Industry News Editor Christa Semko Every two weeks, Christa will
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Supply Contracts Oglebay Norton Company has secured two multi-year limestone supply agreements for application in the Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) market.The contracts are with American Electric Power and FirstEnergy Corp.By 2010, total tonnage supplied to these customers will be approximately 1.1 million tons/year.FGD is the process of removing sulfur dioxide emissions from combusted coal to assist operations in complying with emissions requirements like the Clean Air Interstate Rule.When high calcium limestone or lime is used in the FGD process, a generated by-product is synthetic gypsum, which is suitable for use in wallboard, cement and various agricultural applications.
New Unit Aon’s Agribusiness and Food Systems Group has created a new unit to focus on the specialized risks associated with the bio-fuels industry.Based in Kansas City, Missouri, the Agri-Fuels Risk Management Group (AFRMG) will aim to meet the risk management and insurance requirements for the rapid expansion of the renewable fuels industry.
Expansion Pioneer Companies, Inc. is expanding its St. Gabriel, Louisiana chlor-alkali plant by 25% from its current annual production capacity of 197,000 ECUs to 246,000 ECUs.The project includes the conversion of the plant to membrane cell technology from the existing mercury cell technology.The additional chlorine produced will be shipped to nearby customers by way of the company’s existing chlorine pipelines at the site.The project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008 and is estimated to cost approximately $142 million.
$10 Million Awarded Calgon Carbon Corporation was awarded $10 million in a case it filed against Progress Capital Holdings, Inc., Florida Progress Corporation, and Potomac Capital Investment Corporation relating to the company’s purchase of the common stock of Advanced Separation Technologies Incorporated (AST) on December 31, 1996.Calgon Carbon filed the law suit on January 12, 1998.The jury award was based on Calgon Carbon’s claim that the defendants negligently represented the financial and operation condition of AST.Calgon Carbon is seeking to have interest of approximately $5.5 million added to the award.
Joint Venture Nova Chemicals will likely forgo an outright sale of its Styrenix unit in favor of a joint venture arrangement or a spin-off to shareholders.Nova Chemicals reported an underlying loss of $9 million on sales of $1.64 billion, which excludes a $772 million write-down of assets in the Styrenix unit to reflect lowered estimate of the value of future cash flows.
Protest Five trade unions in France representing Shell workers are protesting the company’s strategic review of its refining and petrochemical feedstock assets in France.The company’s management has not officially said anything about selling any of the company assets under review, but the unions are raising concerns that divestments will take place.
Paints BASF Coatings has taken over major parts of paints distributor Bilakksenteret in Lierstranda, Norway for an undisclosed sum.Bilakksenteret’s sales activities in automotive refinish paints and non-paint products will be integrated into BASF Coatings in Sweden.
Refinancing Merck KGaA is raising approximately €2 billion ($2.6 billion) by issuing rights shares to refinance its purchase of Swiss biopharmaceuticals company Serono.Merck has decided to issue 13.3 million shares at €78 each.Shareholders will be able to subscribe for 7.1 million of the new shares at a rate of four new shares for every 29 held.
Startup Delayed Jam Petrochemical, a subsidiary of Iran’s National Petrochemical Co. (NPC) has delayed commercial production at is cracker due to limited funds and shortage of skilled manpower.This is the fifth time Jam has delayed the startup of its 1.32 million tons/year cracker project at Assaluyeh, which can produce 350,000 tons/year of propylene.The unit was originally expected to be completed by the end of 2005.The startup date was later postponed to July 2006, then to late 2006 and then to the third quarter of 2007.The polyethylene (PE) facilities downstream of the mixed-feed cracker have already achieved mechanical completion and will startup in August, using ethylene from the adjoining 1 million ton/year Arva Sasol cracker, which should go on stream in July.The project includes a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit, an HDPE/linear low-density PE unit and a polypropylene (PP) unit, each with a capacity of 300,000 tons/year.The PP project and the 440,000 ton/year ethylene glycol unit downstream of the cracker are expected to start up at the beginning of 2008.A 115,000 ton/year butadiene unit was expected to go on stream in 2008, but money for the project is short with only 70% of the procurement completed.
R&DCenter DuPont plans to invest more than $22.5 million to construct its first research and development center in India.The DuPontKnowledgeCenter will be in Hyderabad and will be home to more than 300 scientists and other employees.A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with ICICIKnowledgePark for a long-term lease that will allow DuPont to construct its own facility on 15 acres of land in the park.The center is expected to be fully operational in early 2008.The center will focus on discovery research as well as applications development in a variety of areas.Research will focus on “integrated science” – the addition of biology to traditional strengths in chemistry and materials science – to develop the company’s application pipeline in India and other emerging markets.Initially, the focus will be on molecular biology, bio-informatics and polymer synthesis.