Business Buzz

Jacobs awarded $1.9 billion pact 

NASA has selected Jacobs Technology for an engineering, technology and science contract at Johnson Space Center that begins May 1 and has a potential value of $1.93 billion.

Major subcontractors include Barrios Technology, Hamilton Sundstrand, GeoControl Systems, MRI Technologies, ERC, Aerodyne Industries, HX5 and Oceaneering Space Systems.

Exxon to expand Baytown facility

Exxon Mobil plans to expand its Baytown complex to boost its capacity to turn natural gas into petrochemical building blocks.

The company expects the plant expansion will create 10,000 area jobs during its construction and about $870 million of economic activity annually. The Baytown complex now employs about 6,000 workers, and the expansion will add 350, the company said.

The ExxonMobil Baytown Area is the largest petroleum and petrochemical complex in the United States.  “Our sites in the Baytown area are highly integrated – working together to make our plants and our products more efficient,” Exxon said in announcing  the multibillion dollar expansion.

The project will take about three years, and Exxon Mobil says the plant could be up and running by the end of 2016. “The project is going to be an expansion of our Baytown project, which is already the largest integrated refining complex in the country,” said Steve Pryor, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Co. Technological advances in recent years have helped producers unlock natural gas and oil from tight shale formations.

The expansion will increase the Baytown plant’s capacity to convert ethane, a natural gas liquid, into the chemical building block ethylene, and from that to produce the plastic polyethylene.

Pasadena Chamber elects new officers

Gary Nickelson is the new chairman of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce with Rick Guerrero as the new chairman elect.

Other officers are Vice Chairmen Bill Simmons, Danny Hickey, Cary Bass, Sherry Bufkin, Denise Jennings and Ken Unfried.

Directors are Greg Albert, Vijay Barreto, Jeanna Bernard, Greg Clary, Paul Davis, Bruce Dockall, Shelley Fuller, Pedro Garcia, George Gonzalez, Debbie Ibargo, Kirk Lewis, Robert Merino, John Mrozek, Monica Perry, Jack Rodriguez, Commission Jack Morman, Nathan Rorick, Ryan Sitton, Jacqueline Spigener and Vance Townsen.

Space Station pact awarded

NASA has selected Teledyne Brown Engineering of Huntsville, Ala., for its International Space Station missions operations and integration contract.

The contract, which began March 1, is valued at about $120 million and has a potential performance period of five years.

Under the contract, Teledyne Brown will provide operations in support of the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson and Marshall’s space flight centers. Support entails all phases of flight, including mission preparation and crew and flight controller training.

$100 million plant in Alvin

Gov. Rick Perry has announced that Ascend Performance Materials Texas Inc. will construct a new propane dehydrogenation facility in Alvin, creating 100 jobs and a $1.2 billion capital investment.

The state is providing $1 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund to finalize the deal on this expansion and job creation. Execution of the state’s agreement is contingent upon finalization of a local incentive package.

Ascend is a global leader in proprietary technologies used in the production of chemicals.

Ellington seen as future spaceport

While the Houston Airport System has to deal with sequestration in the near term, Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz sees Ellington Field as a future spaceport – one of the nation’s first.

It would not launch rockets but instead send “small, reusable space vehicles,” such as those advanced by Virgin Galactic, that will take people 60 miles into space and on three-hour journeys from here to the Far East.

A feasibility study showed Ellington could be equipped to launch small spacecraft for rides out over the Gulf of Mexico at a cost between $48 million and $122 million, Diaz said at the annual State of the Airports address, adding that HAS is applying to license Ellington as a spaceport and hopes to create “a cluster of aviation and aerospace companies” at the airport along Highway 3.

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