ExxonMobil & JV Partners Develop New Steel

ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company has signed a Letter of Intent with Nippon Steel Corporation and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. to commercialize a jointly developed new steel, which is 20-50 percent stronger than alternative pipeline steels in use today. The agreement includes possible upgrades to an NSC pipe mill.

The formulation for the steel was first developed in ExxonMobil's Corporate Strategic Research Laboratory and is part of ExxonMobil's continuing focus on proprietary research and development. Further work to make commercial production viable occurred jointly with Nippon Steel Corporation.

One application for the high-strength steel is in natural gas pipelines that can be constructed over longer distances at lower cost. The use of natural gas is growing dramatically on a worldwide scale, and is expected to represent an increasing portion of the total energy supply, particularly for industrialized nations. Many gas resources that will be required to accommodate this growing demand are remote from markets and will require cost-effective, transportation options before they can be commercialized. The use of this steel in gas pipelines could substantially improve the economics of developing many of these resources.