Around The Gulf


Exxon Mobil Relocates Headquarters to Houston

Exxon Mobil has officially relocated its corporate headquarters from Dallas to its campus outside Houston, making it the region’s largest company by revenue. The move solidifies Houston’s status as the nation’s energy capital and helps Exxon adjust to a changing market. The company plans to invest in lower-carbon solutions and combine its chemical and refining businesses. The Spring campus, where the headquarters is now located, was built to house 10,000 employees, although about 8,000 work there now. The headquarters move brings about 250 employees to Houston. Learn More

$4.9 Billion Acquisition by Exxon Mobile Expands its Carbon Capture Capabilities in the Gulf

Exxon Mobil is set to acquire Denbury, an oil and gas company specializing in carbon dioxide transportation, in a $4.9 billion deal, a significant milestone for the emerging carbon capture industry. The acquisition includes Denbury’s network of carbon dioxide pipelines and storage facilities along the Gulf Coast, valued at $2.8 billion. Carbon capture and storage, the process of removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it underground, is considered crucial by many in the fight against climate change. This deal positions Exxon as a global leader in carbon capture and solidifies its position in the industry. Learn More

Merger Expands Pipeline Operator Energy Transfer

Energy Transfer, a Dallas-based pipeline operator, is acquiring Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners in a $7.1 billion all-stock deal. The acquisition will give Energy Transfer a stronger presence in various basins, including the Williston basin in North and South Dakota, the Delaware basin in West Texas and New Mexico, and the Powder River basin in Montana and Wyoming. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending approval from Crestwood’s board and regulators. Learn More

SilverBow Resources Acquires Eagle Ford Shale Assets

Chesapeake Energy, an energy giant based in Oklahoma, has announced its exit from the Eagle Ford shale region by selling its remaining assets there to Houston-based exploration and production company SilverBow Resources. The deal, valued between $700 million to $750 million, includes land, equipment, and wells. Chesapeake has been focusing on other shale plays in Louisiana and the Northeastern U.S. and has generated over $3.5 billion in proceeds from its Eagle Ford departure. The transaction is expected to close this year, making SilverBow the largest public pure-play producer in the Eagle Ford shale. Learn More


DOE Funding to Create Direct Air Capture Hub in Calcasieu Parish

Louisiana is set to receive up to $603 million in Department of Energy grant funding to create a direct air capture hub. The hub, called Project Cypress, aims to pull over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually and store it underground. Battelle, a research and development organization, will be the project owner, partnering with Climeworks Corp. and Heirloom Carbon Technologies Inc. for the sequestration technology. Gulf Coast Sequestration will handle transportation and burial of the captured carbon dioxide. The project is expected to generate about 2,300 jobs, with 100 being permanent positions. The funding is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Learn More

First Solar to Build Solar Panels Manufacturing Plant in Iberia Parish

Solar panel company First Solar plans to build a $1.1 billion manufacturing plant in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. The facility will produce solar panels using all American-made components. First Solar expects to create more than 700 new jobs with an annual payroll of at least $40 million. The project is considered the largest single capital investment in the area’s history. The company will receive incentives, including $30 million worth of performance-based grants, from the state of Louisiana to secure the project. Learn More

New Orleans to Baton Rouge Train Service Initiative Funded

Governor John Bel Edwards announced the funding of a train project from New Orleans to Baton Rouge after unexpectedly receiving $20.5 million from the federal government. The money was originally part of a settlement related to misspent grant funds for hurricane victims. The state plans to allocate the funds towards the long-planned passenger rail line, which could potentially aid in evacuations during storms. Some lawmakers have expressed opposition, suggesting that the funds should be used for projects benefiting hurricane-prone areas or improving evacuations. The state is seeking a federal grant of $200 million, along with $50 million in matching funds, to cover the entire cost of the project. The train service is expected to begin in 2025. Learn More

Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry Approves Tax Breaks for Industrial Projects

The Louisiana State Board of Commerce and Industry has approved property tax breaks for three industrial projects aimed at reducing the state’s carbon footprint. St. Charles Clean Fuels, a “blue” ammonia plant, and SunGas Renewables’ “green” methanol plant have received tax breaks under the Industrial Tax Exemption Program. Another project by Element 25, an Australian mining company, has also been granted a tax break for its proposed electric vehicle battery material plant. These projects are in various stages of development and are expected to contribute to the state’s efforts in sustainable manufacturing. Additionally, the Chalmette Refining facility in St. Bernard Parish has been granted a Quality Jobs break for its expansion plans. Learn More


MSU Awarded NSF Grant to Study Plant/Nitrogen Interactions 

Mississippi State University researchers have been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study how plants access nitrogen in changing environments. Led by Ryan A. Folk, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, the team will focus on nitrogen-fixing symbiosis, a relationship between bacteria and plants that enables plants to obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere. The team will collaborate with researchers from the University of Florida, Louisiana State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This study will contribute to a better understanding of plant-microbe interactions in natural ecosystems and their relevance to agriculture in the face of a changing climate. Learn More

Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United Partners with Mississippi State on Life Vest Research

Mississippi State University is conducting research on life vests for commercial fishermen to address the high number of fatalities in the industry. The project, in collaboration with Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, aims to develop more accessible and comfortable life jackets. Researchers are examining the mobility and postural support of the jackets by using scientifically engineered materials and advanced fabrics. They are also exploring the integration of technologies such as photovoltaic cells for charging devices and Bluetooth tracking for locating fishermen who fall overboard. The ultimate goal is to enhance safety and reduce fatalities in the commercial fishing industry.  Learn More

Jackson Wastewater System Joins Drinking Water System in Third-Party Receivership

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate of Mississippi approved a plan to address the aging and broken infrastructure in Jackson, Mississippi. JXN Water principal Ted Henifin, who is already overseeing the rehabilitation of the city’s drinking water system, will also take charge of fixing the wastewater system, which has been causing issues for residents and the local ecosystem. The estimated cost for fixing both systems is around $1 billion each. The agreement, stemming from a 2013 consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency, puts the sewer system under Henifin’s control for four years. One of the main challenges will be securing funding for the sewer system, with approximately $140 million currently available. Henifin emphasized the importance of consistent revenue from water bills, as the city’s collection rate is only at 56 percent. Learn More


City of Birmingham joins Birmingham Water Works in Suing for PFAS Contamination 

The city of Birmingham has filed a lawsuit against more than two dozen chemical manufacturers in South Carolina federal court. They are accused of contaminating drinking water with toxic manufactured chemicals as PFAS. The lawsuit claims that the defendants are responsible for the contamination due to the sale of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam containing PFAS, which was used by firefighters and military personnel. The city is seeking compensation for the costs of removing PFAS from the environment. The Birmingham Water Works has also filed a similar lawsuit against the same chemical companies. Water works officials have stated that current water treatments have eliminated the threat from contamination. Learn More

Mobile to Add Recycling Site and Conduct Study on Providing Curbside Services

The City of Mobile has received a $340,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to improve recycling opportunities for its residents. The grant will be used to establish a third recycling drop-off site, enhance recycling education, and conduct a feasibility study for additional recycling services in Mobile County. The city aims to determine the best location for the new site based on zip code data and collaborate with other cities in the county to expand recycling efforts. The grant also includes provisions for education on recycling services and exploring options like curbside recycling. At present, Mobile residents can use three public recycling sites, including two city-run drop-off sites and a county recycling center. Private recycling services and other facilities are also available. The city plans to bring curbside recycling to Mobile, but the feasibility study will assess the associated costs, potentially requiring residents to pay for the service. The grant will be received on October 1, and the timeline for opening the third drop-off site is yet to be determined. Learn More


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