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Senior project engineer Andy Aronson, left, and operations engineer Joel Vincent examine equipment at the Siluria Technologies plant in La Porte, where the company is testing processes it says could reduce the costs of making chemical building blocks and motor fuels from natural gas
Siluria Technologies at Braskem chemical plant on Friday March 27, 2015 in La Porte, Texas. 

Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher

Brazil’s biggest petrochem company considering Gulf Coast for massive natural gas project

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The factory would produce at least 1 billion pounds (450,000 metric tons) of resin a year and would be the U.S. polypropylene industry’s first world-scale project in about 12 years, said Mark Nikolich, a vice president at Braskem.
(ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images

Oil slumps most in week as OPEC meeting looms

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Oil slumped last year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its production limit at 30 million barrels a day, insisting that suppliers outside the 12-nation group must help tackle a global surplus.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei (Bloomberg News/ILNA/document IRAN)

What’s OPEC going to do with Iran’s million barrels a day?

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The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ summit on June 5 to determine the group’s output will come three weeks before a deadline for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Iran says it can add almost 1 million barrels to daily production within months of sanctions being lifted.
(Lucas Schifres/Bloomberg)

Methane emissions threaten to undermine natural gas offensive

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Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and BP Plc CEOs spoke in favor of using natural gas that would supplant dirtier coal-fired power. Demand for the energy is seen outpacing oil over the coming decades.
A security guard stands at the Maroun Petrochemical plant at the Imam Khomeini port, southwestern Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran could add 400,000 barrels a day of oil after nuclear deal

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Iran’s heavy crude has “a lot of customers,” because many refiners were set up for it, so Iran “will regain their share” after 18 months, an analyst predicted.
Rex Tillerson, chairman, president, and CEO of ExxonMobil Corp. ( Johnny Hanson / Houston Chronicle )

Exxon CEO touts climate benefits of shale gas

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European oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Total SA are promoting gas as a way to limit the growth of emissions blamed for climate change. They have also called for a price on carbon dioxide.
The shadows of  workers in the Permian Basin on February 5, 2015 in Mentone, Texas. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Big Oil’s plan to become Big Gas

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With almost 200 nations set to hammer out a binding pact on carbon emissions in December, fossil-fuel companies led by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA say they’re refocusing on gas as a cleaner alternative to the cheap coal that now dominates electricity generation worldwide.
An ethylene unit shown at the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company's Cedar Bayou Plant, 9500 I-10 East, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Baytown. ( Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle )

Chevron, Phillips 66 joint venture may have a second natural gas “megaproject” in the works

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The Houston-based company has led a wave of new U.S. facilities that make ethylene, used in plastics to polyester. Plants that use low cost gas from shale formations will help U.S. production of basic chemicals increase for the next four years, starting with a 3.1 percent rise this year and peaking at 6 percent in 2018.
Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ibrahim al-Naimi. (MLADEN  ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudis say push for market share is working as OPEC meeting nears

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Saudi Arabia shaped OPEC’s strategy at its meeting in November, arguing that the usual response of cutting oil production to support prices wouldn’t address the threat from higher-cost producers such as U.S. shale.
People wave Russian flags as they look at Russian President Vladimir Putin delivering a speech on a screen on March 18, 2014, in Sevastopol.  (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Gazprom pursues Russian shale boom ambitions amid U.S. sanctions

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Russia’s efforts to replicate North Dakota’s Bakken shale boom are being hindered by the U.S. ban on exports of equipment and technology after Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the insurgency in Ukraine.