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Business Digest: Exxon to spend $20B on Gulf Coast projects


Exxon to spend $20B on Gulf Coast projects

HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp. says it plans to spend $20 billion over 10 years on refineries, chemical and liquefied natural gas plants along the Gulf Coast.

Chairman and CEO Darren Woods said Monday that the company would expand current plants and build new ones, mostly designed to create petroleum products for export.

Woods said the work would create 12,000 permanent jobs — Exxon currently has about 71,000 employees — and 35,000 construction jobs.

The sum of $20 billion would be roughly equal to Exxon’s total capital spending last year. The company announced last week that it plans to increase overall investments to an average of $25 billion a year from 2018 to 2020.

President Donald Trump went on Twitter to congratulate the company. Trump wrote, “45,000 construction & manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. $20 billion investment. We are already winning again, America!”


International group: Oil supply to tighten

HOUSTON — An international group representing oil-importing countries warns that the global supply of oil could fall short of demand after 2020 and push prices higher.

There is a worldwide glut of oil, and the International Energy Agency says the supply looks adequate for the next three years thanks to rising production in the U.S. and a few other nations. But the group says that supply growth will slow after 2020, with a drop in spare production capacity expected unless new projects are approved soon.

Investment in new projects fell during a slump in oil prices that began in mid-2014. In addition, OPEC members agreed to short-term cuts to boost prices. Global energy demand is still rising, with about half the increase in China and India, but it’s growing at a slower rate than a few years ago.

The international group, whose members include the U.S. and other oil-importing nations, issued its latest five-year forecast at an energy conference Monday in Houston.


GM to lay off 1,100 workers in Michigan

DETROIT — General Motors Co. is laying off 1,100 workers at an assembly plant in Michigan.

GM says it’s ending the third shift at its Lansing Delta Township plant because one of its products — the GMC Acadia SUV — is moving to Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The Lansing plant will still have two shifts building the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse SUVs.

Lansing’s last day as a three-shift plant will be May 12.

GM announced last spring that it would make the new Acadia in Tennessee. It has added a third shift and around 800 jobs to its plant in Spring Hill.


Fitbit now wants to chart your Zs

Fitbit, whose devices encourage people to walk 10,000 steps each day, now wants to put them to sleep as well.

The company said data collected by the millions of Fitbit trackers in use show that people are averaging less than seven hours of sleep a night, the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the Zs people do get aren’t necessarily the right kind of sleep.

So Fitbit will offer deeper sleep tracking on some of its devices. Fitbits already track how much sleep people get and use sensors to measure periods of being awake or restless while in bed. Now, using a built-in heart-rate monitor, the devices will break sleep into clinically defined stages.

For example, about a quarter of sleep is supposed to consist of the rapid-eye movement, or REM, phase. This is when dreams occur, and scientists believe it’s important for improving memory. Fitbit says devices with this new Sleep Stages feature will be able to measure whether you get enough REM sleep.

Fitbit also announced an updated version of its Alta tracker. The new version has heart rate monitoring and seven days of battery life. The Alta HR goes on sale in a few weeks for about $150. Fitbit will start taking orders on Monday. Existing Charge 2 and Blaze devices will get the sleep feature through free software updates.

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