Call for controls
U.S. commodity regulators and trading exchange executives told a Senate panel that more federal control of natural gas trading is needed. The request included more staff, funding and authority to successfully monitor natural gas trading.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP) will acquire a U.S. Gulf Coast terminal and build another in a $41 million expansion project. KMP will acquire a liquids terminal from Royal Vopak in Westwego, Louisiana. That facility has 19 tanks and capacity of about 750,000 billion barrels that can be used to store biodiesel, ethanol, vegetable oil and other liquid products. The new terminal was under construction beginning in March and should be completed by the fourth quarter of 2008.
Syntroleum has signed a contract with the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide 500 gallons of fat-based jet fuel for its testing program. Tyson will supply the animal fat feestock for the fuel.
Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS) has started producing high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes at its largest U.S. manufacturing plant in Gloucester County, New Jersey. The $12 million, 68,000 square-foot facility will bring 100 jobs to the area and will serve ADS customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The HDPE pipes will be used in local and federal highway projects.
Ashland and Cargill have entered into an agreement with Davy Process Technology to use its vapor-phase hydrogenation system in a bio-based propylene glycol joint venture. Ashland and Cargill will enter into a 50-50 joint venture to develop and produce a range of chemical products from renewable resources.
Air pollution reduction
DuPont has settled with the Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, agreeing to reduce more than 13,000 tons of harmful emissions annually from four sulfuric acid production plants in Darrow, Louisiana; Richmond, Virginia; North Bend, Ohio; and Wurtland, Kentucky. The company will spend at least $66 million on air pollution controls at the plants and pay a civil penalty of $4.125 million under the Clean Air Act settlement. All four plants will meet their lower emission limits by March 1, 2012.
Plant pollution correction
Equistar Chemicals has been ordered by the federal government to address air, water and hazardous waste violations at seven of its petrochemicals plants. The company will spend more than $125 million on pollution controls and cleanup at the plants in Morris, Illinois; Clinton, Iowa; an inactive plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Texas plants in Channelview, Chocolate Bayou, Corpus Christi and La Porte. Equistar will also pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to be divided among the federal government and participating states, as well as $6.56 million on federal and state supplemental environmental projects.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. is planning a new two million ton potash mine and expanded milling operations in New Brunswick at an estimated cost of $1.6 billion. Still pending regulatory approval, the project would raise the company’s projected total annual potash capacity to 14.9 million tons by 2011.
Eastman Chemical Company will invest more than $1.3 billion during the next five years to upgrade technology, infrastructure and production capabilities at its Kingsport, Tennessee facility. As part of this investment, the company will create a partnership with Northeast State Technical Community College to develop curricula and implement training programs for a new generation of mechanics, lab analysts and chemical operators.
BASF’s 300,000 ton/year benzene facility in Ludwigshafen, Germany has halted production because of a fire. No one was hurt in the incident. A company spokeswoman said it was too early to know when the plant would be restarted or whether it would affect downstream production.
Unipetrol and Dwory have signed a contract for the establishment of a new butadiene (BD) unti. Unipetrol will own 51% of the subsidiary, which will be called Butadien Kralupv. The unit will be based in the Kralupy nad Vltavou industrial area, near Prague.
Dishman Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals Limited has acquired Solvay Pharmaceuticals’ fine chemicals, vitamin D and vitamin D analogs businesses for an undisclosed amount. The sale is a result of Solvay’s strategy to focus on the main therapeutic areas of cardiometabolic and neuroscience treatments.
Tata Chemicals is planning to build a bioethanol plant with a capacity of 30 kiloliters/day in Maharashtra state. The company will invest $9.9 – $12.4 million in the site, which is likely to be commissioned by mid 2009. Tata plans to use sweet sorghum as feedstock for the proposed plant.
Nexfuel plans to build a 50,000 ton/year bioethanol plant in Kulim, Kedah state, Malaysia early next year. The company plans to use cassava, a quick-yielding feedstock with short harvest time, as the plant’s feedstock.
BASF has restarted its toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) plant in Shanghai, China. The plant closed in late June because of a phosgene gas leak. BASF plans to build up buffer stocks and will have little material to offer the spot market for the time being.
Nitric acid plant
Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Company is planning a new 300 ton/day concentrated nitric acid plant in Bharuch. Currently in the bid phase, construction should begin by January 2008.
OMV will build a 10 – 15 million ton/year refinery complex in Ceyhan, Turkey in partnership with Petrol Ofisi. The firms were awarded a license for the project, costing more than $3 billion. Petrochemical units could be attached to the refinery in the future.
Maaden and Samsung Engineering have signed a $960 million contract for the construction of a 3,300 ton/day ammonia plant in Ras al-Zour. The project should be completed by December 2010.
The Dow Chemical Company and Crystalsev will form a joint venture to manufacture polyethylene from sugar cane ethanol in Brazil. Production is expected to start in 2011, with the plant having a capacity of 350,000 tons/year. The companies have already begun conducting a feasibility study to assess various aspects of the project including engineering design, location, infrastructure needs, supply chain logistics, energy and economics. The study should take a year and will also look at the possibility of receiving approval for the project and the process as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Basell will buy Lyondell Chemical Co. for $12.72 billion, giving Basell access to key raw materials and Lyondell’s refining capacity. Lyondell produces propylene monomer, the key building block for Basell’s largest product, polypropylene, which is used in fibers and plastic containers.