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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: June 10, 2008

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North America


A fire at an Ashland Distribution chemical plant in Fairfield, California engulfed three truck tankers, keeping residents in about 2,500 homes indoors for several hours before firefighters extinguished the flames.  No injuries resulted from the fire, but the thick black smoke threatened several other tankers in the facility.  The chemicals were identified as ethyl acetate and toluene.


LyondellBasell plans to consolidate its North American-based polypropylene compounding production, sales, marketing and technology activities.  This is following the company’s acquisition of Solvay Engineered Polymers, Inc. in February.  The company will close its Sales & Application Development Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan, relocating those activities to the company’s expanded Advanced Polyolefins Business & Development Center in Lansing, Michigan.  It will also close its polypropylene compounding facility in Grand Prairie, Texas, moving production to its nearby Mansfield, Texas plant and a new plant in Altamira, Mexico, that is scheduled to come on-stream this year.


Eastman Chemical Co. has acquired Green Rock Energy LLC’s 50% ownership interest in the Beaumont, Texas industrial gasification project.  Eastman is now the sole owner of the project and remains the sole developer.  Eastman also divested to Green Rock its 25% ownership interest in the St. James Parish, Louisiana industrial gasification project and will no longer participate in the project.



An explosion at an Indian Petrochemicals Corp Ltd. plant in Raigad, India, killed two people and injured more than 30.  The explosion occurred while repair work was being carried out in one of the units where inflammable chemicals and materials were stored.  The police are investigating to determine the cause of the explosion.  Immediately after the explosion, the plant was shutdown and not opened until after maintenance work was completed.

New capacity

Sasol is bringing new capacity on line and restructuring capacity in some of its operations for alcohol production.  They have commenced commercial production at a new 60,000 tons/year oleochemical-based alcohols plant in Lianyangang, China.  In addition, about 65,000 tons/year of oxo-alcohol capacity at the Augusta, Italy plant will be idled for an indefinite period of time.  This is about one-half of that plant’s capacity.

New plant

SK Energy has signed a framework agreement with Sinopec to construct an 800,000 tons/year ethylene plant and additional downstream facilities in Wuhan, China.  More details will be available once the joint venture agreement is confirmed.  SK’s tentative stake in the joint venture is 35%.

Gas leak panel

India will set up a panel to help victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, which killed more than 15,000 people.  The panel will focus on the medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation of the victims.



Emirates Float Glass LLC will add a second production facility to expand its capacity by an additional 600 tons/day.  The company says this will help to enhance their operational performance by delivering scalability and flexibility.


New filling stations

Oman Oil Marketing Company has opened three new filling stations across the Sultanate in Awgad Salalah, Samail and Sur Al Hadid.  The company plans to continue its growth this year, including refurbishing old filling stations.


Distribution agreement

Honeywell has a multi-year distribution agreement with Loba Chemie.  Under the agreement, Loba Chemie will distribute Honeywell’s high-purity solvents to India’s growing pharmaceutical sector.  Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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