Energy Update: Devon plans midstream master limited partnership

Devon Energy Corp. plans to form a publicly traded midstream master limited partnership that is initially expected to own a minority interest in the Oklahoma-based company’s U.S. midstream business. The midstream business includes natural gas gathering and processing assets in Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The partnership plans to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in third-quarter 2013. Subject to market conditions, an offering of partnership units in the partnership would follow the SEC registration. Devon plans to own the general partner of the partnership, all its incentive distribution rights, and a majority of its common units after completion of the initial public offering. Proceeds from the sale of partnership common units would be used to fund the company’s continuing operations. Devon Energy Corp. is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company. More information is available at

Exxon Mobil announces Houston workforce training program Exxon Mobil Corp. of Irving plans to fund a $500,000 workforce training program to help Houston’s leading community colleges prepare thousands of local residents for local chemical manufacturing jobs. Exxon Mobil has contributed more than $2.6 million in the last 10 years to programs to train a manufacturing workforce across the U.S. Gulf Coast area, affecting more than 15,000 students. Its new initiative will benefit 50,000 students and educators in the next five years, the company said. “The chemical industry supports 73,000 high-paying Texas manufacturing jobs and will add more under announced expansion plans by industry, including ExxonMobil,” said Steve Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Co., in a news release. “Our industry has made Texas the top chemical-producing state in the nation, driven in large part by abundant and affordable supplies of natural gas for energy and feedstock. We contribute to a strong economy for Houston and the state,” Pryor said. ExxonMobil is awaiting construction permits for a petrochemical expansion in Baytown. The multi-billion dollar project would include a new ethane cracker, a petrochemical facility that reduces the size of molecules from oil and natural gas into smaller ones. If developed, the project would create about 10,000 construction jobs. About 350 permanent jobs would be added to the company’s workforce of more than 6,000 in the Baytown area. The estimated multiplier effect would create 3,800 more jobs in the local community, the company said. Plans for the workforce training program call for Lee College to work with Houston Community College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto Junior College, Alvin Community College, Wharton County Junior College, Brazosport College, Galveston College and College of the Mainland to train students seeking certification or completion of degree programs for instrumentation, electrical, welding, pipefitting and other skills and competencies needed by the chemical industry. High schools will be included in the program later. “This is great news for workers who will be retrained or want to enter the chemical manufacturing industry in the next few years,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “The ExxonMobil program is a great example of what can be accomplished when employers and educators work together.” The Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development will implement the program to educate qualified students to meet the industry’s current and future needs. Prospective students may enroll at the campus of their choice for classroom instruction, dual-credit courses, internships, certificate programs and two-year degrees. More information is available at

Kinder Morgan expands oil terminal plan Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP of Houston has announced a 900,000-barrel expansion of the 185-acre Battleground Oil Specialty Terminal Company LLC under construction on the Houston Ship Channel. Supporting the approximately $54 million expansion is a long-term leased storage and handling services contract with Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. It includes six 150,000-barrel, low sulphur diesel tanks, additional pipeline and deepwater vessel dock access, and high-speed loading at a rate of 30,000 barrels per hour. Work on the 900,000-barrel expansion was planned to start in second-quarter 2013, with commercial operations expected to begin in fourth-quarter 2014. The oil terminal is a joint venture of Kinder Morgan, which owns a 55 percent interest and will operate the facility, and TransMontaigne Partners LP. The $485 million operation at mile marker 43 on the Houston Ship Channel is expected to begin commercial operations in third-quarter 2013. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP owns an interest in or operates more than 51,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals. Its pipelines transport natural gas, gasoline, crude oil and other products. More information is available at

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