Air Liquide’s new Cleburne liquefier means new jobs

Five months after announcing a new nitrogen liquefier at its air separation plant in Cleburne, Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP hosted an April 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony at the location. The expansion promises as many as 21 permanent new jobs in the next two years. “Our expansion is proof that Air Liquide continues to see great potential in the growth of industry throughout the U.S., and we continue to seek and develop opportunities in communities such as those in Cleburne and Johnson County,” said chairman and CEO Michael Graff in a news release. Among those attending the ceremony were U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin); Jerry Cash, economic development director with the city of Cleburne; and Cathy Marchel, president of the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce. The liquefier is expected to support growth in the Texas and Oklahoma industrial gas markets. It’s the second of two now in operation at the company’s Johnson County facility, which began commercial production last year. The increased capacity will let the company boost its liquid nitrogen supply to customers spanning several industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing and electronics. Air Liquide’s air separation facility in Cleburne opened in January 1998, producing oxygen, nitrogen and argon for several industries.   Air Liquide is based in Paris; its U.S. operations are based in Houston. It provides industrial gases and services. Nearly 2,000 of its 5,000 U.S. employees work in Texas. More information is available at   Breezer sets stage for oil drilling near Abilene Breezer Ventures Inc., whose Texas field team is based in Fort Worth, has moved a drilling rig to one of its oil wells near Abilene as it prepares to drill at the Callahan County site. The move follows the company’s March purchase of the well, its sixth interest in the Jackson oil and gas fields. The location has been permitted and the company plans to reestablish oil production that previously existed on the property. The company plans to determine the well’s optimal production level within 30 days. Breezer Ventures Inc. is an oil and gas exploration and development company based in Irvine, Calif., and focused on U.S projects. More information is available at   Norstra appoints operator for Montana project Norstra Energy Inc. of Southlake has appointed an operator for its South Sun River project in Montana. Summit West Oil LLC of Spokane, Wash., will operate the project’s first three wells. “We are very pleased to secure the services of Summit West Oil LLC,” said Norstra president and CEO Glen Landry, commenting in a news release. “Summit West is an experienced operator, with great industry connections and a very good reputation with the authorities in Montana,” Landry said. Summit West already served as operator for three wells in Montana in 2012, Landry said. As part of its new Norstra duties, Summit West will create a cost estimate for drilling and completion expenses of the first well and secure drilling subcontractors. The cost estimate, which will include final bids, is expected to be finished within a month. During that time, Landry and his technical advisers plan to determine the first drill location based on seismic lines and other technical data. After Norstra and its geophysicist determine the first drill location, Norstra will design the drilling pad and start the permitting process.   Council formed on housing standards in oil and gas fields Oilfield workers have an ally in the Workforce Housing Standards Council, newly formed to advocate for the growing numbers of workers in shale plays. With its first meeting set for May 8 in San Antonio, the council’s mission is “to create a high standard of living for temporary and permanent field workers ensuring cleanliness, comfort, safety and good health.” Spearheading the council is Rod Williams, founder and CEO of website “What we’ve seen out there is poor living conditions, putting the health and safety of workers at risk,” Williams said in a news release. “We’ve set out to change that. The Workforce Housing Standards Council is the first step to help solve this prevalent problem collaboratively, for the benefit of all.” More information about the council and the May 8 event is available from   ExxonMobil to explore offshore Liberia ExxonMobil Corp.’s Liberian affiliate has acquired from Canadian Overseas Petroleum (Bermuda) Ltd. an 80 percent interest in Liberia Block 13 (LB-13), comprising more than 625,000 acres offshore Liberia in water depths ranging from 250 feet to 10,000 feet. ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Liberia Ltd. and Canadian Overseas Petroleum in April confirmed receiving final approval of the transaction from the Liberian national legislature and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Irving-based ExxonMobil is the operator of LB-13, with Canadian Overseas Petroleum having a 20 percent interest in the block. “We appreciate the vote of confidence from the government of Liberia in our capability to help develop the nation’s hydrocarbon resources,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Co., in a statement. “The government of Liberia wants to develop its resources for the benefit of the country and its people. We have the capability and the expertise to help make that happen,” Greenlee said. ExxonMobil plans to open its venture office in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, within 180 days to begin fulfilling requirements of the production sharing contract, which calls for an exploration well to be drilled within three years. More information is available at   Send energy news to A. Lee Graham at