working Group III Co-Chair Ottmar Edenhofer from Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.

A sign of hope for the conversion from fossil fuels is moving forward in San Joaquin County, Calif., where DTE Energy Services, Inc. (DTEES) has finished converting a shuttered coal-fired power plant at the Port of Stockton to operate on biomass fuel. Stockton Biomass, which began commercial operations on Feb. 21, is selling its renewable power to PG&E to help meet its renewable energy requirement. The plant will use about 320,000 tons of woody biomass fuel annually (primarily derived from urban wood waste, tree trimmings and agricultural processes) to generate about 45 megawatts of power. "The site, once one of the most polluted in San Joaquin Valley, now is home to one of the cleanest solid-fuel power plants in the country," says the San Joaquin Partnership. "It is providing 35 high-quality jobs and another 100 indirectly involved with DTE Stockton's fuel supply infrastructure."

DTEES, a subsidiary of Detroit-based DTE Energy, has completed similar biomass conversions in Cassville, Wis., and Bakersfield, Calif. The company also operates biomass power plants in Woodland, Calif., and Mobile, Ala.

In a follow-up to its reports earlier this year, InsideClimate News unearthed some ominous results of a study showing anticipated emissions from future drilling activity in the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas. Among the findings: Wells could quadruple to 32,000 in the 20,000-sq.-mile region; oil production could more than double to 761 million barrels per year; and airborne releases of VOCs could increase by 281 percent.

But Texas is also a pioneer in energy efficiency: Energy efficiency targets implemented in half of U.S. states in 2012 saved enough electricity to power 2 million homes for a year, says Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A New Progress Report on State Experience, a new report released April 9 by ACEEE. The report finds that most states met or exceeded their targets and that the standards are making substantial contributions to national energy savings.

Texas was the first state to set efficiency targets, in 1999. Since then, half of the states in the country have followed suit, setting long term targets designed to spur electricity and natural gas savings.

BG Group in December successfully reached a key milestone in development of the Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) project (pictured), with first gas transported from the Surat Basin coal seam gas fields onto Curtis Island where the liquefaction terminal is located. Delivery of first gas onto the island marked the successful completion of a two-year task to lay over 540 kilometers of pipe — the longest large-diameter buried pipeline in Australia.

Arrival of first gas onto the island enables commissioning work to begin on the first of two LNG production trains being developed by the Group as part of the integrated QCLNG project. "We are now entering the final construction and commissioning phases and we remain firmly on track to deliver first commercial LNG in the second half of 2014, as scheduled and within the $20.4 billion budget," said BG Group Chief Executive Chris Finlayson.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Air Products and Chemicals Inc. Senior Vice President Steve Jones (pictured) have announced the completion of $1 billion in project investments in Louisiana over the past four years that have tripled the production capacity of the largest hydrogen pipeline network system in the world, running from Houston to Lake Charles, La., to New Orleans. “Air Products’ hydrogen production facilities are integral to the continued operations of the refinery and petrochemical industries and its tens of thousands of jobs in Louisiana,” Jones said. Air Products, which supplies the majority of Louisiana’s refineries, operates 19 facilities in Louisiana, including the four new steam methane reformer plants constructed in Baton Rouge, Garyville, Norco and Luling. The construction phase began in 2009 and is concluding with the commissioning of the Norco hydrogen plant this spring. Air Products is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption Program incentives.

The company also recently dedicated a new pipeline training facility in La Porte, Texas, pictured below

AP010182 Photo by Amber Olah courtesy of Air Products

The US Dept. of the Interior in March sold $872 million worth of leases in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to major oil companies. They included $41.6 million worth of leases to BP, which a week earlier had reached an agreement with the EPA that allowed that agency to lift a ban on BP's participation in government contracts, originally put in place after the massive spill from the Macondo well in 2010. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for 23 percent of US domestic oil production.

An artist’s rendering of Australia’s largest utility-scale solar project, being built by Arizona-based First Solar
Image courtesy of First Solar

Arizona-based First Solar is building Australia’s largest utility-scale solar project, a 618-acre (250-hectare) solar plant in Nyngan, a town located in central New South Wales (NSW), where First Solar broke ground earlier this year. Approximately 300 jobs will be created during the construction of the Nyngan plant, AGL Energy is developing this project as part of, and with support from, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW Government. First Solar will install approximately 1,350,000 advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules at the Nyngan plant, which expected to be completed in mid-2015 and will generate 102 megawatts of electricity. First Solar is planning to start construction of a second AGL project in Broken Hill, in southwest NSW, in mid-2014.

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The Site Selection Energy Report features exclusive and in-depth reporting and analysis on the most important energy projects and energy policy issues impacting the world of manufacturing and industrial real estate. Topics covered include oil and gas projects, investments into alternative energy installations and R&D, tax credits and financing, electric utility issues and much more.

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