Pump Industry Analyst
EXXON AND MOBIL TO MERGE Exxon and Mobil have signed a definitive agreement to merge the two companies. As a result, Mobil shareholders will own about 30 per cent of the company, while Exxon sharehnlders will own about 70 per cent. When the merger is completed, the company's name will be Exxon Mobil Corporation, with headquarters in Irving, Texas. The new company will be organised on a functional basis. Worldwide downstream headquarters will be located in Fairfax, Virginia, while worldwide upstream and chemical will be based in Houston, Texas. Exxon Mobil will continue to use both the Exxon and Mobil brands. While there will be cost reduction benefits in the shortterm, the real objective is to maximise growth and return on investment by successfully managing the existing assets of Exxon and Mobil and by selecting the best projects from the large portfolio of investment options that will be created by this merger, the company said.
KVAERNER WINS NORTH SEA PLATFORM CONTRACT Kvaerner Oil & Gas in the UK has been awarded a US$165 million contract from Texaco North Sea UK Company for the engineering, construction, installation and commissioning of a new process and utilities platform to be located in block 13/22A of the UK North Sea. The development is part of Texaco's plans to expand its existing Captain Field in the North Sea. Work for Texaco Captain will begin immediate-
ly and fabrication of the platform will start at Kvaerner's Methil Yard in Scotland during the Spring of 1999.
FOSTER WHEELER UPGRADES FRENCH FCC Foster Wheeler Corporation has won an US$18 million contract from BP Lavera in France to improve the performance of BP's fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) at its Berre gas refining plant. Foster Wheeler will be responsible for engineering, purchasing assistance and construction supervision of the upgraded FCC. Located in the south of France, the Lavera refinery will process about 7.5 million tons of crude per year. Giuseppe Bonadies, president and CEO of Foster Wheeler France said that the plant improvements reflected some of the trends that were driving investments in the refining business, such as processing flexibility for heavy crudes and increased operational efficiencies through debottlenecking. The plant, with completed modifications, is expected to start up after the June 1999 turnaround. There will be a four week planned shutdown period.
BP PIPELINE IN 3-WAY ALLIANCE BP has formed a three-way construction alliance with Murphy Pipelines Limited and the international project management and engineering company Penspen Ltd, to build a 151kin pipeline in the North East UK from Teesside to Hull. Work will start next Spring and the pipeline must be completed by the end of 2000 to supply ethylene to new plants currently under construction at Hull. The cost of the pipeline
is undisclosed, although it forms part of a £500 million BP investment in chemicals manufacturing in the UK over the next three years. Peter Skelley, BP business venture manager for the Teesside-to-Saltend Pipeline project, said: "We believe this will be the first on-shore pipeline project in the UK to adopt a full alliancing concept and successful completion of the project will set a UK benchmark for the onshore pipeline construction industry."
CHEVRON FUNDS US$5.1 BILLION CAPITAL PROGRAMME Chevron Corp is planning a US$5.1 billion capital and exploratory spending programme this year. The 1999 capital budget is about 8 per cent less than projected spending for 1998, but the company says significant spending will continue for promising long-term growth projects in Kazakhstan, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. Cuts during 1999 will be primarily in the mature North American exploration and production business, as well as in refining and marketing and in chemicals. Chevron plans to invest nearly US$3.7 billion, or 73 per cent of the total, in worldwide exploration and product.ion. About US$2.6 billion of this will be outside the USA. In worldwide refining, marketing and transportation, Chevron will spend about US$870 million, of which more than US$540 million will be spent in the USA, including continuous upgrading of the company's service station network. Most of the remainder will be invested by Chevron's 50 per cent-owned affiliate, Caltex, outside the USA. Chevron plans to invest about
US$380 million in the worldwide chemicals business in 1999.
SASOL ANNOUNCES NEW HIGH-PURITY ETHANOL PLANT South African coal converter Sasol Chemical Industries (SCI) is to invest Rd140 million in a new plant to produce high-purity ethanol. This decision follows the development of proven proprietary technology by Sasol Technology (Pty) Ltd. Basic engineering started in July 1998 and the plant, which will form part of Sasol Solvents (a division of SCI), will be completed in October 1999. The new plant will be located in Secunda and will have an annual capacity of 85 000 tons of ethanol with a minimum purity of 99.99 per cent. Sasol Chemical Industries already produces about 35 000 tons per year of high-purity ethanol at its Sasolburg plant, for select international markets as well as the South African market. Most of the high-purity ethanol from the Secunda plant will be exported worldwide.
CHEVRON CHEMICAL STARTS PIB PLANT Work has begun on Chevron Chemical's US$70 million Polyisobutene (PIB) manufacturing complex at the company's Oak Point plant in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The new facility, designed to produce 60 000 metric tons per year of PIB, will be completed in the fall of 1999. The project is the outcome of a licensing agreement with BASE