The topic last Friday was energy when the Indiana Chamber conducted its monthly Policy Issue Conference Call. We quickly discovered there was no shortage of topics. It would have been easy to expand the one hour of discussion with our own Vince Griffin, David Pippen of the governor’s office and Brandon Seitz of the Indiana Office of Energy Development.
We’ll recap just a few of my takeaways from that, with several of the subjects from that discussion undoubtedly returning during this Energy Week on the blog. We will feature a daily guest blog or other insight focused on Indiana energy developments. Consider the following:
Indiana is home to two of the biggest energy investments you will find anywhere: $4-billion plus being spent by BP in updating its Whiting Refinery to be able to better process heavy crude oil from Canada; and construction of Duke Energy’s $2.3 billion coal gasification plant in Edwardsport. For those who want coal to disappear, it’s not going to happen. This is the next generation of technology being implemented for the first time on a broad scale that will guide the use of abundant coal reserves.
There are 616 wind turbines (the number could seemingly change any day) towering in the Indiana skyline. More projects are being proposed and studied — and that’s a good thing. But supporters need to remain realistic as wind will not replace (but supplement) more traditional power sources. After all, if the wind is not blowing, it’s lights out — so to speak.
Indiana’s success in wind and ethanol production is due to incentives (both state and federal), not mandates. Other states have opted for the renewable standards that require a certain percentage of power to be generated by various alternative sources. For Hoosiers, the preferred method is innovation — discovering new sources for ethanol, rewarding entrepreneurs, emphasizing efficiency and utlizing technology to make better use of existing resources.
Again, there is so much more that was discussed last week and continues to be part of the energy mix. Bottom line: Indiana makes things, it always will make things and reliable, low-cost energy is needed to make that happen.
Industry Week recently released its list of the world’s 1000 largest manufacturers. While the usual suspects retain top spots (No. 1 Exxon Mobil Corp., No. 2 Royal Dutch Shell PLC and No. 3 BP PLC), an Indiana company received notoriety for scaling the list.
Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics Inc. jumped 246 spots to No. 465 (the company was No. 711 in 2008). No other U.S. company achieved such a large gain and only two other company gained more spots on the list – India’s Tata Steel Ltd. moved up the ranks by 384 and China’s Jiangxi Copper Co. Ltd. gained 377 spots.
IW notes that Steel Dynamics achieved significant growth “after a strong first nine months in 2008. The company posted a loss in the fourth quarter when steel shipments fell 34% from the third quarter.” Steel Dynamics posted an 84.3% growth in revenue last year, according to the report.
The Industry Week 1000 ranks the largest publicly held manufacturing companies based on revenue. With 290 companies on the list, the United States dominates. Other Indiana-based companies held steady in the ranks, gaining a spot or losing a few: Eli Lilly & Co. ranked No. 201; Cummins Inc. No. 284; and Zimmer Holdings Inc. No. 781. Numerous other companies with operations in the Hoosier state are included in the ranks.
When completed in 2011, the project will increase Whiting gasoline production by 1.7 million gallons a day and equip the refinery to process increased amounts of secure Canadian crude oil, the company says.
"We estimate that direct local spending during construction, including salaries and wages for field craft will be in excess of $2.5 billion," said Dan Sajkowski, BP Whiting Refinery business unit leader. "Far more significant is that the project will allow us to sustain the ongoing employment base that provides a livelihood to over 2000 families and delivers huge economic benefit to communities in northwest Indiana."
Good news for the BP Whiting expansion this week as the Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued the final air permit for the project. The Northwest Indiana Times has more.
"We support the BP Whiting modernization project," says Vince Griffin, Indiana Chamber VP of energy & environmental affairs. "With a $4 billion price tag, the project is not only the largest investment in the state’s history but it preserves a critical piece of Indiana’s economy, promotes a more stable oil source from Canada and does all of this while providing a high level of protection for our environment."