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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: October 16, 2007

Technically Speaking

North America

Site Closure

Dow Building Solutions will reconfigure its polyisocyanurate (polyiso) assets in North America via reconfiguration of some sites.  The Charleston, Illinois and Pennsauken, New Jersey sites are positioned for growth and technology upgrades.  The Texarkana, Arkansas and Tracy, California sites are set for closure as a result of low asset utilization, low profitability and the need for significant investment compared to other opportunities.  The Tracy facility will close in mid-December and the Texarkana facility will close in Mid-January.

Plant Closure

Ineos Nova plans to shut down its Montreal, Quebec polystyrene production by the end of the year.  The site has an annual production capacity of 120 million pounds of polystyrene.

New Business Unit

ExxonMobil Chemical Co. has formed a new specialty compounds and composites business to focus on the development, production and marketing of engineered polyolefin compounds.  The portfolio includes a new line of ExxonMobil Performance Polyolefins for automotive applications.  Products range from soft and flexible compounds to reinforced composites.

New Plants

BASF opened two new manufacturing plants at its site in Freeport, Texas – a production line for polyamide 6 (nylon) and a plant for super absorbent polymers (SAP).  The polyamide production line replaces a facility in Enka, North Carolina.  The new line has an annual capacity of 120,000 metric tons/year with its caprolactam feedstock being supplied by another BASF plant at the Freeport site.  The SAP facility is supplied with acrylic acid from another BASF plant at the Freeport site.  This facility has a capacity of 180,000 metric tons/year and replaces existing facilities in Aberdeen, Mississippi and Portsmouth, Virginia.


New Facility

Airgas Inc. plans to build a new 450 ton/day liquid carbon dioxide plant at the Shell Deer Park Refinery complex in Houston, Texas.  The company signed a 15-year agreement with Houston-based Shell Oil Co. to have it supply the feedstock of raw carbon dioxide for the Airgas facility.  The new facility will be used to purify and liquefy raw carbon dioxide for commercial and beverage-grade use.

Expansion Plans

Monsanto Co. plans to build a new processing plant and upgrade another in Nebraska, thereby doubling its biotech seed corn production in the state.  The planned expansion will come as the result of a $155 million investment.  The new plant will be built in York County between Utica and Waco, about 40 miles west of Lincoln.  The new plant and the upgrades to the company’s Kearney facility should be completed by the end of 2009.  The new, 145-acre plant will include three high-capacity seed dryers and green corn receiving lines as well as a 180-foot conditioning tower.  The plant will be able to package approximately 1,200 bags of seed/hour.      


Petrochemicals Complex

Reliance Industries Ltd. will set up a new petrochemicals complex at Jamnagar in western Gujarat state.  The company will start production from its first gas discovery in the Krishna-Godavari basin by the second half of the next fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.  The complex will have a capacity of 2 million metric tons/year of olefins with matching downstream capacity.

Polypropylene Plant

Qatar Petroleum has selected Basell’s Spheripol technology for a new 700 kiloton/year polypropylene plant that will be built in Mesaieed, Qatar for startup in 2011.  The unit will be operated by a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Honam Petrochemical of Korea.

PVDF Plant

Arkema plans to expand its production of Kynar polyvinylidine fluoride (PVDF) through a new facility in China.  Detailed engineering will start in the first quarter of 2008 with startup planned for 2011.


Formosa Plastics Group plans to invest NT $706.8 billion for expansion or new projects over the next five years.  The bulk of the investments will cover projects in Taiwan.  The proposed projects include the Phase 5 expansion of the company’s petrochemical complex in southeastern Taiwan and two 12-inch wafer plants.  They are also considering building a steel mill.  Various overseas projects totaling approximately NT $76 billion are also planned for mainly China, the U.S., Vietnam and the Philippines.

New Production Facility

Ferro Corp. will build an aluminum pastes facility in Suzhou, China.  The output will be used for the Southeast Asia solar cell manufacturing market.  Construction will begin later this year with the new site expected to begin production late next year.

Technically Speaking

How can I determine how much gas flow is leaving the end of a pressurized line and being vented to the atmosphere?  I know the line size and the pressure in the line.

This is a relatively common problem.  We have a great method which was reproduced on our site with permission of Mr. Milton Beychok.  See "Gas Discharge to the Atmosphere from a Pressure Source" at the top of the article titled "Source Terms for Accidental Discharge Flow Rates".

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